For this project, our team set out to build a product that tackles issues surrounding womxn’s solo traveling.

Together we built a mobile app that would be a buddy for solo womxn travelers as well as help them connect with others!

VoyageHer was created to provide travelers with a map, safety tips, connecting options, and guides.

Figma Prototype

Role: UX Designer + Researcher

Project Length: 2 weeks

Team: Jennifer Hudock, Quinn Devlin, Nekesha Green, Rachel Blatz

Tools: Figma, Miro

Project: Create and test a mobile app for a potential partner

Ideal Partner: Lonely Planet

In The Beginning

We began by talking about our own experiences with solo travel and how we felt about the safety issues. Some of us stated that we have had weird encounters while traveling alone and others talked about wanting to meet people abroad. This is where Voyage Her was born. From there we had to get an understanding of the target audience. We kept the app female-focused and began working on ways to make the app more inclusive as the project went on.

Our Partner

After doing market research, we were able to identify potential companies that would complement our brand. We ultimately determined that Lonely Planet would be an excellent addition to the VoyageHER application. Lonely Planet is an award-winning company, that provides expertly curated travel advice and inspiration for its users. Their site provides users with a range of print and digital guidebooks, location information, and background information of popular attractions, to name a few.

What Can We Learn

Goal of research

The goal of our research was to find female travelers who have been abroad and who have experience with solo travel or have been wanting to take a trip alone. By having interviews with our participants we can understand what experiences they’ve had abroad and specific incidents regarding safety. We also sought to learn if there was a desire to meet people online for platonic friendships and connecting over similar hobbies.

Methodology

We began our research with the creation of a Business Model Canvas for Lonely Planet. The business model canvas is a template that helps us to understand the rationale of how Lonely Planet creates, delivers, and captures value. After doing a closer look at Lonely Planet’s model we started conducting user interviews with 6 participants. Before the interview, we created a discussion guide with questions that related to our problem space.

During the interviews with our target audience we learned their current relationship with traveling solo, and what their pain points and behaviors are.  Through this interviewing process we gathered information and specific insights that we could use as a focus. We kept this information together by organizing popular trends and turning them into insights that can compliment future features.

So, What's the Issue?

We constructed a persona and problem space using what we found in our research. This helps us emphasize with the users and keep ourselves focused on what can be improved. We started by creating a hypothesis based on our existing assumptions.

Hypothesis

Women would feel more comfortable traveling alone and meeting up with others if they had a tool that prioritized their safety while abroad.

Assumptions

  • Women would prefer to travel with other women instead of men.
  • Many women opt out of solo travel due to a lack of resources and safety.
  • Women feel unsafe traveling alone.
  • Women would be more likely to meet up with women from an app than men.
  • Women would like someone to do certain activities with when traveling solo.

Focusing on our Problem

With our project scope, hypothesis, and the goal of research in mind, we worked together to produce an initial problem statement to test against user research.

We see that women solo travelers generally feel unsafe traveling alone. Our target audience, (women solo travelers) needs a tool that will prioritize their safety when traveling solo.

How might we help solo-female travelers meet people and book their itineraries in a safe way?

Getting a user's perspective

After identifying our problem we began conducting user interviews. We crafted a discussion guide and interviewed 12 relevant participants. Our goal was to invalidate or validate our problem space and understand woman's experiences while traveling. After the interviews we synthesized our data into an affinity map to point out the main trends we noticed in our interviews.

Persona

After conducting user research we built a persona who encompasses our ideal user. We used our feedback from interviews to understand what Tiffany's pain points, frustrations, and goals are.

Meet Tiffany!

"Traveling alone as a woman makes me feel empowered"

Age: 26

Location: Boston

Occupation: Sr. Marketing Specialist

Tiffany is a Sr. marketing specialist in Boston who has experience traveling solo domestically but is ready to take the leap and go internationally. She is going on a 3-week excursion to Thailand and would love the opportunity to meet other people with who she can visit important landmarks and other activities. She is also open to doing things with a group of travelers who have similar interests to her. As long as she’s able to see as much as she can!

