Many potential travelers grapple with uncertainty and hesitancy when it comes to finalizing their travel plans. Only a fraction of travel ideas progress beyond the initial stages of online research and booking, manifesting into tangible experiences. Travelers seek a solution that allows them to craft personalized travel itineraries efficiently, encompassing activity costs. However, they encounter a sea of irrelevant online recommendations and lack a systematic approach to curate plans aligned with their emotions and preferences, leaving them unsure of the best course of action.
Swift offers users a way to quickly plot out vacation plans, which include the most critical part of the preparations: what to do and how much its going to cost. The solution was to balance the high customization and quality of a traditional travel agent with the low cost and efficiency of a conventional OTA.
Lead UX Designer
- UX Research
- Brand Identity
- UI Design
- Journeymap & Userflows
- Project Management
- Information Architecture
- Usability Testing
- Hifi Prototype
What Insights Did I get From Research?
In the competitive realm of travel apps, comparing features seemed too narrow. To stand out, I delved deeper, shifting from comparing duplicatable features to understanding the essence of each competitor. Instead of a feature-centric analysis, I adopted a novel approach—an in-depth exploration of the fundamental interests driving each competitor. This shift led to a unique quadrant-based qualitative assessment, unveiling a clear pattern in the OTA (Online Travel Agency) market. Competitors clustered into two distinct quadrants: 'Low Cost-High Efficiency' or 'High Quality-High Cost'. This insight fueled my goal: to maximize all four aspects—cost-efficiency, quality, user experience, and accessibility.
The Big Result
My vision crystallized into a delicate balance, offering a platform catering to both the budget-conscious explorer and the luxury-seeking voyager. Bridging this gap became my mission, setting me on a path to redefine travel experiences. My competitive analysis became a guiding light, steering me towards a travel app that embodies the epitome of value—a holistic, enriching experience for every type of traveler. This journey continues, fueled by my passion to create a platform aligning with the diverse interests of every wanderlust-filled soul.
- Planning is overwhelming. There’s, often, too many choices.
- Customer service department in travel feels too pushy.
- It’s hard filtering through and making sense of all the options, opinions and advice.
- Only getting a glimpse of an experience before you have to commit to it.
What's the Secret Sauce to This design?
Translating this data into a tangible, intuitive design required a holistic approach. An affinity map emerged as my perfect tool, serving as a dynamic canvas where user insights could converge, interweave, and manifest into meaningful design choices. The affinity map transformed into an entity of principles—through the design process it felt much like a counterpart in a conversation. It played a pivotal role in shaping the copy and information architecture, surprisingly, I relied it on heavily even to produce the tagline of Swift: 'Unite With the Spirit of Travel'. This process wasn't just about creating a visually appealing interface; it was about infusing character and communication style into the output. The high fidelity version stands as a testament to this amalgamation—where I was able to invoke the spirit of my users into the functionality of the app.
The process used during usability testing was reconstructive. Respondents were provided several scenarios of a hypothetical user's need(s) then were asked to use the app to satisfy the need(s). The respondent were asked to advise the tester after each step was completed, and, describe the level of difficulty involved in each scenario. Data was interpreted quantitatively, and as such, total success/failure values of each respondent was computed by a tier system given to groups of percentiles in each scenario. By understanding the number and type(s) of failures in particular frame(s) of a flow or given task I was able to focus on changes to buttons, asset placement, and sometimes text/content change.
- Additional navigation buttons at the top of the frame such as the home button were unnecessary and could be added to the bottom nav.
- A "Save" button or option should be added to affirm the users plan progress. As well, this button was also part of a familiar experience with competitors and like apps.
- Iconography and field layout in initial lo-fi and mid-di iterations gave users the impression they could make changes on those frames. They were removed in final design to ensure success.
- 'Sliders' as preference setter were preferred where applicable as they were a quicker form of establishing information, and, helped users progress faster.
Surprisingly, the most important lesson(s) came, not during the later testing portion of design, but rather during the user research phase. I began this study with the sense that I would blend a feature I had been considering for sometime with what data came out of my user research (yes, admittedly, I started this project with a lot of solution related prejudice). User research was especially enlightening. It provided me with the tagline for Swift, and, most importantly, the central component of Swift -- package based mood selection. Inquiry allowed me to narrow in on the issues with redundancy in CTAs and buttons, which, until streamlined, were adding onto the time it took for users to complete tasks. Ultimately, preliminary research is what generated all of the algorithmic, and dare I say, most satisfying parts of Swift.
- Travel industry focuses extensively on travel products but overlooks understanding the psychology of travelers. While products offer options for flights, hotels, and cars, creating a personalized daily itinerary remains neglected. Many travel companies are either unaware of or neglect a significant portion of travelers seeking tailored experiences
- Avoid using user data fields and containers when simply communicating information to users. This can cause confusion, disrupt task flow, and potentially result in app abandonment
Drawing from insights gained in guerrilla testing, there's a strategic opportunity to enhance Swift's gamification aspects, like 'avatar achievements' and itinerary-specific maps. These features enrich the user experience, but unfortunately couldn't be further developed within the project's timeframe.