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Compass

During my User Experience and User Interface Design Program I was tasked with creating an app prototype for travelers in a post-pandemic world. I was in charge of doing the initial user research, creating a user experience based off of that research, testing my prototype, and iterating my product multiple times until I had a final prototype. Below is the prompt with which I started this project and throughout this page you'll be able to see my entire process as I walked through this prototyping project.

" Imagine you’ve just been hired as a product designer for a new travel startup. The startup plans to launch the app once the global pandemic ends. The startup’s goal is to build a modern-day mobile app that helps people plan their next trip, post-pandemic. Build a prototype of a mobile app that can address the needs of the modern traveler in a post-pandemic world. "

Project Overview

The Problem: In a post-pandemic world, consumers are looking for ways to achieve an easy vacation planning process with COVID safety protocols in mind. We have observed that there is a gap in the market for a  product that meets the rising covid safety concerns of our consumers. How might we provide more safety information within a travel based app so that our customers feel more informed based on user engagement and client reviews?


 

The Solution: Build a mobile app that not only helps the consumer plan their travel experience, but also meets the needs and concerns our consumers have around COVID.

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Dani's Goals & Needs

Once I had my proto persona built out, I hypothesized further and came up with the following needs and goals for Dani to better understand the way she thinks so I could make sure my app would truly meet her needs. Once I had these written out I created my hypothesized pain point and potential solution and then started a list of interview questions and a script to prepare to collect User Data. 

Goals & Needs

 

Goals: to maximize the little amount of Paid Time Off she gets each year

Needs: A one stop shop for all things vacation in a post-pandemic world; from flights, to rooms, to covid policies and activities, she needs a place she can manage it all quickly and efficiently so she can focus on enjoying her vacation.

Pain Points & Potential Solutions

Pain Point: finding the best value for flights, hotels, and activities, is time consuming and difficult. 

Potential Solution: an all inclusive app that will track your flight, hotel stay, local covid policies, and any additional activities you input.  

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Proto Persona: Meet Dani Johnson

I started this project by hypothesizing who might be using this app via the creation of a proto persona.I knew I wanted to focus on a small subset of post-pandemic travelers, the zillenial traveler. This is a section of the population that I thought was uniquely positioned when the covid pandemic initially started and it's because of this that I felt they would have an interesting subset of wants and needs in a post-pandemic world. With that in mind, I utilized these ideas as a jumping off point for my proto persona and continued to iterate the idea of who my user was and what motivates them as I gathered more data throughout the process.

Gender: Female

Age: 23-26

Education: College Educated

Occupation: Mid Level Job (assistant marketing manager, social media marketing expert, tech industry job)

Relationship Status: In a committed relationship

Likes to: Visit new resturants, go out to dinner on week nights, have chill weekends at home

Loves: her cat, health and fitness, downtime, going out with friends, 

Doesn't like: working overtime, obnoxious kids in public, when the barista gets her coffee order wrong

Interests & Personality:

Social, open to new experiences, adventurous, spontaneous, weekend warrior 

User Research

In order to verify my proto persona, I planned and conducted 5 in depth interviews.

 

This was a convenience sample but the selected participants are reflective of the target demographic. The following information I gleaned from these interviews: 

"post pandemic requires a lot more planning"

"Time is a major constraint"

"covid case rate is No 1 concern when booking a trip"

"my biggest concern: catching covid and giving it to loved ones" 

You can view a transcript of all the interviews I conducted here.

Below you will see the multiple exercises I conducted to organize my data and better understand my target user. 

Affinity Diagram

Above you can see the key takeaways from each interview color-coded by individual. I was able to categorize the key insights into six defining factors millennials consider when planning a vacation: 

 

  • COVID planning

  • Price

  • Vacation values/priorities

  • COVID feelings

  • Time-constraints 

  • Organization needs

COVID Planning

-adjusted to outdoor activities

- limited international travel

- wants to know COVID protocols 

-post pandemic planning is extreme

- COVID case rate is a deal breaker

- gravitating toward more rural trips

- covid case rate is No. 1 priority

- I plan more due to the pandemic

COVID Feelings

- noticed less people on vacation in general

- afraid to fly

- concerned about catching covid

-travel is more stressful now

- concerned about virus transmission

- more worried about gen. pop. attitude than protocols

- a lot more cautious now

- feels more secure in a familiar place

Price

- "the less money you spend the more people you meet"

- covid safety is more important than price
 

-I want to know the trip costs before I commit

- I think covid safety and price are equal

Time-constraint

- always looking for time-savers

- biggest hurtle: busy schedule
 

- time is a major constraint

- Aligning trips with own busy schedule is a challenge

Vacation Values

- enjoys natural splendor and architecture

- enjoys local sights
 

-Loves to try new eateries

- having the most fun when totally engaged in new activities

-good food is so important

Organization

- inclined to use a travel agent

- meticulous organization
 

- starts planning by talking to friends

- Starts planning by looking up reviews

Empathy Map

Based on the key insights from the affinity diagram, I was able to create the map to the left of what the target user would most likely be feeling, thinking, saying doing; as well as where the major pains were for the user as well as where the potential gains are for this app.

