How BC Parks made it easier to find parks near you


Organizations across the BC Public Service have embraced blogging as way to share success stories and highlight the great work happening in their ministries. BC Parks is a great example of this excitement to share. Their blog covers a wide range of topics like inclusive camping, the science of squirrels and updates to the park reservation system.

Over the coming weeks, we’re excited to highlight some recent posts from the BC Parks design research team. Read on to learn how designing with people helped them improve the park search tool on

Refining after launch

For the BC Parks design research team, updating park search was a top priority following the launch of their new website. With a goal of continuous improvement, the team added location filters and a long-awaited city search feature. Direct feedback allowed the team to understand how people wanted to use specific information and when it would help most.

Designing with people in mind

“I want to see parks 50 kilometres from either my current location or from a reservation that I already have booked, to plan the second portion of the trip.”
– Research Participant 

Having a location name is nice, but we also wanted people to be able to find parks near them, or near a city they are planning to visit.

Visitors can now search for parks near any city in B.C. This has been one of the top-requested features for the site as long as we’ve been doing user research, so we are thrilled that it’s now available.

When vacationers wanted to easily look ahead at their planned routes, their feedback inspired the team to rewrite ambiguous status messages.

Revising for plain language

We wanted to add status to the park cards so people could quickly see if there was anything going on that could affect their trip. However, the existing statuses were not all clear.

  • What does partial closure mean if I’m trying to go to the park?
  • What’s the difference between inaccessible and closed?
  • Can I visit a park in a fire perimeter?

To prevent this kind of confusion, we simplified our status messages so it’s easier for visitors to understand how their trip might be affected.

The team’s full blog post covers more insights on their ongoing work, from adding location information to tweaking the interface for a smoother experience. It’s a great read for anyone interested in service design, user research or camping out this summer.

The #DigitalBC blog explores the challenges and impacts of the digital modernization efforts happening in the B.C. government. Have an idea for a post and want to contribute? Let us know.

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