Project Overview

Scope

As a travel app startup, the goal was to build a modern-day mobile app that helps people plan their next trip.

Timeline

The duration of this project was 4 weeks from start to finish.



Role

I served as both the UX Researcher and the UI Designer. This project was done independently.

Tools

This project was completed using Miro, Descript, Figma, and lots of coffee.



Hypothesis

Budget-conscious travel planners think that the process of planning is cumbersome due to the nature of travel sites not displaying the grand total upfront.



Because of this price transparency issue, travel planning is stressful and takes up a lot of time and effort just to achieve their goal of accommodating to their travel group’s budgets and preferences



User-Centered Design Process

User Interviews

Ideation

User Flows

Prototyping

Usability Testing + Iteration

Phase 1: Research Goals + Proto Persona

Goal

The following research objectives were what I wanted to uncover during my user interviews:



  • Their thought process and habits when planning a travel experience
  • The priorities, concerns, and barriers they run into when planning with other people
  • Preferred tools they use to plan the decision-making process with travelmates



Method

Six individual interviews were conducted over Zoom using a script with targeted questions to meet the research objectives.

Proto Persona: Meet Natalie

Phase 2: User Interviews + Data Synthesis

Affinity Diagram Method: Pain Points Uncovered

During my interviews with six travelers (4 male, 2 female), I found that 83% of the value-driven travel planners find that accommodation research is cumbersome with multiple apps and windows open when planning.



  • Feels annoyed at how the grand total with all taxes and fees is only visible during checkout
  • Stresses about the possibility of a better deal for what they're looking out for that will be available at a different time.
  • Fears that booking confirmation will not show up during hotel check-in



User Persona: Meet Hannah Mitchell

Hannah's Concerns



  • "Why do I always hav to go to the checkout part of booking to see the grand total with taxes and fees?"
  • "It's annoying to have to switch back and forth between apps and teach some people how to use it."
  • "I want to have an idea of what we're going to do so that I can stay on budget as much as possible."



Problem Statement

How might we help a budget-conscious traveler gain more information on how to attain their “ideal” local experience by simplifying their decision-making process?

Phase 2.5: The Pivot

A Second Look

After re-reading interview transcripts, I made a pivot in the problem I wanted to solve: from booking price transparency issue to group travel itinerary issue.



I discovered that there was a bigger commonality in the travel planners I interviewed:



100% of the travel planners I interviewed felt that the process of going back and forth between multiple apps, websites, and multiple people with different preferences makes planning a huge hassle.

Affinity Diagram Insights

I want all the travel processes and logistics to be efficient so I can get the most out of my trip.

I need to have some sort of itinerary so I can spend more time enjoying and exploring with my group.

I like to use Instagram, Tripadvisor and Yelp to learn more about places of interest at my destination.

I've used Google Sheets and Google Maps to plan my trip with people, and then email or text them the itinerary.

User Persona v2: Meet Andre

Empathy Map

Problem Statement v2

How might we help travelers streamline their travel-planning experience with their friends, so that they can reduce arguments and tension from having different expectations on the places of interest they want to visit?

Hypothesis v2

We believe that it would be helpful for travelers to have a streamlined way to create custom itineraries, filled with network-recommended places of interest that their group can agree on. We might do this by creating an app that lets travelers share their itinerary filled with network-recommended places of interest within their lodging location’s proximity. This way, the traveler and their group can make harmonious decisions on the places of interest they’ll be visiting at specific times. Having this will allow travelers to feel like they have better control over the time they have at the destination.



Phase 3: Ideation + Journey Mapping

I like..

I like to use sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor because they have honest user reviews.



I wish..

I wish I could easily get votes on the items in my itinerary from the group.

What if..

What if I could have access to an archive of past trip itineraries by friends?

Feature Prioritization

MVP app features include:

  • Input hotel location
  • Recommended places via Tripadvisor
  • Cluster places of interest by proximity



Competitor Analysis: Common UI Patterns

User Journey Mapping

Phase 4: Lo-Fi Prototyping

User Flow: Tasks

Before sketching wireframes, the MVP features were laid out in user wireflows.

Digital Wireflow + Lo-Fi Prototype

Phase 5: Hi-Fi Prototyping + Testing

Tasks

  • Create a profile by inputting their email and password
  • Create an itinerary to share
  • View itinerary in map view
  • Make changes for optimal route
  • Share itinerary with friends

Method

Nine individual user tests (6 male, 3 female) were conducted over Zoom using a testing plan with outlined tasks based on the user flow.

Participants were asked to share their screen while navigating the high fidelity prototype.

Results

During testing, all issues found were regarding interaction feedback, which I resolved after watching more Figma tutorials about interactions.

Having it all overlayed on the map is awesome. I would use this today.



- Josh, 33

I think it was all pretty intuitive and seamless!



- Christina, 31

It would be nice if I could assign administrator permissions in addition to collaborators.



- Brody, 30

Retrospect + Conclusion

After re-reading interview transcripts and data, I made a pivot in the problem I wanted to solve: from booking price transparency issue to solving for a group travel planning issue. It was challenging to re-do the affinity diagram, empathy map, user persona was with such a restrictive timeline.



Through this process, I found journey mapping and user flows to be the most helpful. Thinking through the users' experience frame-by-frame helped inform my design decisions immensely. Testing the prototype and seeing users complete tasks without friction was extremely gratifying. Furthermore, hearing them get excited about their own ideas on how this could be taken further energized me.



Future Steps

In addition to more features and integrations with travel review sites that could be developed, this project could benefit from more testing and iterations.



If I could develop this app further, I would:



  • Ask users about favorite hotels they stayed in and places of interest they visited during onboarding to inform recommendations.
  • Give users the ability to assign different roles (i.e. itinerary leader in addition to collaborator) and permissions (i.e. view only, vote only.)
  • Integrate with Yelp, Resy, or Open Table to inform restaurant recommendations, and allow users to make reservations.
  • Allow users to see the fastest mode of transportation between destinations.

Thanks for reading!

Interested in working with me?

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