All vacations start with a dream or an idea for someone who wants to go on a trip. From this point, travelers have many different choices for how they will decide exactly where to go. Studies have shown that researching for a vacation is often the favorite part of planning a vacation and can even consider it to be a fun family activity. However, studies also show that many travelers often do not fulfill their vacation dream because of the overwhelming plethora of choices and not truly knowing how to pair their dreams with the perfect hotel, resort, destination, activities, etc. For example, once a person decides they would like to go to an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, there are over 40 choices of resort, how do they know which is right for them?
This is where working collaboratively with a travel consultant can become a valuable vacation saver to help a client create a vacation of their dreams. When a person comes to a travel consultant, the traveler has usually already done some research, so being able to provide some of that research information to the consultant before the consultation would be valuable to the consultation. By coming into the conversation on the same page, this is valuable to the traveler as well. The consultant can now work with the traveler to match what they are wishing for from their research to help pair them perfectly with the right resort. Then, as the vacation is planned, the travel consultant and the traveler can continue to collaborate together to build the trip.
In order to create a product to close this gap I planned the design of a website based application that would accomplish the following:
- Provide a place for travelers to create a profile to start researching their dreams and save ideas
- Provide a place for travelers and collaborators to build a trip itinerary together.
- Provide a smooth transition for research to be added to a trip and for research and itineraries to be worked on collaboratively.
UX Research: Competitive Analysis, User Surveys, and User Interviews
The Validation stage of the project was completed through conducting several stages of user testing and interviews.
The first stage of validation involved a quantitative and a qualitative questionnaire. The quantitative questionaire includes data from 120 respondents who were identified as travelers. The qualitative questionnaire was completed by 4 professional travel consultants.
Also included in the first stage of validation is a competitive analysis of sites that travelers currently use to collect their travel research and other sites which provide travel agent matching services, ex. Vacation.com, Tripcipe, Trip Advisor.
Personas and Empathy Mapping
From the User Research which was conducted, I developed two user Personas and Empathy Maps for those personas. Each shows how these users would be motivated to use the proposed system and what would make the design more compelling for each person.
The next stage of the design process involved defining the informational architecture of the site. To do this, I conducted a card sort with potential to users to help understand how the site would be used. This helped to define icons and other organizational architecture later in the design work as well as define the actions which would be taken by users.
I also completed a site map at this stage of the design. The site map is rather simple as the majority of the information on the site will be user generated data.
I chose to leave the site design relatively simple so that it would be easy for users to develop their own structure. Just as people have a different way of saving files to their computer, users would also have a different style of organizing their trips and other research in the system.
Wireframes and Style Guide
The next stage of the project is wireframing the design and developing the style guide including color guide, iconography, font and button styles.
I used Sketch to create the full-color mock ups for the site which can be seen in this slideshow or through the InVision App to see a clickable mock up.
For the final stage of the user experience design process on this project, I completed User Validation Testing with prospective users. For this, users were asked to complete a series of tasks using the clickable prototype on the InVision App. Users were able to easily complete the requested tasks.