This was a self-initiated project both for fun and practice. Together is this trip planning app that eases trip planning process by centralizing information and facilitating communication.
I teamed up with Shawn Cai to conduct user research and testing. And I independently completed interaction design, visual design, and prototyping, within 2 weeks,
ABOUT THIS PROJECT
It's about researching the places you are about to visit, figuring out the best schedule and route, communicating with your friends about the itinerary, comparing different options and finding out the one that works for all, remembering things that you need to pay attention to when traveling...
What you do when you plan a group trip?
More centralized information and smooth communication are needed.
I initiated the project because I have been always struggling with planning trips with my friends. The planning process involves a lot of researches, discussions, and information all over the places. So I started to think whether there are better ways to do it? What is the usual workflow of others planning a trip? Semi-structured interviews were conducted among 10 people aged from 22 to 27, who had the experience of planning trips with a group of people. Questions asked included:
How do you usually plan your trip with a group of people? What's your work distribution like?
What are the tools you use for planning?
What kind of information do you want to gather when planning?
What are some of you struggles in the process?
Can you give me a memorable story related to trip planning?
Findings from user interviews were externalized and clustered the with affinity diagrams.
Usually there will be one primary planner, others provide opinions and suggestions.
Positioning, constraining, and learning.
I conducted competitive analysis on current trip planning apps to compare and evaluate features, performance, strategies, thus to have a clear view about features of our product and how they should work together, as well as to reach a better understanding of the product positioning. We wanted our product to be able to cover the whole process from exploration to itinerary visualization. We also didn't want it to become redundant with overwhelming information. Here is how we did the addition and substraction.
Our main focus will be exploring travel guides and places details. Because these are the major information that people need to complete a trip planning.
We are not focusing on exploring hotels, and flights, resteraunts, transportations at this stage. Why? Because hotels and flights are the top priority of trip planning and people usually already have them done before planning details of itinerary. Resteraunts and transportations are more likely to be information needed during a trip. We decided to stay really focused on the planning. And we enabled users add hotels, flights, resteraunts information on their own, and provided entrance of navigation, instead of competing with products like booking.com, Yelp, Google Maps, etc.
"Start with great templates, creating and sharing your own itinerary with your friends together."
The most important value we want to provide our users are content and communication. How can we constantly bring valuable content and smooth communcation to them? The answer is sharing. Sharing is the most poweful act in the era of mobile internet. Sharing brings communication, knowledge, and experience. By enabling travelers to record and post their itinerary, other travelers can take advantage of their experience, even use their itineraries as templates for quick planning. By enabling planners to share information and itinerary with their friends, the planning can be more transparent and efficient.
Mapping out essential features and contents
WIREFRAME & ITERATION
Low-fidelity prototype iteration throughout user testings.
I began wireframing with a lot of sketches. I did several iterations by self-evaluation, pretending myself as a potential user and walk through the process. I later converted the sketches to digital versions and linked them in Pop to create a clickable prototype. We tested the low-fidelity prototype with classmates and friends who had trip planning experience. And here is what I learnt most:
Users want to be able to add their hotel information, so that they can know how far is it to go somewhere
Map view is important for users to estimate distance and time.
Smart suggestions based on users search history or places selected can save users' time.
Subjective reviews/ tags about places can help users make decisions.