Creating narratives of our travel experiences
Traverse lets us create artistic maps of our trips where we can geotag activities and experiences on a personalized map with illustrations, patterns, and text.
If our travel experiences could be summed up on one canvas, that canvas would be Traverse!
User Experience Diploma at BrainStation
Figma, Invision, Notion, Otter
Following the convergent and divergent thinking of the Double Diamond Design Methodology, helped me establish a creative process and guided me through four defined stages to organize my design process.
SUMMING UP OUR TRAVELS ON ONE CANVAS
Kayaking at the Sechelt inlet, sighting playful sea lions, witnessing whirlpools, and visiting amazing restaurants and coffee shops every day. These are all actual experiences I had from a recent trip to the Sunshine Coast.
As fun and wonderful as they all were, it gets difficult to share these experiences once I am “back to reality”.
I’ve heard similar complaints from friends. We all want to, but find it difficult, to document our travel experiences - either for personal memories or to share them with the world.
How do we elevate our post-travel storytelling experiences? Is it possible to sum up our trip on one canvas?
It sparked my curiosity to understand how others share their thoughts and impressions about places they’ve visited and the major pain points they experience in documenting their post-travel experiences.
I began researching surveys, magazine articles, and blog posts. One of the main takeaways was that there is a need for more creative ways for digital scrapbooking of our travels. Some key insights were:
60% of the millennial generation share photos on social media while traveling, the primary reasons being instant communication and gratification
While social media is an excellent platform for a photo dump, it does not allow for an immersive experience down memory lane
17% of travelers describe their journey online either through reviews, blogs, or videos - the effort and time required being the primary inhibitors to doing so
Organizing Travel Pictures
The problem with keeping digital photos online or on our phones is that they can easily be forgotten once new photos are taken – and with digital images, it’s so easy to take snapshot after snapshot
Travelers lack tools that facilitate easy storytelling that help in creating visual narratives of their travel experiences.
How might we,
Empower travelers to create narratives of their travel experiences that can be relived and shared in a more expressive way?
CHRONICLES OF THE TRAVELLING FOLK
I conducted extensive interviews with 5 interviewees who love visiting new places, keeping track of their photos, and documenting their travel journeys. I wanted to include people from different professions and people with different travel styles to understand their behavior towards post-travel documentation.
I asked a series of qualitative questions to gather deeper insights. A thorough analysis of the collected data via an affinity map indicated the following pain points, motivations and behaviors:
4 out of 5 interviewees found it difficult and time-consuming to creatively document their travels
They could not recall details from their favorite trips they did a long time ago
All interviewees upload travel pictures on social media to share and inspire their community of friends and family
Having a record of their memories and allowing them to relive their adventures
Use social media because they want quick, easy, self-gratification
Use people’s blogs/social media handles for inspiration when planning their travels
Easy and creative travel documentation was a common theme; with all interviewees expressing that while they are motivated to document their experiences, but lack creativity and lose the motivation once back from their trips and into the hustle of life
An interesting unexpected takeaway
Interviewees use travel blogs and social media not only for documenting their experiences but also for inspiration and tips while planning their travels. This was an insight not directly related to travel documentation but serves as a crucial motivator that I could potentially tap into for my design solution
Tying together my interview findings and secondary research, I created the persona of Claire to play the lead protagonist of my user journeys. As an amalgamation of the target demographic, she reflects the frustrations, motivations and behaviors of a typical user.
Introducing Claire, a 28-year-old frequent traveler, who has always wanted to document her travels but finds writing a blog or scrapbooking too daunting.
WALKING INTO THE SHOES
I asked the interviewees to walk me through their travel planning process and how they relive and share their trip experiences. I synthesized their experiences into one journey as I envisioned Claire sharing stories of her travels in the form of an experience "map". By charting each task and identifying what Claire was doing, thinking, and feeling, I was able to identify design opportunities where I could intervene to alleviate some of her stress and frustration while documenting her travel experiences
Through my research, I was able to verify the assumption that the target demographic has a need to preserve and document post-travel memories and that they find the current solutions to be inconvenient and time-consuming.
With these design opportunities in mind, I began ideating the functionality of my product. Through Claire, I envisioned around 30 user stories and categorized them into 4 epics that would answer the why and what the users will be using the app for.
Epic chosen: Creative Documentation
As a traveler I want to have a visual depiction of itneraries so that I can have an idea about the places I can visit at a glance without having to read lengthy blogs
As a traveler I want various options of editing and creating post-travel documentation so that I can make travel canvas of my journeys
As a traveler I want to optimize my travel documentation with the help of a map populated with pins for each place I visted so that I have a neat and succint memory to look back to
As a traveler I want to be able to have my itenerary and pictures at one place so that it is not fragmented and accessing it it easier
As a traveler I want to have all my travel tips and stories documented and segregated with respect to each place I visited so that they are organized and easily accessible
For my next step, I built a Task Flow for Claire to understand how she would create a travel map of her experiences from a trip.
This helped me visualize how the process/flow of each step in the app.
STRUCTURE & CONTENT
Understanding the functions & features required for being able to create the map was an important step. So I mapped out the functions that would be included in the create screen with emphasis on the editing options. This helped me source inspirations and then sketch solutions with a holistic understanding of being able to create the interactive map.
BRINGING DESIGN TO LIFE
After getting a clear idea of the content to be added to each screen, I started searching for inspiration for UI elements that resonate well with the concept and idea of the product.
BRINGING DESIGN TO LIFE
I translated my sketches into grayscale wireframes in Figma and created a working prototype. This prototype was key to testing the functionality of my app flow and perceiving if users could complete the task of creating a map of their travel experiences.
