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How do you create a digital product that can be used during all phases of travel?

A mobile travel app that helps you remember and share your travel memories.

Timeline: 5 weeks
Categories: Concept Design, UX Design, User and Market Research
Collaborators: William Min


Challenge

Lonely Planet is looking for a digital companion piece to their Lonely Planet books and their website. This product must help travelers find accommodation, restaurants, and local sites, as well as allow users to share their experiences with friends and fellow travelers. The product should be used pre, during and post travel.

Solution

Travelfolio is a mobile app that uses GPS tracking and push notifications to help you record where you've traveled, in the moment. Users can explore new destinations through LP content, plan upcoming trips, and easily share all of this information with friends. Imagine a Spotify-like system where locations are songs, trips are playlists, and you can follow curated itineraries based on LP expertise, friends, influencers and even your own activity.


 

Defining Personas

User personas were developed based on interviews of the target audience. We had two targets: the budget-friendly backpacker who likes to travel with friends and the more experienced solo traveler.

We identified several universal insights across interviews:

  • Users want an "authentic" experience, more relevant to locals than to tourists.
  • Users preferred information from friends, family or locals than from "experts" or crowdsourced Internet opinions.
  • Users need to be able to plan ahead of time and get information on the go.

 

 

“I have a hard time trusting huge brand name travel recommendations, because it might be a bought out recommendation. Like I don’t buy into Yelp." 

—Shelby, social media editor, age 22

 

 

The Key Insight

We also looked at how people our age were sharing travel information and experiences in general. We discovered that many people use Google Drive documents to share travel recommendations amongst friends

What if we created a tool that helps capture your travels, organizes them and shares them?

 

Competitive Analysis

Because Lonely Planet had such a wide variety of products in its eco-system, we not only researched traditional travel apps but also analyzed complementary apps used during travel, such as Instagram. Our goals were to understand unmet user needs, and establish a baseline of features we needed to include in the minimum viable product (MVP).

Key Opportunities:

  • Competitors have a lot of features that can make the user experience distracting and overwhelming. We decided to define the MVP with a smaller scope, and release more features in future iterations. 
  • Competitors source content from personal social networks, internet-crowdsourcing or "brand expertise" — but nothing balances all three.
  • Not many competitors offer offline accessibility, something we learned was crucial for our users.

 

 

Features & Functionality

We began defining key features and functionalities through a cart sort, which helped map the major categories of content and actions. Using a feature matrix, we ranked each feature using the competitive baseline and user need requirements.

Then we storyboarded the user journey to play out the interactions. This helped us prioritize the most essential functionalities, taking into account technical viability for the MVP and following versions.

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From there, we defined our navigation bar features and the site map for our application. It was important for users to register their trips with specific start and stop dates, so that the application would track their activity only when relevant. Their Folio served as a library for everywhere they had been, and everywhere they were planning or wishing to go.

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Wireframes

After defining our features and functionalities, I built out the wireframes for the mobile application. To demonstrate our concept, I focused on building the major moments of the user flow.

*I'm looking forward to re-designing these wireframes with the 2018 iOS standards and a complete user flow.


The MVP

This is the first iteration of a high fidelity prototype. We used a simple UI to focus our testing on the success of user flows through each interaction.

Travelfolio-App.jpg

Users create an account with a simple email and password sign up, or connect through Facebook.

They customize their profile and provide Travelfolio access to their location, photos, Facebook and push notifications.

Users "Add Trips," with a specific location and time frame.

When the trip begins, the app tracks the user's location and sends push notifications to save their visited to their "Trip."

Travelfolio-App2.jpg

The user's "Folio" has two clear use cases: "My Trips" and "My Wish List."

 

"My Trips" are itineraries users have registered with specific locations and time frames.

Users also have "My Wish List," which are potential trips that they plan, with saved locations with information from Lonely Planet. 

 

They "Explore" different destinations and add those locations to their "Wish List" trips.

Within each location, users can find a description and basic information like hours of operation, distance from their current location, phone number and type of venue.

They can add their own personal photos of the location for future reference.

As the user travels to that location, Travelfolio uses GPS tracking to recognize the match up and sends a push notification to the user.

The user can confirm the location and add the location to their "Trip" without having to log back into the app and make record of their visit.


Next Steps

We imagine Travelfolio as the future of social travel

Just as you would curate playlists on Spotify, you can curate your "Wish List" trips and share itineraries with friends you connect with on Travelfolio. Share specific locations to friends with custom photos and notes. Follow peers, co-workers, family, influencers and celebrities on their journeys. Perhaps you can sync events from Facebook, or share all of these elements through text, email and social media.