Goals

  • A way to meet a travel buddy who she knows has similar interests to her
  • To find group activities while solo
  • To see as much as possible while abroad

Needs

  • An awareness of cultural rules and guidelines
  • To know the places she's going will be safe
  • Navigational help and resources if something were to happen

Frustrations

  • Struggles to find people who want to do the same activities she does
  • Is nervous about traveling somewhere she doesn't know the language
  • Anxious about meeting new people in a new place

Understanding Our Problem

By completing our user interviews and synthesizing our research, we were able to revise our initial problem statement. Our original problem statement was validated after our research, so we revised what we originally wrote with our new found knowledge.

PROBLEM: Women are typically open to meeting people while traveling, but are hesitant at first due to safety concerns.
PERSONA: As a result, Tiffany doesn’t meet as many people as she’d like to while traveling solo.
GOAL: How might we help women like Tiffany connect with other travelers while avoiding potentially dangerous situations?

Research >> Design

[Turn into graphic]

Safe Travel» Emergency resources page with quick access that can help most situations

Connecting with other travelers » Social features with customizable profiles to give as much info as the user wants along with messaging and verified profiles.

Things to do » Activity planning with other users and user reviews and insights to different locations.

Navigation » Live map that shows users who is in the area, what there is to do in the area, what is safe, etc.

Starting our Design Process

Together we conducted a design studio to create quick sketches to help start the design process. We use these sketches to build out our low fidelity design so that we can visualize how content is going to be laid out on each page. This also helps us bring all our ideas to one conclusion.

Mid-Fidelity Design

Once design studio was completed, our team was able to digitize our priority features, into a mid fidelity mockup. The mid fidelity mockup only includes basic copy, which allows us to focus on the actual content for our first round of testing, and not color or typography. This saves time and resources, and allows us to better solve problems moving forward.

What Do Our (potential) Users Think?

After creating our mid-fidelity design, we began testing with users before creating the final design. This way we would be able to understand how users perceive and use our product before going ahead and finalize the design. We gathered 5 interviewees to use the product with four scenarios while announcing their behavior patterns and why they made the choices they did.

Usability Testing Script

Introduction

Hello, Thank for for taking the time to test our mid fidelity prototype. The purpose of this usability testing is to help us to better comprehend how users such as yourself navigate the user interface. Please keep in mind that this design is for preliminary testing, and not fully developed. We will use your feedback to iterate on our future designs for female solo travelers.

To complete this testing, we will have you walk through some simple tasks. We will time you, and please be sure to talk us through what your are choosing, and why. There is no right or wrong answer, just do what comes naturally.

Scenarios

Scenario 1: You just booked your trip to Thailand and you are curious what precautions they are taking for the coronavirus.

Scenario 2: You’re in Thailand and you think you are getting followed by a mysterious person.

Scenario 3: It’s your third day in Thailand and you want to find someone to go on a hike with.

Scenario 4 : You are interested in traveling to Southeast Asia and you want to check out who else is attending the trip.

Tasks

Task 1: Find the country guidelines section to read up on how they are handling the pandemic.

Task 2: Take out the app and call nearby law enforcement to disperse the situation.

Task 3: Find a travel buddy nearby to do the excursion with you. home

Task 4: Find one of the travelers and read about their interests, then send them a message to let them know you’re going too.

Results


Final Prototype

Prototype Link

The updated mobile app design is a high-fidelity prototype. A high-fidelity prototype will include color, typography, appropriate and relevant text, and more robust functionality. This prototype will include the design changes that were pulled from the mid-fidelity user tests.

Our final app is titled VoyageHer and allows users to

  • Book activities with users from the site
  • Set up their profile with photos and interests
  • Message other users and view their profiles
  • Find what and who they’re looking for on a live map
  • Access emergency resources if necessary

From our research, we found that these features would add more community and safety to the solo travel experience for womxn.

Usability Testing: Round Two

We conducted usability testing on our high fidelity version of Voyage Her so that we could see clearly what we improved from the first iteration and what we could add in the future. We used the same tasks and scenarios for this round so we can gauge if there was an decrease of time on task. We’re happy to say that there was and most of the users had a high success rate.

Results

Recommendations and next steps

Going forward with the project we would add more features, prototype more locations, create more ways for users to further verify their profiles, and work towards building a more inclusive application. After adding these things there would be more testing to do to see if we’re still taking VoyageHer in the right direction. As of now we have some features we want to build ready to be tested.