Simplifying the search experience for film locations with

The Penny Lane Agency

penny lane agency mock

Overview

Type: Website Design (Pro bono client)
Role: User Research, Strategy, Visual Design
The Penny Lane Agency is a location scouting firm for Hollywood's film studios. Much of their scouting is manually done, and they are looking to automate a complex process with an online platform. As a pro bono project, my team of three UX designers were brought on to build a website to help location scouts simplify this process of finding filming locations.

The Problem

In an already busy schedule, location scouts are burdened with a multi-stepped and time-consuming process of finding the perfect location for production companies.

The Approach

Our goal was to understand the main responsibilities of a location scout and simplify their process with a one-stop digital platform.

Understanding Location Scouts

To begin, our team wanted to define what location scouting entails. We conducted 10 user interviews with filmmakers and location scouts to understand their process and its associated pain points. We then drew a storyboard to visualize and understand the main responsibilities involved.
Storyboard: Talk to filmmakers
Discuss film content with
producers and directors
Storyboard: Search online
Search for locations online,
by word of mouth, or existing rolodex
Storyboard: Visit Location
Visit the location
in person
Storyboard: negotiate locations
Negotiate terms and conditions with
location owners
Storyboard: obtain permits
Obtain required city permits
Storyboard: find parking
Book parking for entire crew

Key Insights

Using our storyboard and interviews, we recognized 3 key verbs that are essential to scouting: search, learn, and communicate. However, each key action adds complexity to an already time and labor-intensive process.
search icon
"search"
Find options for a location that meets the aesthetic and technical needs of producers and directors.
learn icon
"learn"
Obtain specific information on locations, including images, descriptions, amenities, general area, permits, and parking.  
communicate icon
"communicate"
Negotiate with location owners; share prospects with producers and directors.

The Design

With location scouts in mind, we looked for solutions that would best tackle the responsibilities of searching, learning, and communicating. Through a competitive analysis of competitors and team design studios, we curated a list of features that would best solve the problem.

Search

In order to meet the vision of the filmmaker, a location must meet certain aesthetic requirements. We designed a search function that relies on tags associated with these requirements such as area, type, style, and features.
Search features hi-fi

Learn

For learning information, we emphasized a location scout needs to know everything about the space. We included sections for descriptions, amenities, maps, permits, and relevant cross promotion ads.
 info features hi-fi
info features hi-fi

Communicate

We considered the collaborative nature of location scouting and focused on features that would streamline communication. We built a favorites sheet where locations can be saved and shared. We also included call to actions that can email or call an agent if a location scout wanted to book a listing.
favorites sheet feature
Contact CTA

High Fidelity Wireframes

home page
listings page
details page

Prototype

Reflection

A big takeaway from this project was to focus on key insights. This project was staked around the insights of human action, which allowed us to prioritize and create a minimum viable product that zoned in on what the user actually needed. Key insights such as the specific actions of searching, learning, and communicating helped us narrow the scope of our ideation and design.

Moving forward with the project, I would love to explore the design of a mobile app version. Considering the nomadic nature of location scouting, it would be beneficial for location scouts to have a companion app that further helps streamline their busy schedules. Pursuing a mobile-friendly version could potentially be a worthwhile investment for The Penny Lane Agency.

Team
Katherine Tsui
Ye Shen
Daniel Tak