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Blijdorp | Project Research and


Design of new functionalities for the Blijdorp app based on previous user research on the Zoo’s visitors.


This project was the result of the course “Project Research and Design”, one of the subjects of my bachelor’s studies in User Experience Design at THUAS. 


Design new functionalities for the Blijdorp Zoo app to make the experience at the Zoo more enriching for the visitors.


For 9 weeks, I individually followed all the design thinking process phases (research, define, ideate, prototype and test) to come up with an experiental prototype.


The user research was not directly conducted with Blijdorp Zoo visitors, since the client did not want their visitors to be bothered, but with visitors of other types of outings such as museums and amusement parks. The aim of this research was to find out how people behave before, during and after their day out.

In previous desk research, I found out that the main reason for visiting a zoo was socialising, spending time with family and/or friends. During my visit to Blijdorp, I could confirm my desk research finding, as the majority of visitors I saw there were families with kids (aged between 0-14). These two reasons made me focus this research on the target group "families with kids aged between 0-14".

The research questions I aimed to solve were:

• What do families do before their day out?
• How do families use devices during the day out?
• What do families do after their day out?

For this research, I did interviews together with observations and reading. 

I managed to recruit 3 participants for my interviews. They were aged between 36 and 51 years old and had, at least, one kid aged between 8 and 14, all of them part of active families who enjoy going out, in a variety of outings.


Based on the interviews, I made a persona and defined the main research insight:

• Parents care more about having memories of their day out than kids.

Participant 1:"During the visit I use my camera or the mobile phone mainly to record some videos and take some pictures of what we do in the place. We do that to have some memories of our day out and see them later after some time."

Participant 2:"We take pictures mainly of our daughter. Sometimes she doesn’t want to be in the pictures and we have to deal with it and accept her decision."

The main research insight inspired the HMW question for this design challenge: 

How might we help parents with the collection of memories of their visit to Blijdorp?


To come up with solutions for my design challenge, I did a couple of brainstorming sessions. From the brainstorming sessions, I came up with 3 concepts:

  1. Route overview: visitors get an overview of their route at the end of their visit, which they can download, share through social media or print.

  2. Memory collection challenge: during the visit, users choose up to 5 animals from the zoo to complete different memory collection challenges which involve taking notes, pictures, recording videos and audios while having fun.

  3. Poster from template: the zoo provides visitors with a free template which they can edit and personalise based on the details of their visit. The poster can be downloaded, shared through social media and/or printed.


The concepts were visualised and presented to my client, who showed his preference for the route overview concept because of its originality.


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I evaluated my prototype with experts (lecturers and fellow classmates) and potential users (participants from my initial user research). 

Some of the insights from the feedback sessions were:

  • The new functionality should be visible from “Home”.

  • The challenge should be introduced in the beginning, so the user knows what to expect.

  • The email and password info should be put in the end of the process.

©2021 by Mercedes Mendaza.