Planning for a group travel experience to satisfy all members can be tricky. How can group travel planners better manage expectations so that everyone is satisfied with the itinerary? Plan'd wants to build a platform to address this issue, while also incorporating ways to generate revenue to maintain a sustainable, growing business.
Plan’d is an itinerary building app for group travel planners. The app creates an itinerary for a group based off of a group’s target destination, dates, and travel style. It further allows the user to edit the itinerary, receive recommendations, and poll members for their thoughts on their trip. This app provides many opportunities to achieve revenue generating business objectives from offering travel-related bookings and tickets.
Solo UX Designer for a personal project. End-to-end creation of an MVP. Includes research, information architecture, interaction design, UI design, and iterative prototyping.
May 2021 (80 hours)
When I first approached creating Plan’d, I had just read about Klook’s survey study on solo travelers, their #1 trend in 2019. The study specifically highlighted several pain points including a solo traveler’s fear of loneliness, which prevents them from taking that step toward traveling alone. I was curious if there was a way to solve this issue by connecting like-minded solo travelers together through their itineraries, and decided to further this itinerary app idea and Klook’s research further through my own competitive analysis research and interviews.
The apps I competitively researched included:
My competitive analysis formed the foundation of questions to ask solo traveler participants in moderated semi-structured interviews.
After interviewing several solo travelers through moderated, semi-structured interviews, I ran into an issue that challenged my assumptions. At this point, I decided to pivot the solo traveler focus toward a group travel focus, as more pain points seemed to be present in that space.
At this point, I decided to pivot the solo traveler focus toward a group travel focus, as more pain points seemed to be present in that space.
Solo travelers value the flexibility and freedom in not having a detailed itinerary, however with group travel, there were definitely more issues to take into account since more people were involved.
After debriefing 8 user interviews, I summarized my findings into a user persona, Justin Lee.
This user persona highlighted what our users expected during the trip planning process, which further guided my design process.
Next, I created a journey map to better understand which stages would be the most critical for the app to have an impact on. By highlighting the specific positive, negative, and neutral thoughts that occur at each stage of the process, it became clearer to me how to structure the app as the user navigated through.
Opportunity: The larger amount of thoughts that occurred during the planning and traveling phases implied that those stages should be the focus of the app.
With a priority list of features in hand, I then created a user flow to better understand the specific actions a user would expect to take when navigating through the app to reach their goal. Listing out all the pages here also helped me figure out which screens to design for.
Seeing how so many decisions were linked to the Itinerary screen shows that designing this section to account for a variety of actions would be crucial to the success of the app.
Now, it was finally time to create my lo-fi prototype. I first sketched several ideas of what the main screens of the app should look like.
Through moderated usability tests, I tested out my lo-fi prototype with 5 participants. I sorted my notes from these tests with an affinity map to create key findings to add to the next iteration.
With my next steps pulled from my affinity map, I iterated on my lo-fi prototype by creating my hi-fi prototype. I created a UI Kit, and tested out several color schemes for the hi-fi prototype. One of the more difficult parts during this process was creating the interactions for moving the cards around. I tried using Framer at first, but it didn’t quite have the functionality I wanted in an accessible way. Ultimately, I figured out how to create the interactions with Figma’s own prototyping.
A map view for the itinerary was crucial for users during their itinerary planning, and traveling process.
Although some minor tweaks were necessary, usability participants were quite satisfied with using the polls to gauge group interest.
Drag and Drop Cards Interaction Design
Editing the itinerary via drag and drop functionality is an integral part of using the app. Users intuitively want to select cards just by dragging them across somewhere. However, when considering dragging a place card across multiple days, this simple action can lead to frustration. The solution lies in modeling this function to be similar to the iPhone Calendar app, so that when a user begins to drag a card, a list of dates appear from the top of the screen which allows the user to drop the card there instead of dragging all the way to the bottom.
Explanation of Plan'd's Functionality
Many participants choose to gloss over a lot of the explanatory text when creating a trip. By reformatting the text so that there are 3 clear options, the user may be more inclined to thoroughly read what's presented to them.
Now that I’ve created a hi-fi prototype, I want to better understand what users would expect from this app through monitoring their behaviors and through more testing. I would repeat testing for the same tasks from my usability testing to evaluate how well my changes have improved the app. After further testing of this MVP leading to the launch, I would monitor how many users sign up to the app, and actually use it to plan and navigate through their itineraries. I would further keep an eye on app reviews for areas of improvement.
From there, I would incorporate higher priority Phase 2 features into the app. Phase 2 features, which includes developing other main screens like “Explore" and the adding ability to purchase tickets for events and activities from the Itinerary planner, would incorporate flows to generate revenue for the business.