Exotrip — design solutions for who has difficulty making their itinerary(UX Study Case)

Welcome to my first article about design thinking in an application called Exotrip.

What is that?

Exotrip is an extension of exotic-trip. It’s the application to answer the distress of travelers in making and planning their itinerary, can be maintaining their travel budget, and also as an alternative searching tourism information for them.

This study case is a requirement for graduation at the UX Purwadhika booth camp. In 2 weeks, we were given the challenge to create an application, then defines the problem and create a solution to solve it.

Understanding the problem

It started in 2018, while designed trip itinerary to Tokyo. I got some difficulty in making an itinerary. It took 1–3 weeks to get all the information that I needed, such as attractions, restaurants/local foods, transportations, and reviews. I also need an experienced traveler who has traveled to Japan to give some tips and tricks during traveling. And problems arose when during on trip, I had to switch from google sheet for checking my itinerary to google maps for redirecting to different spots.

I used design thinking to guide me in making design solutions to solve these problems.

Design thinking

Spread the survey

I conducted an online survey for people who have traveled, both local and international destinations. To prove my hypothesis, whether they feel as same as I thought and found some insight from them.

Basic information’s result

I found that most of them travel and make their itinerary in their reproductive age. And more than 60% did research the destination for more than one week.

result of the user research method and review needed

Mostly used Google to research the attractions that they want to visit. Then they looked for more detailed information such as reviews, photos, videos and also see some comments about the location. If they were not sure about the research that they did, they usually asked for recommendations from their friends.

difficulty to get information’s result

They found it too difficult because they had to search for information on various websites and platforms. And sometimes they didn’t get what they want, so most of them changed to another destination where information is easier to find.

The affinity mapping

To facilitate the preparation of survey results, I did an affinity diagram process using miro (sticky notes application) to categorize the insights from users that I found. And this process was also a consideration in determining the features in the app that I made.

affinity mapping

Deep interview

After conducting the survey, I conducted in-depth interviews with several users who are happy to create their itinerary. I did this to find their style in designing their plan. They researched by searching from various sources, such as Google, Traveloka, Trip Advisor, and others. They also searched for tourist attractions by considering the area in the city. And then they made routing and timing to divide attractions according to the desired day. In this process, they also calculate the transport and consumption budget.

itinerary progress

comparative apps

I sought and compared several similar applications to observe the features that they have and don’t in their apps, as consideration of the function in the app that I made.

competitive analyst diagram

User persona

user persona

Ideate — the important features

After did an affinity mapping, in-depth interview, and comparative apps, I proceeded to do a 2x2 matrix to help me to make prioritize features should include in my application so the user does not overwhelm in using it. I focused on high impact — low effort quadrant for prioritizing my app.

2x2 matrix diagram

Map routing system

I used the principle of the Dijkstra’s algorithm to route the shortest location to the first location (there is also the same, Floyd Warshall Algorithm). Dijkstra’s algorithm (according to the inventor Edsger Dijkstra) is an algorithm used to solve the shortest path problem for directed graphs.

This algorithm can also be applied to a route application that is closest from one area to another. with this method, the results can be more optimal but require substantial resources if used for complex searches.

The shortest route problem considered good enough to represent the optimization problem because the problem is easy to understand (only sums all the edges traversed) but has many choices of solutions.

The user flow

As a further step of defining the problem and prioritizing features, I made the user flow as a guide for my app and helped me to make a hi-fi prototype. The main goal is the user can understand how to make an itinerary.

user flow

The design system

I also developed a design system as a visual guideline if I want to build it in the future. I also consider choosing the color as my application’s brand.

Design system

The picture below was the stage of making an itinerary in Exotrip.

Exotrip 1.0

feedback & iteration

After created a hi-fi prototype, I conducted a usability testing for the user who will use the application later and validate my app works correctly. I did five users and also UX participants as Heuristic Evaluation. And here, feedback’s result and the iteration :

1. The home

Home’s feedback

Some people felt overwhelmed when they observe the “home” page. They didn’t understand the content writing. Mainly they didn’t know while given the task to make an itinerary. They clicked on the search bar instead of the “create” itinerary icon. Because of that, I made the nav-bar simpler and easily seen so the user could find out where they wanted to make the itinerary. And for the header, I made one action so the user does not feel confused. And I also fixed the category style section into a filter action.

2. The accommodation and research

Accommodation’s feedback

For the accommodation section, users felt confused about the design created. There were three different buttons with an inconsistent design. Therefore I fixed it by adding a section for research for hotels, airplanes, restaurants, and tourist attractions in one page so the user can return to this page when they want to continue searching. And for accommodation, I made it more comfortable with a more straightforward design.

3. The detail information of tourist attraction

Tourist attraction detail’s feedback

I also make tourist attractions easier for users to understand. From the feedback I got, users didn’t need historical information from the attraction. They only need to know the summary of it.

You also can try to use the prototype after iteration here :

Exotrip App

Exotrip 2.0

The next step

  1. Conduct new user testing to test the new flow and design that I made.
  2. Develop the booking feature for hotel, flight, train, bus even rental car in my app, so the user won’t have to change to other apps.
  3. Add more content to give tips and tricks for beginner travelers.

lesson learned

Many things I learned in making this application. With design thinking, I have to look at the problem from the user perspective, not as a designer and dig more the research to get significant results. Therefore a lot of experience that I got when building and designing this app.

Conclusions

There are many ways to create an itinerary by each user. But how do we make it easier for them to get information and arrange it efficiently and effectively. Overall this was a good experience in designing an application from beginning to end. I learned a lot of lessons to develop it. And we should never be satisfied with what we got.

I am very grateful to Kenneth Mahakim as a mentor and instructor. Also, Handoko Dyan Aditya as UX participant and evaluator for my design. Thank you for reading! I hope you can get any lessons from my study case. If you have any feedback, feel free to contact me at zackytakeo@gmail.com or my LinkedIn.

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