Role: UX Researcher, UI Designer
If you want to travel somewhere, but you don't know the best place to go within your constraints of budget and dates, it becomes a difficult task to plan a trip. Trekkr has been designed to take users through a sequence of questions that will ultimately help them finalize on a choice of destination. Once that has been figured out, there are several required steps such as deciding transportation and accommodation. This application is the one stop shop that allows a traveller to book their entire itinerary.
Though we haven’t built the actual product, this design and research process uncovered several necessary features we hadn’t originally considered, which will allow us to prioritize what will go into our MVP product. We estimate this saved us an enormous amount of cost and effort.
As a researcher, it was quite gratifying going through an end-to-end design process with this amount of research in play. Hearing my colleagues talk about personas as though they’re real people we’re designing for helped us both gain a closeness to the product and our users that we otherwise would have lost.
Trekkr is a unique travel application that provides users with location recommendations based on their set budget, travel dates and trip preferences (i.e. warm climate by a beach). Our goal was to design a functional prototype that satisfies the overlapping needs of both of our main user groups. We first identified the problem that Trekkr solves for both undergraduates and working professionals: if you don’t know exactly where you want to travel to, due to lack of knowledge of the area, constrained budget, lack of group agreement, etc., it can be very difficult to plan a trip. We started with the constraint that once a user figures out where to go, they face several steps to plan the trip. Our main design opportunity is in the way that information is displayed to the user, within the areas of budget, timeframe, and type of trip. In order to determine the initial set of features, we agreed that we wanted to focus on how to present information to the user such that he/she has to do the least amount of math as possible.
Contextual InquiryIn order to develop the design for our first low-fi prototype, we began by interviewing our target user groups - undergraduates and young professionals, in order to gather initial user feedback about their trip-planning experience. Upon collecting this data, we built several affinity diagrams for each user group and four work models based on four of our interviews that stood out. These provided insight for us to identify four personas amongst our users (the maximizer, the satisficer, the planner, and the adventurer) so we could identify more specifically what types of features our users might want.
We decided that the three main features we wanted to focus on in order to satisfy these user groups included: 1) searching with a map view, 2) booking on a budget, and 3) messaging. Our six team members split up into pairs to sketch initial low-fi designs for these key features.
As we moved forward from our lo-fi prototypes to hi-fi, then to the interactive prototype, each time when we felt unsure about the design, users brought up some genuinely nice thoughts. They raised questions, and by doing that, they simultaneously answered things we were puzzling on. If we regard our design process as making subjective decisions upon objective facts, through each interview we conducted, we gained more critical ideas for our product. For instance, we conducted seven heuristic evaluations on our intermediate version of the prototype (v 1.1). We received more than 40 unique items of feedbacks regarding different categories we were working on. Some of the feedback reflected subtle interaction between users and the product, such as adding a hover-over to avoid opening a new window. Some of them revealed the inflexibility of the flow.
Link to prototype