Timeline: Eight weeks
Methods: UX research, UX testing, UI research, Branding
Deliverables: UX research, UI Research, Lo-fi prototype, hi-fi prototype, UI style sheet, branding including logo, icons.
For my final year at university, this is the final major project which set for me to try out a number of different methodologies and be creative and experimental with my ideas.
The project was set to give freedom to explore concepts that paired with my app. To get started, I began with market research. First, I downloaded travel apps to start evaluating the user behavior and reading feedback from travelers.
Today, travel industry focus on millennials based on market trends which is the same for my demographic. I decided to focus on my ideas around giving a tour information as good as a person(guide) behind it. What is more important than tour details and price itself is a guide who going to take care of traveler. Today personal background becomes essential to express personality and storytelling sharing in the network.
You might be wondering how many tourists are traveling each year around the world. According to an article on World Tourism Organization(UNWTO), there are 1.18 billion tourists and that number is raising. Looking back 20 years ago, traveling was different from day to day basis as the technologies have developed to become an essential part of traveler’s journey. From telephone, all the airline to find out ticket prices to book the ticket from smartphone, from paper plane ticket to boarding pass in our smartphone, from guidebook to phone app, our devices make traveling less headache, adaptable and personalize.
LocalGuides has the opportunity now to break away from an industry drowning in too much information, too many deals, too many blogs to wade through and offer real insight from professionals. The app helps the traveler to make an easier decision by getting more understanding of guide's background.
First Logo Design
Within my competitive analysis, I started research on various types of brands that travel guides come in. After the sketches and brainstorm together multiple logos and explorations I design something that wasn't like in the market, yet had an approachability to it. I got the idea from icons such as location, person, and map which all these aspects link to idea of the app. The design was builded in Illustrator which after that, I had post this image on Instagram for people to vote which of the four designs they like that most. The result is number one is the most favorite. On the first presentation day, I had put this logo as my final logo for the app, however, my lecture thought it had too many elements for logo such as colors and size is too big. I took the feedback and do more research to design new branding for the app.
Final Logo Design
Welcoming visitors with outstretched arms, holding beautiful flower leis, has become an iconic symbol of the Islands like Hawaii. In fact, since the dawn of tourism in Hawaii, lei greeters have been an integral part of the Hawaiian experience. Hawaii greeters are responsible for giving malihini (visitors) their first taste of the aloha spirit as they arrive in the Islands.
The logo has the inspiration for this story which flower indicate the warm welcome to all travelers who want to experience real local culture. The color of the flower can be changed by season UK time.
To create the flower like this, I watched the tutorial from Youtube.
The research for LocalGuides will be around travel market and existing information about the competitor, tech possibilities, and target audiences. I was looking at competitor products and reviews to establish the questions to prove my hypothesis about user needs.
Millennial are influenced cooling looking profile of its guide, easy to navigate app and offers many tours that can be purchased 'off the shelf'. In addition, users want to want to have flexible time which they can be customized to fit traveler's specific needs. Users would like to be well informed with their guide able to message and change the plan or ask for advice for the expert guidance.
Some millennials are looking for a new local friend in a city who keen to take them on a personal tour. Guides decide their own hourly rates and gain the honor through reviews and rating.
Travelers trended to have more interaction with people who has interesting background and stroy making them memorable.
Reviews help user to make decisoin to choose the tour.
Product should be easy to use, minimal advertising, promotion deal, etc.
Catalog of tagged activities with high quality photos
Be able to search guides nearby users location
Payment should be easy and simple to change to different currency.
The app will start with login stage which user can choose to sign-up by social media or using email. After complete login stage, the app will directly go to the destination page which contains search bar and the user can select which continents they want to explore. In the navigation bar, it contains other features such as 'Find Guide Nearby', 'Destination', 'Inspiration', 'Message' and 'My Account'.
Although I made the sketches in my sketchbook. I was thinking to make a click app with Axure, however, there wasn't much time left to make mid-fi testing with users. If I could get feedback from the user I was hoping to be able to improve and change the ideas.
Futura is my favorite font of all time. Its distinct look and good readability make Futura a good headline font and body text. For colors, I want to make it clean but at the same time, I want the color that gives user confident and adventurous feeling. As a result, I choose to go with black text and white for most of the background. However, I use warm color in some area to make the app don't look too plain.
The photos that show in the app whether it for guide's photo or tours. The photos should be of high quality and taken by professional. The reason photography is so important is primarily that people are generally not very good at describing things they see. A good re-touch photo of the place could influence the user to become interested in going out for a trip. For the guide, having a big smile photo and friendly character can give the user a good first impression. Perhaps in person, it is the charm and use of language can camouflage the faults, but in the online world, the first impression is made with people face - the profile picture.
This section in guide's profile as it gives the user to interact with a guide to their story background which is nothing to do with tour detail. When user read these questions, it will make them think of if this guide will have the same answer as me. This is the place I use another font than Futura which called 'Century Schoolbook'. I don't use Futura because it would make the design too plain and also be using the different font to indicate the answer to each question.
When the app open, user can start login or sign-up on traveler or guide and for new account which social media are available to create an account. In the future, I want to create the separate app for the guide which makes the app less complex. After that, it will take user directly to search destination page. As you can see, most the color here is black and white which I think it looks too clean but it could be better to have warm color tone on these page in the future.
Start with tour detail which contains information such as itinerary, date of available, weather condition and short detail of guide. The user can view guide information from this page. A tour description is only as good as the person behind. For information about the guide, the app not just provides basic information, but explain about guide's day to day life and Q&A section which ask random question. The user can also see their social media platform on Instagram and Facebook with links to their profile. However, there might be sometimes that the tour does not meet user need but they are interested to hire this specific guide. This is when the itinerary customization feature come in handy giving a room for both rearrange the itinerary.
This feature is designed for the traveler who wants to hire a local guide as soon as possible around their location. My best experience as a tourist has always been when I am going to visit a friend. It's like having a tour guide, but better. User can search the location they want to visited. The app can tell them the distance and guides available for each location. This feature is mostly set for small activities such as bike tour or city tour which is 2-3 hours.
When user decided to book a tour, they have to press “Book Now” button which is on the top of the page. The system is going to automatically deduct from user’s account. There are three different methods for user to pay which are Apple Pay, Visa Credit Card and MasterCard. Users can also change the currency they want to pay which consist of USD, GBP, EUR, and Yuan. The reason giving user variety of payment method because LocalGuides see that customers can come from different nationality and country.
This final prototype was tested lightly with my friend for continuity, but there was not much more time to do anything except verfiy the design.
What I learned from this project were extensive; everything was new to me, and while I was apprehensive, I enjoyed the process of moving from UX to UI immensely.
If I could go back and keep working on LocalGuides I would change a few things:
Overall, thank you all whom that help me tested with me, I hope to use pieces of this project to other work in the future.