I am a big fan of traveling, always love exploring new places. However, planning a trip is rarely as fun as the idea of going to a new place. There’re so many tasks that can make the planning process tedious such as finding flights or figuring out local transportation.
I wanted to understand what annoys people, and see if I can come up with a solution. Because traveling is exciting, and so should the planning be.
Role and Process
I worked solely on this project. I conducted research and interviews to create a persona, used empathy map and storyboard to better empathize with target audience, and ideated and created mock ups for user testing.
I started off with some background research. I found out that even though there are various types of travellers such as leisure travellers, thrill-seekers, or people on business trips, all fall under Cohen’s Tourist Categories: organized mass tourist, individual mass tourist, explorer, and drifter.
Interviews & Empathy Map
I am most interested in people who fall under the explorer and drifter categories as they tend to plan their own trips. I recruited 5 people, all between the age of 23 and 29, both male and female, and conducted 1-on-1 interviews.
After the interviews, I noticed a few things that were common across my interviewees. I took notes on them and created an empathy map. The map creates a cohesive and empathetic view of my potential user and can therefore help me stay focused on their pain points.
There were actually a few common things that my interviewees mentioned, such as they are usually only opinionated on a few things, don’t want to plan everything by themselves, or they are usually annoyed by local transportations. However, I noticed that they complained a lot about researching. There are just too many results for what to do at their travel destinations when they do a simple online search. It really annoys them because the amount of information can become too overwhelming to make decisions.
Therefore, I decided that I'm going to focus on finding solution for one main problem – information overload.
Storyboard – Current Process
Based on the interviews and empathy map, I created a storyboard to showcase the user’s pain points when planning.
I started to brainstorm solutions with my key objective in mind:
How might we present Danielle's search results so she doesn't feel overwhelmed?
I initially focused on finding ways to better narrow down and categorize search results. But these solutions do not only look boring but most likely have been done before. So I started thinking about how I can make things more interesting. Maybe it’s not about how much information I can present to users, but how to show the same amount of information without making them feel overwhelmed.
Step One: Validating Idea
I decided to go with the dating-app-like idea because when you’re swiping on a dating app you are actually processing a lot of information without really feeling like it. The idea is that after an user enters his or her travel destinations, a card with beautiful pictures and 2 lines short summary for an attraction will appear. After the user likes or discards it, the next card for another attraction will appear.
I was super excited about the idea, but before I invest too much time and effort into it, I wanted to make sure that I’m on the right track. I want to know if potential users actually find this solution useful or it’s just something that doesn’t really work.
So I created a landing page explaining the key features and a storyboard to use to test my idea.
Landing Page (http://trouvaille-0.launchrock.com/)
Storyboard – New Process
I recruited 3 interviewees to test the landing page and walked another 2 people over the new storyboard with the main feature. I wanted to see if the idea is appealing and how the interviewees react to it. I’m happy to find that people generally showed a lot of interest in the idea. They think it’s interesting and it makes the process of researching what to do more fun. They also like the map view option to further filter down the options if they want. They also complimented the colour scheme and the modern feel of the potential product.
There are also a couple of suggestions or things that they wish were included:
Incorporate Google Map in map view to estimate how far an attraction is from accommodation or how to get there (and how long it takes to get there)
Wish the app can recommend them where to go next
Wish the app is not just for attractions only but also have information about restaurants
Still want some sort of filter/categories so they can search for specific things if they want to (e.g. things that are within certain distance)
Step Two: Use Cases and Structure
After talking to the people, I was convinced that there is value in my proposed idea to help people plan trips without stressing out too much. I went ahead and created user flows for 3 MVP scenarios.
From the use cases I was able to create the basic structure of the app. I want to keep it as simple as possible. Since the problem I’m trying to solve is information overwhelm, I don’t want the content and functionality to be so complex that it paralyzes people’s ability to make decision.
Step Three: Low-Fidelity Prototype
My next steps will be building a prototype in InVision, writing user testing script, gathering users to test and see if this actually adds value to people’s process of searching or not, and create high-fidelity prototype. There are definitely a lot more work to do but I’ve already learned so much throughout the process. And who know, maybe this app will make me a millionaire.