Space Out is a map-based platform that allows the public to view crowd levels in malls, supermarkets, and other public spaces across Singapore. It was developed by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)’s Design & Planning Lab in partnership with mall operators and stakeholders. Space Out seeks to provide timely information and past trends on crowd levels to assist people in choosing where to go for various retail and recreation purposes, to promote safe distancing amidst the Covid-19 situation. This was also to support operators in better managing the crowd levels in their premises, as well as facilitate more evenly distributed crowds across different facilities. Space Out was launched during the early stage of Singapore’s circuit breaker period in April 2020.
To access Space Out, visit this link.
What is Space Out?
Space Out can be accessed through this link and its interface can be observed from Fig 1. To create Space Out, URA’s Space Out team implemented a CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous deployment) pipeline to review and push code to user acceptance testing (UAT) and production. This functions alongside a data pipeline, which takes in data from various sources that will be cleaned and transformed before being displayed on the front-end. The data pipeline is scheduled to run on specified time periods for consistent data flow.
Space Out contains Commercial Cloud Infrastructure Application Services, separated web front end and data pipelines, a database containing stored and fused data and uses various engineering innovations such as APIs from GovTech to collate data from different public space operators.
Why Should Space Out be adopted
Space Out provides updated information and past trends on crowd levels in malls, supermarkets, and other public spaces across Singapore. This assists the public in choosing where they can go for retail and recreational needs and helps to promote safe distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It also supports operators with crowd management practices by helping the public to discern crowd levels beforehand and facilitate a more even distribution of crowds across different facilities.
Key Design Principles of Space Out include:
- Easy-to-use, flexible and scalable product: Space Out’s developers opted for a web-map application, to allow it to be accessed from any device with an internet browser, without any installation needed. The user interface (UI) components were designed to be modular, in order to update Space Out with more outlets and activity types in a seamless manner.
- Fast and dynamic improvements: In response to post-launch feedback, URA’s Design & Planning Lab enhanced map symbols to be more distinct for users with colour vision deficiency (CVD). While the original colour scheme was retained, each level of crowd occupancy is now represented by a different icon to allow easier differentiation. Multilingual support (English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil) was implemented for greater inclusivity, and suggestions for less crowded alternatives were added to guide users’ decision-making.
- Designing with code for faster and smoother implementation: Material UI’s React components were used for faster and easier web development, while the Space Out prototype was designed in CodeSandbox for seamless collaboration between engineers and UI designers.
How do You Use Space Out?
Users can view each participating facility as a coloured icon on Space Out, this can be seen from Fig 1. The colours of each icon indicate crowd levels at the specific facility. By clicking on the icon, more information can be revealed such as time of the last update. A recent trends chart tracking weekly average crowd levels and alternative locations that are close by and less crowded as shown in Fig 2. Users can also use the search function as an alternative method for pin-pointing location-specific information.
Last updated 24 February 2022
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