"Sol" Travel Planning App - Part 1

The mobile app Sol is a travel app focused on some highlight features: planning trips, managing members and expenses, and tracking/sharing location. In facts, when traveling by groups, we often face some troubles: getting lost, confusing with plans, hard-communicating and the most challenging thing: managing expenses. This app provides some solutions to these problems

Introduction

The following case study is my first app design project. In this project, I have gone through the design process, including interviews, analysis, user flows, wireframes, prototyping, and user testing.
The mobile app Sol is a travel app focused on some highlight features: planning trips, managing members and expenses, and tracking/sharing location. In facts, when traveling by groups, we often face some troubles: getting lost, confusing with plans, hard-communicating and the most challenging thing: managing expenses. This app provides some solutions to these problems.

Target market

Potential users of this app are Global travelers who are young, hi-tech and love backpacking with groups of friends. Users will be connected by Social Network (first we will try with Facebook, the most famous Social Network), they can find location and track their friends while traveling using map in-app. They can also send STOP notification to their groups when they have trouble while moving.

User Research

Interview

To understand users’ needs, pain points and behaviors, I met and interviewed some people, who are young and loves travel. Through these interviews, I gathered some information, mainly about the troubles they often encounter when travel by groups.

Survey Questions Asked:

  • How old are you?
  • What does your typical day look like?
  • What are some of the apps you use on a regular basis?
  • How often do you travel with friends?
  • Where are you most interested in traveling to next?
  • Tell me about the kinds of experiences and activities you like to do when traveling with friends.
  • How do you use your phone for travel?
  • While planning travel, or traveling, what do you want and need your travel apps to do for you?
  • What is your biggest pain point related to manage your trip planning and expenses during traveling?
  • Did you make something to manage your trip with friends easier?
  • How did you do?
  • What apps or sites do you usually go to for manage your trip?
  • What do you like or dislike about these other apps?
  • How can you find your group members while moving or getting lost?
  • Final questions, comments?

During these interviews, I found people enjoy because they love to travel, they love exploring new places. They have to face some typical problems while going on a trip with their friends, about managing plans, expenses and location. And, this was how I started my project.

Personas

Using my interviews I combined my findings to create three personas that would be typical users of Sol.

Problems

  • Users get lost while moving, they must exit maps to call their friends/group members.
  • Manage expenses and spending details.
  • Arrange the schedules to shorten moving time.

Solutions

  • Allows users to push STOP notifications to their groups when they have troubles while moving.
  • Allows users to call their group admin.
  • Allows users to input details of expense and calculate final spending.
  • Allows users to view destinations on maps to arrange their trips.

Main Features

  • Track Member Location.
  • Plan Trips.
  • Manage Expenses.
  • Make cellular in-app.
  • Notify members when user STOPs.

User Flows and Wireframes

User Flows

After defining users’ needs and pain points and listing some main features, I draw user flows and wireframes for better visualization of these features. Understanding users’ needs and behavior, I found it easier to list actions and connect them to become a flow.

This is a draw of main features flow of this app. There were four main segments: member, journey, expense, and summary. The key points were users could track their group members’ location, and get directions without exit the app to open Google Maps. Therefore, a map in-app was necessary.

Wireframe

How can we put a map and other features into an app? I had reference from Google maps app and other tracking location apps, as well as trending elements and gave out a solution.
I used Whimsical to draw wireframe. This tool is simple and has various elements which helped me to explain my ideas & solutions in details.

I decided to use a bottom sheet over map therefore users can use map to define their location or track friend, get direction anytime.
In this screen, users can see all groups they are in, create a new group and choose to share location with these groups or not separately.
In each group, I divided the screen into four segments: Members, Journey, Expenses, and Summary.

In Members segment, users can add their friends to the group. Sol will ask users for permission to access their Facebook friend list. If their friends haven’t used Sol yet, they can invite them to join by sharing a link.
The main feature here is tracking location. When users swipe down “…”, they can see their members symbols on the map (Screen 3). By clicking on any member, users can also get directly to his location. However, their friends must turn on sharing location to your group.
Users can call this group member directly without switching app by clicking on Call button.

Segment Journey is a trip planning, in which users can create plan destination, set location, time. After adding a destination, all the destinations will be marked on the map, and users can review all their plan to rearrange their trips to shorten moving time.
Users can get directions to the destination by the similar way as tracking member’s location. Besides, there is a STOP button, which helps a user to tell their group members to STOP or wait for him if he has trouble while moving.

One of the main features of this app is expenses management. This is also the most complicated problem for a group of friends after traveling. Here is my solution to make it much easier. During the trip, users add data after each expense, including payer, amount, the number of members and spending detail of each. After all, Sol app will calculate how much a user has spent on the trip, how much a user will be paid back.

The last segment, Summary shows all about trips information about the trips, total spending, where they have been and Expense of each member.

Prototype

Conclusion

This is my first time doing a UX project and I found it interesting to learn about people thinking and behavior. Talking to people to understand them helped me a lot to design an app, which is helpful and easy to reach. Next time, I will say more about how I design UI and prototype for my app.

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