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Central Park app redesigned

Revamping NY Central Park iOS experience.

Where am I? Where should I go? I think I am lost…

On the day after I arrived in New York, I arranged a meeting with a friend in Central Park, at the Conservatory Garden Center Fountain. A huge park with endless paths, lawns, bridges and ponds is one large ecosystem within the metropolis of metal and glass. In order to quickly get to the place, I was advised to install an app, the official Central Park App.

Official Central Park App

Houston we have a problem

Of course, I found my friend but I instantly felt a very strong desire to remove the app — so clumsy and unituitive it was. At that point it came to my mind that it would be nice to create my own concept and explain its logic and improvements.

Appstore screenshot


Redesign is always used in order to complete a specific task. Discovery is an important stage. It is necessary to identify the problem and its possible solutions, otherwise the whole work may turn out to be a pointless redrawing of images with zero results in the end. It makes perfect sense to start identifying problems at Apple App Store, where users’ complaints and improvement suggestions pour in.

AppStore screenshot 09.06.2015

Oh my…

Insufficient ratings and a negligible number of downloads mean that the application does not enjoy popularity among iPhone users.

Mind Map

It is important to understand how to build navigation, what to present to the user in the first place, and what she or he needs to learn independently.


There is an ongoing debate within the global design community about where and when it is appropriate to use the side-menu. In mobile apps the sidebar is often the best solution. The tab bar is necessary only when there is a need to navigate quickly in a complex application, which is more common in the business segment of mobile apps. A good example of the side-menu is the Urban Walks app, designed by Anton Repponen.

Urban Walks App


The app features a complete set of guidebook navigation elements, but it shuffles them in a very strange way. The info is duplicated on the home screen and in the menu. Littering the main screen with useless information is not the best idea. For instance, why is the weather displayed there? The weather widget in the upper bar can do the job, but not the main screen. Is is good when the user begins to get acquainted with the park the very moment he or she opens the app. The cards in the Explore section of the app, where you can clearly see all locations, is a suitable tool for that.

screenshot and concept


It is not easy to revamp the map: a huge number of locations and their display merge into an information slam. The user has to put a lot of effort to find the location he is at, not to mention the search for specific locations. Filtering hides behind a blank icon, making the interaction between the user and the app more difficult.

screenshot and concept

Spot & Details

Working with content is one of the most challenging parts ot the designer’s job. There is a huge number of typography schools and rules (check out Thomas Byttebier’s recent post). Carefully laid out text and visual blocks improve the overall style of the mobile app.

The best UI typeface goes unnoticed

screenshot and concept

Yes, Explore

The filter looks boring and irksome. Dull text labels with icons do not work well — it is necessary to pay more attention to the elaboration of the content and its expression. A good solution is to use cards as containers for photos and captions. It is advisable to gently remind the user of the selected locations, as they also have a separate card.

screenshot and concept


Exiting the application takes the user to the events section of the Central Park website’s browser version — a strange choice. The section’s desktop version looks appropriate on the MacBook screen, but a browser crutch on the smartphone is not able to correctly display the information on the activities, especially with a 750 x 1334 resolution.

screenshot and concept


It is important to remind the user that charitable donations constitute 75% of the park’s budget. The donations map is shuffled on the Explore screen. Donations of more than five dollars require the user to go to the website’s browser version and that’s bad.

screenshot and concept


In general, the app works smoothly but the process of interaction with it is poor: skeuomorphic buttons and cross navigation are accompanied by errors and glitches. The app creators focused on robust code, but they didn’t put an equal amount of effort into user interaction patterns. I tried to pay attention to the nativity and layout of the internal elements while redesigning the Central Park iOS experince. And of course, I wanted the app to be user-friendly. Follow this link to check out the prototype https://marvelapp.com/4faiea

Leonid Fomin,