Companion Travel App for the Yelp Brand
How can we make travel fun, easy and less-stressful for travelers with an intuitive interface and useful, robust features?
My team was tasked with envisioning a way to help Yelp expand their services and increase user engagement by appealing to travelers.
Our task was to create features for:
Let's consult the experts -- our users! We researched, created concepts, and iterated to push the boundaries of what was possible.
Gathering an in-depth understanding of how people plan their travel experiences was key to our process. Yelp has a treasure trove of reviews and information accessible for their local customers. We wanted to utilize that powerhouse capability that already existed with Yelp.
Meet Yelp Trips, a dedicated travel app that is a companion to the Yelp app with a unique and integrated feature set that is truly one of a kind!
Creating a separate travel app with specialized features will aid in automating travel planning through itinerary generation based on user preferences and quality reviews. Yelp Trips will also be the first travel app of its kind that will record experiences in a social sharing platform. Users can view the trips of fellow travelers and book those same experiences, creating a one of a kind app on the market today.
User Stories & Flows
Sketching & Wireframes
Paper & Pen
High Fidelity Mockups
Easy Itinerary Planning
with automated travel suggestions based on preferences.
Our team met together and developed a Testing Screener to determine who might make a good interview participant. From there we crafted our interview questions and then we each recruited participants.
I interviewed 7 individuals who had some experience with travel. In total, my team interviewed 10 participants over the course of 2 days.
Then we analyzed our top 3 observations from each interview and together we mapped our key data points.
Our team determined 2 major competitors based on feedback from our interview participants and market research. Then we found a third competitor that was unique in the industry for it's itinerary planning feature set.
At the conclusion of our time with our interview participants, we asked them if they had any travel apps on their phones. Then we paired them with a friend and asked them to record a scenario of booking a flight, hotel or attraction experience. You can view these inquiries on YouTube. Then we used this data to inform our design and interaction decisions for the new Yelp travel app.
As a spontaneous person, I want to book travel easily with no-hassle, so that I can enjoy adventurous and fun travel.
As a type-A person, I want to meticulously plan all of my travel accommodations, so that I don’t have to stress about anything on vacation and don’t run out of things to do.
As a dreamer, I want to scroll through all of the options for wonderful vacation destinations and save them in one place, so that I can book them when I am ready to travel.
Developing personas was an important step to understanding our user and developing and design our app. We continued to use our data points to build a primary and secondary persona and landed on two distinct types of travelers, planners and non-planners.
"Travel should be stress-free. I like adventure and exploring out of the way places."
Mike enjoys traveling with friends and exploring new places. He wants to book the basics and wing the rest. He yearns to find hidden gems and out of the way places. A great vacation for Mike includes meeting new people and experiencing the culture.
To go on adventurous trips closer to nature
Freedom and flexibility
Enjoy a low-stress vacation
Dislikes the journey of getting to destinations
Lack of filters to aid in finding important information
Traveling is stressful (Planning and booking)
Lack of recall
Delays are annoying
Hard to save flight information
Word of mouth
Gathering information from friends and family
Relies heavily on reviews
Uses apps for browsing
Looks at photos and videos on phone
Likes visiting new places
Looks for hidden gems in different cities
Ratings and reviews to inform his decision
Loves to explore but dislikes the guided tours
/ local experiences
Prefers to rest
and have fun
Bands in Town
"A well-planned trip will be less stressful and more efficient."
Jess loves to plan and dream about places she will visit on vacation but finds the booking process a hassle. Her vacations are packed with activities. While she is on her trip she captures memories with lots of pictures, but they stay on her camera which is a bummer.
Travel time should be efficient with quality and safety kept in mind
Like to plan stress-free travel design full of itinerary with pricing kept in mind
Dislikes booking and Scheduling
Finds hard to compare options
Likes short flights (Short layovers)
Lack of planning cause problems
Reads travel bloggers
Uses travel apps
Likes to read and write reviews
Open to free and paid attractions
Loves to plan a dream board and open to options
Takes pictures and videos to record experiences but doesn't know what to do with it
Books car rentals
Likes to take a break to get away and relax
Loves try different type of foods
Booking on computer
USER FLOW & APP MAP
Our team worked together to envision how our personas "Mike" and "Jess" would use the new Yelp features. Then we developed user flows for both personas and outlined our app map.
With our personas in hand, we set out to do some sketching. Our process was to sketch independently and then come together and share, critique, and sketch as a team.
After sketching, our team broke down feature sets of the app for wireframing. Here are a few samples of wireframes I was responsible for completing on my team.
Our team used a tool called Flinto, which is a prototyping tool that allows you to do advanced animations and scrolling effects. A central feature of our app was our itinerary. We determined it would be difficult to achieve good usability testing without having a prototype that allowed the user to see the scroll effect on the itinerary feature for ease of planning. In the 10-day scope of our project, it was a big sacrifice of time to put into the prototyping phase, but the results were worth it for the data we were able to gain from our testing.
Tell your TRAVEL STORY
& book experiences others' have traveled.
When we came back together as a team, we quickly learned we needed to bring consistency to our app across all of its new feature sets. Although we were designing a companion app, it had to represent and feel like the Yelp brand. We discovered inconsistencies between our wireframes and with our new app and the Yelp brand. We needed that central truth to guide our decision making, and I took on the role as an advocate for consistency in style, interactions, and brand on our team.
Some of our changes were very small and detailed but it made the app feel much more consistent with Yelp's brand. We followed the Yelp logo, font, and color brand standards and used their other components as a jumping off point for building a style guide and our visual designs.
STYLEGUIDE FOR YELP TRIPS
With our prototype, we were able to test 5 users. Overall we discovered 2 areas of priority where users had significant difficulty.
We discovered our icons were too small and close, so reworked these screens and reworked this page for easier navigation, removed some icons and moved them to the "more options" dot bar navigation.
Understanding the Stories Feature
Recording stories, especially in a travel app, was a new concept to most of our users. Our camera icon was too vague and the industry standard profile pic and plus sign icon for writing social stories was insufficient. We changed the icon, the placement and added labels.
We also added an intro page upon launch of the camera.