Secret Squirrel: Ephemeral Experiences
UX Vision: Find fun and fleeting experiences worth writing home about, wherever you go.
During a one-week sprint, I created an app to solve one major problem for travelers: Finding activities and destinations they’ll remember long after their vacation tans fade.
I interviewed travelers about their habits, likes, and issues when visiting a new destination, as well as what they enjoy sharing with friends when they return. Each person I spoke with talked about how they search for activities in advance of their trips, but when plans change, they are often stuck in a lurch.
I conceptualized a solution that would address the need to find fun things to do without relying on listicles, texting and emailing others for suggestions, or web searches.
Andrea loves to travel and frequently travels with her boyfriend. However, sometimes she travels solo to visit friends and finds herself with extra time and is unsure how to fill it. When this happens, she gets overwhelmed by so many possibilities and can’t pick something to do. She wants to make plans that make great stories, since telling friends and family about exciting things she stumbled upon is one of her favorite parts of the experience. She needs a convenient way to pinpoint great options in real time that aren’t the kind of things that would be on common listicles.
Duration: 1 week
Process: Interviews, affinity mapping, ideation, sketching, usability testing, iterations, paper prototype, usability testing, iteration
Roles: UX Researcher, UX Designer, Usability Tester, UI Designer
Materials: Paper, pens, Post-Its, Pop app
Themes: Travel, discovery, exploration, ephemerality, new, location, social sharing, recommendations, speed, wisdom
I interviewed three participants, covering their travel habits, how and who plans activities during trips, what sorts of activities they enjoy doing, and what they dislike doing.
Regardless of travel partner(s), destination, and time spent on trip, each liked:
(1) cooking and shared food experiences
(2) telling stories of surprises they encountered along the way
(3) flexibility in plan-making
The factors affecting item 3 included (a) friends canceling and time appearing in their schedules, (b) children who may or may not feel up to established plans, and (c) not knowing if the traveler herself would be excited about the same things upon arrival.
Two of the three participants said they disliked tourist attractions no matter the destination, and the third mentioned she was frequently disappointed by those activities, though felt she needed to do them because of her children.
I focused on creating an app that would generate immediate recommendations for experiences worth writing home about, based on proximity to the traveler.
I also wanted to include a social rating system that allows users to recommend experiences via the app and social channels, and a way for planners to also find unique experiences.
- Added website on the more info section
- Made “More Info” an option on the same event screen, scrolling down rather than taking the user to a new page
- Changed “Book It” to “Let’s Do It” as the default language for reserving an experience, since some (like going to a cool place) don’t require booking a spot.
- Added step to isolate one category of experience once its icon is clicked.
- Testers were able to follow the flow through to choose the type of experience they wanted, then choose one experience and get more information before booking it.
- Adding in consistent menu options across the top added an element of continuity across each screen.
- Clearer navigation throughout app and categories
- Iterate on roulette feature