Mall Indoor Navigation

The scope of this project was to improve the indoor navigation experience inside malls. This was part of a learning course developed by S.I.I.T.B which took place in autumn of 2019

Group Activity



Cerasela Radu

Ioana Franciuc

Gabriel Stoica

Mircea Dan​




Learn to practice the UX process

Provide a better user navigation inside the AFI Cotroceni mall

Improve the existing digital tablet solution inside AFI Cotroceni mall

Find other ways in which the navigation experience is enhanced for the user​



User interviews


  • Prepared a list of questions together
  • Went to AFI mall but also to other malls and shopping centers

Types of Questions:

  • How do you orientate yourself around the mall?
  • What indications do you expect to find?
  • Did you find what you were looking for?
  • How often do you come to this mall? Or other malls in general?
  • Do you use mobile apps for orientation?

Description of workflow:

  • Interviews were held in pairs of two, formed by members of our team(4) assigned for the research phase of this project. 
  • Since we did not have a proper way to conduct the interviews inside the mall we resorted to guerilla type of interviewing.
  • We posted around the interactive tablet and we asked people after carefully observing them. 
  • By doing this we also managed to do field study on users by first observing their behaviour and by asking questions afterwards.
  • Noted down answers, observations, etc. 
  • Interviewed people during workdays (in the evenings) and also on weekends (after or around lunch hours)

User interviews transcripts

Field Study

Observations from people using the current tablet solution:

  • Filtering (instead of searching) occurs on the far right on the categories – which is hard to be noticed by the users
  • ‘X’ button(after searching some text) is not frequently used to clear – instead backspace button is pressed repeatedly
  • ‘GO’ button to generate a route remains unnoticed by many people
  • The action to double tap on a location(or on the arrow next to it) which also generates a route was noticed only by accident


The scope was to get a general idea of the people that frequent the mall, their purpose, how often and when they visit, by what means they arrive, how do they navigate the premises and what are their main complaints.  


  • 48% – 25-35
  • 35% – 35-45
  • 18% – 18-25
  • 13% – 45+


  • 74% Women
  • 26% Men


  • 44%  2000-4000
  • 40%  4000-8000
  • 13%  Prefer not to answer
  • 4%    <2000

Arrive to the mall by:

  • 61% Public transportation
  • 61% Personal car personala
  • 9%   Walking

Frequency of visit:

  • 52% Monthly
  • 22% Anual
  • 13% Weekly
  • 4%   Other intervals

Days of the week:

  • 73% Weekend
  • 40% Workdays

Time of day:

  • 61% In the evening
  • 57% At lunch time

Time spent:

  • 44% 2-3 hours 
  • 35% 1-2 hours
  • 13% <1 hour
  • 9%   3-4 hours

 Main activities:

  • 100% Shopping
  • 61%   Eating
  • 48%   Watching a movie
  • 13%   Socialize
  • 9%     Have fun

How they navigate:

  • 70% Exploring
  • 30% Using the internet
  • 22% Asking at the info point
  • 17% Using the tablet
  • 9%   Asking around

Ease of access (from 5p scale very difficult/difficult/normal/easy/very easy) – noted only the most relevant

  • Toilets:                       39% difficult; 43% normal
  • Parking lots:              23% difficult; 39% normal
  • Places to eat:            17% difficult; 43% normal
  • Desired shops:          65% normal
  • Mall entrance:           57% normal 
  • Places to have fun:  47% normal 

Suggestions from users(from the open ended question):

  1. Improvements on signs, clear pointers/markings
  2. More info points
  3. A better interior signalization towards the parking lots


  • Around 83% of visitors range between 25 and 45 years old.
  • Most are women and have medium or higher income
  • People visit first for shopping, with second for eating and third for watching a movie.  
  • On a visit, almost 80% spend at least one hour, with 44% spending between 2 and 3 hours.
  • Most find their way by exploring and if they can’t find something they use the internet, ask at the info point or use the tablet and only then, as a last option, ask around.

Pain Points: 

  1. Toilets are the least accessible places around the mall with parking coming a close second.
  2. Eating areas are also not very easily accessible, with 17% of people having a hard time around the restaurants.
  3. Around 50-60% of people  find access to shops, mall entrances and fun activity spots ‘normal’ which may also hide some frustrations and can be improved.

Survey and data results

Desk Research

Summary from internet findings

  • Number of visitors down but sales conversions are up
  • Malls need to address solutions for different generations and needs 
  • A lot of people come to the mall for socializing, entertainment and great experiences for which are willing to spend more money when sharing them with friends 
  • People that come to the mall are more interested to eat there also

Current solutions

Graphic Tablet inside the Mall


  • Available for most people
  • Ready for use – almost no technical impediments for using it – like download requirement, connection to the internet and
  • Already existing mental models for most young people
  • Routing option

Cons and pain points from testing the tablet:

  • Tablet is present only in some parts of the mall (2 around the main entrances and 1  on the first floor). 
  • The tablet is big and placed at an angle making it easy to spot and address for adults but harder for small kids. 
  • Responsiveness is not ideal since it appears to be have a resistive screen.
  • Software app present on the tablet appears to be a scaled up version of a software designed for a smaller tablet – not adapted for the screen size
  • Search bar also displayed below the keyboard
  • Map is fixed, cannot be rotated

iOS and Android apps


  • Available to most all of the people in target range of age that visit the mall
  • Once downloaded can be used to inform users about any location or promotion
  • Can be accessed from anywhere
  • Can be updated faster 

Cons and pain points from testing the app: 

  • Not anyone is aware of the existence of the app and is willing to install it
  • Technical impediments: needs a device, an internet connection, geolocation, to download and install the app in order to be used
  • Map function is hidden away by being the last one in the carousel of categories (present in the home page)
  • Brands and Map categories redirect to the same page
  • Can use the GPS of the device to pinpoint the user’s location but does not contain any routing option 
  • User cannot tap on any store from the map in order to see its details – can only search to see stores
  • Services such as toilets and parking are not found on search – missing categories
  • Map is fixed, cannot be rotated
  • Left sidebar contains category that is confusing ‘Take me to the store’ which refers to navigation to the nearest mall



User Flow

user flow diagram

Empathy Map



Created a set of wireframes to try and solve the pain points regarding the Info Tablet that resulted from research and analysis.

*Please note that the format of the tablet was not changed and the grey area on the right represents the placeholder for the ads


Usability Testing

Followed to test three main scenarios

  • Finding store location (Nike) after item search (‘Shoes’)
  • Category search (Services)
  • Routing after a selecting a point of interest searched (generating route for ‘Parking -1C’)

Additional cases

  • How the user interacts with Categories
  • How the user interacts with the map (zoom, relocate, floor change)
  • If the language selection is noticed