April 2020 - June 2020
research, interaction design, visual design, motion design
I am frequently in charge of planning out-of-city trips with large groups of people.
My mental rolodex of upstate vacation spots is pretty limited so it’s always a struggle to find towns that have a lot of fun attractions AND are accessible for people who don’t have cars.
One day, while manually triangulating the distance between the address of a potential AirBnB, the local train station, and the creamery that my group wanted to visit, I decided that there had to be a better way.
I started asking around, and it turns out that a lot of New Yorkers struggle to find fun, accessible getaways.
I interviewed seven intrepid young transplants to get more insight into the various plights facing New Yorkers who want to get out of town. From here, I was able to form a primary persona.
Liz lives in Astoria, Queens with 3 roommates, 80k in student loan debt, and no car.
She is also in charge of planning her best friend’s out-of-town birthday party.
There’s no shortage of awesome trip planning apps, but none of them are optimized for multi-node trips on public transit lines and also help with wrangling groups.
How might we enable Liz to discover a getaway off public transit that fits her interests?
Based on insights gained from my interviews, I decided to focus on providing solutions to 3 main problems that people face when trying to plan trips:
“As a New Yorker, I want to be able to find fun things to do outside the city off of mass transit lines without doing hours of research.”
“ I want to be able to find a bunch of stuff do do that’s all within walking distance and have a way to save all the activities in one place.”
“I want a quick and easy way to gain my friends’ consensus on travel plans without having to chase everybody down individually”
And because my interviewees all reported that trip-building was compicated and boring and they became easily overwhelmed with choices, I thought that the ideal solution would make trip planning feel fun and easy. Maybe user didn’t just need a way to find choices:
So my vision moving forward was to make the user feel like they had their own personal concierge to the tristate area. That meant keeping the tone conversational, and curating information to minimize decision fatigue.
Keeping this in mind, I created user flows for my three main problems, establishing a friendly give-and-take between user and machine:
Then came wireframes: the fun part! I always begin this stage by rapid-fire sketching out a bunch of ideas on paper without thinking too hard about them. Afterward, I can take a more critical eye to the sketches and pick a few favorites.
I then slid into Figma to start pushing pixels around, settling on a few good initial layouts for my key screens.
This flow was all about limiting choices--- in a friendly way! The user’s helpful travel agent makes suggestions about activities and destinations.
Interviewees wanted a mobile-friendly way to compare attractions to each other, and the ability to save them someplace easy to access.
Interviewees stated that wrangling their friends was one of their biggest annoyances. Let’s give them an easy way to build consensus about trips!
I used Maze for validation testing. I uploaded a clickable prototype and set up "missions" that simulated real paths that a user would need to take in the app. A usability score is granted based on how easily users were able to make it through the flow.
Here's what my Maze testing journey looked like:
Maze allowed me to diagnose and fix problems, significantly improving my usability score.
I gained a ton of valuable insights during validation testing. Here’s an example of some of the changes I made due to this feedback in one of my screens:
Now we’ve got a Liz-worthy travel agent that gives her a stress-free way to skip town with her pals.
You can give the final prototype a spin below!
Bounce has come a long way, but a designer's job is never done. Here are some of the next items on the checklist: