Planning and Zoning App2018

Discovery and inception of a new product


Early June of 2018, I joined a UX team to co-design a new Public Sector focused Planning and Zoning app. The project’s challenge was to radically improve the current slow manual planning and zoning application process that currently can take anywhere from 2-24 months. From its inception, the design goal was to empower the users by defining opportunities to integrate innovation and identify tasks that could be performed autonomously. All users will benefit when the process is efficient and transparent.

Land Developer

General Public

Planning and Zoning Coordinator

The project plan is to get to know our users, document the process flow, figure out the signature moments to address identifed pain-points and un-met needs. Next, we will follow a scripted sample use case to wireframe and design an end to end story walking through the users roles. This prototype or vision demo will be shown to internal stakeholders, partners, customers and cities to gather feedback and get everyone onboard.

User Needs

Working with our internal Planning and Zoning Product Manager, we were provided insight into the personas and user roles involved within the process. Our PM is very familiar with the unmet needs and identifying user pain-points since she was previously a City Planner. We plan on validating our storyboards and proposed designs with all the persona's before the detailed flows are wireframed.

Land Developers

“Prior to submitting a planning and zoning application, I need to obtain the related information and understand zoning and code requirements quickly and easily. Transparency and efficiency are key. There are so many variations on the application requirements.”

Government Agents

“It is very complicated to schedule the projects into the hearing meetings due to the complexity of the planning/zoning application process and uncertainty in appeal items that will come up in the hearing meeting. If we can predict appeal details and get a scheduling recommendation, it would be a big life saver for me and the land developers.”

General Public

“When I receive a post card about the hearing meeting, I feel frustrated with the lack of detailed information. It would be great if I can see the planned development details and understand the impact on me.”


“To make faster and more informed approval decision, it would be very helpful to have the impact analysis presented in a contextually relevant visual format.”

Product Flow

First step was using publically posted municipality planning and zoning process documentation to map out a multi-swimlane end to end flow of the users and working with our PM to validate it. Next was to identify opportunities in the flow to deploy designs that embrace Automation (AI, ChatBots), empower employees and integrate innovation using breakthrough technologies (AR - Augmented Reality) providing our users signature moments that go beyond just satisfying their functional needs.

The commissioner user was not included in the flow since they have a small part in the overall process and many municipalites have other city agents perform similar tasks.

The bottom flow swimlane is the User Perspective which tells the user's story and goals during each phase of the flow.

PDF version

Signature Moments

Signature moments are the vision, the longterm thinking, and not just the reality of the first release. In order to get buy-in from internal stakeholders, we further expanded our user stories describing a set of detailed flow scenarios. The following images are the scenarios and corresponding signature moments.

Storyboards and Designs

I've been focused on designing the identified key signature moment pages for the past 11 months...

My Involvement

Flow Diagram
Concept Development
UX Design
POC with PM
Visual Design

Project Timeframe

June 2018 - Present. Goal is to have all scenarios detailed by end of July and completed wireframing of all app flows by end of August.