SMALL CHANGES = BIG RESULTS
USABILITY TESTING & ITERATIONS
I conducted 2 rounds of usability tests. Each testing round consisted of 5 users. Participants were asked to perform a task in the prototype and were observed based on these parameters:
Successfully completing the given task
Understanding content on screens and task flow
Navigating within the screen layouts
Users were given the task goal to map and document their kayaking experience in Sechelt, BC
A context and scenario accompanying the goal were provided as well to avoid any confusion.
The first round of testing was very valuable. While the interface of the application was proven to be clear and engaging,
80% of the users faced confusion in achieving the task given.
Round 2 of User Testing
For the revised version, I now created a prototype that would enable users to add 2 pins/places. Slowly inching towards being able to experience creating the entire map!
The second round of user testing was very positive in terms of feedback. The screens were intuitive and easy to understand and participants were able to complete the tasks with ease! The need for only some minor cosmetic changes was observed.
GIVING A PERSONALITY
After many rounds of testing, synthesizing, and revising, I was ready to define the visual identity of my application and bring it to life!
Based on my interviews and secondary research, the major pain point faced for travel documentation was that it was laborious and time-consuming to do so. Building on the brand and interests of my persona, I feel showcasing vibrant, creative, and effortless appeal will alleviate the pain point and resonate well with the demographic.
The words that inspired me were:
Think of a pleasant autumn evening spent with family and friends. The sky is beaming a happy blue and you are playing catch with everyone!
Innovative | Playful/Fun | Energetic | Enjoyable | Cheerful | Happy
COLORS & FONT
Building from the mood board, I extracted shades of orange as the primary color with complimentary shades of blue.
A blend of enthusiasm and vibrancy!
Primary Color Shades
Secondary Color Shades
The app will have multiple editing features on each screen, which is why the main font type should be easy to read and subtle to the eyes. Hence, I chose SF Pro as the font type is clean, with compact shapes and multiple spacing between the letters
The logo is a touchpoint that can be interacted with in multiple aspects, hence it was important that it represents the vibe and MVP of the app.
The logo should represent what the users can achieve from the app i.e being able to create an illustrative map of their travels using geotagged pins.
I started ideating using symbols that are widely recognized for pins and maps
Tried incorporating the idea of “editing a map”
Visualized the symbols for pen/pencil for editing on a map
The Final iteration was pencil shaped geotag pin on a map. I further added a wordmark beneath it to complete the logo.
The font chosen for the wordmark is Aromia Script. It echoed a bold and punchy look which resonated with the brand personality. I tweaked the last letter to make a tail for the flight icon above it.
TYING IT TOGETHER
I wanted to keep the design clean with less visual clutter so that the features can be highlighted well. Finding that visual balance was a tricky road.
I studied how successful apps like Airbnb, Instagram, and Canva use their brand colors in their UI and drew inspiration. Colors were also tested to ensure they met the WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines for accessibility.
Every time you add a place you visited, it is pinned on your travel map. Traverse automatically sources information about the place!
You can also add notes/your thoughts about your favorite memories from the experience!
Browse through a collection of map styles to create a mood that speaks to you!
Take advantage of the app's extensive library of illustrations, text styles, and patterns. Adjust their sizes, and colors and position them any way you wish!
With one easy click, Traverse rescales your pinned map into a powerful and expressive schematic map, which is saved to your profile and can be printed or shared across multiple social media platforms.
DETAILS MATTER THE MOST
To ease hand-off to a developer and for future expansion of the functionality of Traverse, I conducted an inventory assessment of the entire set of user interface components, and the various states of those elements and created a page in my design tool that lists labels, and organizes my digital product’s color, typography, and user interface components.
I proceeded with developing a responsive marketing website and mobile version that focused on building a strong value proposition. The overall tone and narrative are meant to be conveyed in a casual and fun manner, fit for the target market.
I designed it to be consistent with the fun and playful energy of my app.
I also gathered feedback after multiple iterations to ensure that the brand goals were communicated.
Keeping Claire, my persona, in mind and researching other devices that Traverse can be used on, I also designed the app for an iPad.
Traverse being compatible with an iPad would allow Claire and other users to create their map on a bigger screen. It would also allow users to sketch their own illustrations and add text with their own handwriting, opening wider possibilities of how Traverse can empower users to create more personalized travel narratives.
LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE
Use Traverse to further empower local artists, small businesses, and city tourism agencies.
I would like to add pre-loaded “city-guide” maps on Traverse - similar to the hard copy versions we find published by city tourism agencies. The availability of these maps on one platform would reduce the need for hard copies and help make tourism more sustainable.
Further testing will also be required to enhance functionality.
About the App
The importance of making a minimal and clean interface cannot be understated. It allows the app features to stand out and make the user flow intuitive.
Listening to all feedback and suggestions is essential but I understood the importance of being mindful of the changes to incorporate that I resonate with.
Academics & Beyond
In addition to the knowledge that we learn during the allotted hours at school and university, the entire experience teaches us so much more. I have developed crazy good time management and organization skills. School teaches you the importance of collaboration and working together. Moreover, it makes you accept that it is okay to not know everything and ask for help.
The entire process of creating my own app was so challenging, yet so rewarding, because I got to see myself overcome each challenge. It comes easy when you're passionate about solving problems!
Asset credits - Icons: Remix Icons, Material iOS library (Figma) | Stickers/Illustrations: Flaticon | Pictures: Unsplash, Pexels
Mockups: Mockuuups Studio, MockRocket-3D Mockup, Matte mockups (Figma Community)
THANK YOU FOR WATCHING!
Please feel free to reach out if you would like to hear more! 👋🏻