Says

Pains

Going on a trip is important to me, but so is my health and safety.

Does

Thinks

I need to start planning trips earlier than I used to so I have time to account for safety protocols

Feels

I make sure to research covid case rates & protocols before and during my vacation.

Adjusting to covid protocols on vacation is overwhelming.

I feel nervous about traveling to new places due to the pandemic.

Gains

A place to easily plan your entire vacation including covid safety requirements

User Persona: Meet Hannah Miller

Once my User Research was complete I had my finalized user persona and was ready to start designing my travel app.

 

Demographics: 

Age: 24

Education: B.A in Information Technologies

Occupation: IT Operations Specialist

Tech Literacy: High Proficiency 

Status: Single

Location: San Francisco

Behavioral Demographics: 

  • Health conscious, values authenticity, adventurous, detail-oriented

Essential Needs/Wants:

  • Looking to maximize the value of her PTO

  • Needs an easier way to coordinate trips

  • Wants to feel secure about covid worries during her travels

Pain Points/Frustrations:

  • The overall level of planning a trip requires

  • Having to use multiple apps and keep track of them all

  • Feeling constrained by time & covid mandates

Favorite Brands: 

  • Lululemon

  • Blue Bottle Coffee

  • Madewell

  • Lush

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Definition & Ideation

After conducting this research I moved into the definition and ideation phase of the app building process. The following focuses on information surrounding how I project this app will fit the rising needs of my target consumer

User Insight & Problem Statement

The first things I solidified after my User Persona was my User Insight and Problem Statement. I have listed them here: 

User Insight: Hannah Miller needs to track all her travel plans including covid mandates and case counts because having a safe well-planned vacation is important to her.

Problem Statement: We believe creating a feature that will populate the covid case rate based on location into our travel app for covid conscious zillenial travelers 

will achieve an overall safer and more informed vacation experience.

 

Compass was designed to achieve an easy vacation planning process. We have observed that our product isn’t meeting the rising covid safety concerns of our consumers, which is causing our app’s ranking to fall in significance. How might we provide more safety information so that our customers feel more informed based on user engagement and client reviews?

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Competitor Analysis

Before I began prototyping I started by running a competitor analysis on apps that were attempting to fill the needs my new app would be tackling as well. That exercise can be viewed on the below linked google sheet. 


View my competitor Analysis here.

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Prototyping

After defining and ideating on my new app I moved into the prototyping phase of the app building process. This section focuses on information surrounding how I began the prototyping process and the iterations that have come since.

Sketches

To begin building out a prototype I started by doing some simple sketches to test the viability of the flow. I utilized InVision to bring the sketches “to life”. Once I was happy with the basic flow I moved to low fidelity prototyping.

View clickable sketch prototype here.

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Low Fidelity Prototype

After completing the sketch prototype, I then elaborated on the concept and built out a more detailed version of the app on Figma. 


Link to my low fidelity digital wireframe prototype here.

Testing & Iterating 

After the first few versions of my app’s prototype I moved into the testing and iterating phase of the app building process.

This section focuses on information I gathered from these tests and the changes I made to my prototype based on that information.

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Guerrilla Testing Plan 

I started this process by running a guerrilla test of my low fidelity prototype. I gained some very helpful insights into how my app was tracking with my user and what things were working vs not working. 

 

One great example of this that I gleaned from this process was that while the closing of the menu bar was not crucial to the testing process at this phase everyone I tested at least attempted to close the menu bar, so I knew it was a feature I needed to add. 


For more information about my guerrilla testing plan can be found here.

Medium Fidelity Prototype

I then made some changes to the prototype based on the feedback and then did a second round of user testing based on this new and improved version of my prototype. 


Mid fi iteration found here.

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Second Round of User Testing

I then conducted two user tests based on the Mid Fi Iteration. I sat down with two separate testers and had them walk through the Mid Fi version of my prototype and collected feedback from them and used this information to inform my final iteration of this travel app prototype.

Key Takeaways from User Testing

​After conducting my second round of interviews and testing my newest prototype these were the takeaways that stood out the most and I translated into the final version of my prototype. 

  • App would benefit from coaching screens

  • The font is a bit hard to read

  • Some of the design is inconsistent

  • The full black and white is harsh on the eye making them a slight tint would make it easier on the eye and give the app more style

  • The functions all seem to work well

  • Any cheeky copy was a bit off putting from such a polished feeling site

  • Consider changing the permission titles and when they pop-up during the onboarding process

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Final Prototype

I took all the feedback from the user tests and applied them to this version.

 

Link to iOS Prototype here

*Note:  When using this prototype the buttons may be finicky. If you are having an issue, please try pressing to the right or below the words on each button in order to walk through the entirety of the app. 

Thank you.

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