Design Research


Visitor Experience Maps

User Testing


Paloma Olais

Yunwen Zhu

Jun Kim

Getting to Know McPherson Square.

McPherson Square stands in the heart of downtown, DC. Best known for serving as the site for Occupy DC in 2011, the area is currently underutilized. This project focused on pinpointing why and establishing a plan for improving public use of the space. 


We began by observing the square at different times of day and charting its usage. 

Visitor interviews and observation revealed two main user groups--working professionals who use McPherson as a thoroughfare, and the homeless population, who spend their days on the benches. Further exploration into visitor personas and their experience with the square helped us articulate the problem:

How might we support the working people and homeless population of McPherson Square without alienating surrounding businesses?

Recharging a Plaza.

Our intervention featured a solar powered sandwich and coffee truck with charging ports. In partnership with local non profits and organizations such as Streetsense, this truck is partially operated by the homeless population of DC.

Incentivizing Interactions.

A loyalty program incentivizes repeat customers, establishing habitual interactions between our user groups, and giving customers a chance to donate to local charities.

Copyright 2020 by Rachel Matthews