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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.
Peace, richness, and togetherness
App icon design: bring harmony to complexity. Circles of different shades of blue indicates the complexity of trip planning, the fact that they flow together into one beautiful circle indicates that Together centralizes and streamlines trip planning.
Color palette: peaceful and vivid. Blue and green were used as primary colors to match the idea that I want our users to plan trips with peace of mind.
Moodboard: high-quality images help create immersive and engaging using experience. I also paid attention to the placement of text, images and icons to provide an enjoyable reading experience even when there are lots of information.
PLAY WITH IT
Click through prototype
Discover popular destinations and travel guides, get inspired by other users’ wonderful journeys. Or search your own destinations, find out useful travel guides and places you should not miss.
Create your own trip by simply adding your destinations, start date and end date. Invite your fellow travellers and you can start planning your trip together!
Plan your trip by refering to travel guides posted by other users. Copy the whole itinerary if it perfectly matches your expectations. Or dig into details of various places, finding out the best ones and add them to your itinerary.
Want to make changes to your itinerary? Sure! Drag a place card to a different time, or add places, hotels, memos… Plan your trip wisely based on the geographic distance, and the anticipated weather.
Share awesome travel guides and places that you found with your fellow travellers, communicate your ideas and plan a perfect trip together. All of you can view the up-to-date itinerary, and travel with peace of mind, together.
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