Who better than users to bring me closer to the matter and help understand their main goals and issues met along the way? Hence, I carried out a series of one-to-one interviews with two main target audiences:
· Millennials willing explore the world around, alone or with a partner.
· 35-45 year old in the middle of their careers planning to go on a solo trip to an unknown destination.
Insights & learnings
Plenty of rich information was collated into a colourful post-it map and combined with extensive competitive research. Interesting topics emerged from the exercise
· Planning a gap year / sabbatical can be overwhelming and it takes hard work and commitment to organize it.
· Facing the unknown and having a surprise factor is what makes world travelers tick. A plan could provide some ground of safety in foreign countries.
· Agencies are limiting and travelers enjoy following suggestions from locals or backpackers they meet on route.
User flows and key features
Crossing research information helped me empathise with the user and identify behaviour patterns. Two personas with individual needs emerged from the analysis.
Learn more in full case study >
Sketching user flows and using prioritisation methodologies were extremely useful to start thinking and testing possible solutions. They helped me focus on the main problem statements:
JULIA, a millennial exploring a world of possibilities.
"When you´re backpacking, you´re quite easy going."
As a backpacker I would like to have all the information I need on the go so that I can access it independently of Internet connection.
KATIE, a professional rethinking her career and lifestyle.
"London is taking over me. I need to get away to understand what is essential to my life."
As a round the world traveler I would like to collect all the information I might need so that I can calculate budget and put together a plan.
Looking into the complex scenarios and first draft user flows, there was a clear need to prioritize and simplify functionalities. But still, a possible solution should answer the following needs:
1. What if other travelers could inspire users?
2. What if they could follow a step-by-step guide on how to plan a sabbatical / gap year and save 3rd party information into an app?
3. What if an app could provide the average budget based on wish lists saved by category?
An easy way to rapidly test ideas is to use paper and sharpie to sketch ideas. And put it in the most valuable hands of a user.
“The real process is very complex and the app makes it easier to start creating a plan and save ideas.”
After a few rounds of tests and iterations, core functionalities and user flows were validated, but still a few details had to be reviewed:
. Last step on the on-boarding seemed quite long and copy didn’t clarify what was expected from user.
. It wasn’t clear that when clicking to book a flight or accommodation they would be taken to an external website.
. They were unsure what to expect from “Explore” section.
. Dragging and zooming the map should be a natural behaviour, therefore extra buttons could be eliminated.
High fidelity prototype
Logo design, branding and full user journey through an app that enables users to easily access information in one place to plan a long trip.
Go with the flow and get inspired by a community of travellers, search for flights, accommodations, activities and save them into a list of favourites that organises information while providing an average budget for your plan. Bookings, vouchers and other important documents will also be safe in the app wallet.
SCALING THE APP:
. Content to be accessible in the Cloud.
. Possibility to create different plans.
. Allow users to share / co-create plan with other friends travelling together.
. Add suggestions of travel insurance / visas / vaccination.
. “In the flow” version that:
Connect users on route in real time.
Send push notifications with travel tips enabled by location.