YELP TRIPS

Companion Travel App for the Yelp Brand

THE CHALLENGE

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:

  • itinerary planning

  • recording experiences

  • booking flights

 

 

THE APPROACH

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.

 

 

THE RESULT

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.

DAY 1
DAY 2
DAY 3

MY ROLE

Research

Wireframing

Interaction Design

Visual Design

Prototyping

METHODS

User Interviews

Affinity Diagramming

Competitive Analysis

Contextual Inquiry

User Stories & Flows

Personas

Sketching & Wireframes

TOOLS

Sketch App

Flinto

Post-Its

Whiteboard

Paper & Pen

 

DELIVERABLES

Executive presentation

High-level personas

Wireframes

App map

High Fidelity Mockups

Interactive prototype

Easy Itinerary Planning
with automated travel suggestions based on preferences.
 
USER INTERVIEWS

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. 

Affinity Diagramming
Collaborating
Identifying Personas
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COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

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.

CONTEXTUAL INQUIRY

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.

Trip Advisor
https://youtu.be/4PnJQVzroRU
https://youtu.be/ACLY2S0Nia4
Kayak
https://youtu.be/12Il--47R6k
https://youtu.be/mSxFsrVgWqU
Google Flights
https://youtu.be/OlyA0_zBQaw
Southwest
https://youtu.be/pyluJ44EboI
Show More
USER STORIES

As a spontaneous person, I want to book travel easily with no-hassle, so that I can enjoy adventurous and fun travel.

PRIMARY
PERSONA

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.

SECONDARY
PERSONA

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.

SECONDARY
PERSONA
PERSONAS

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.

Primary Persona
Non-Planner

"Travel should be stress-free. I like adventure and exploring out of the way places."​

 

-Mike

 

Meet Mike

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.​​

Goals:

  • To go on adventurous trips closer to nature

  • Freedom and flexibility

  • Enjoy a low-stress vacation   

  • Leisure trips
     

Frustration:

  • 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

  • Travel logistics
     

Preferred Channels:

  • Word of mouth

  • Gathering information from friends and family

  • Relies heavily on reviews

  • Uses apps for browsing

  • Looks at photos and videos on phone

Need/Task:

  • 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

 

Motivation:

  • Seeks authenticity
    / local experiences

  • Stress relief

  • Restorative

  • Reflect values

  • Laid back

  • Prefers to rest
    and have fun

  • Enjoys spontaneous
    travel

 

Preferred Tech:

  • Instagram

  • Yelp

  • Snapchat

  • iPhone

  • Google Flights

  • Google searches 

  • Bands in Town

Secondary Persona
Planner

"A well-planned trip will be less stressful and more efficient."
 

-Jess

Meet Jess

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.

Goals:

  • 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

  • Punctuality  ​
     

Frustration:

  • Dislikes booking and Scheduling

  • Finds hard to compare options

  • Likes short flights (Short layovers)

  • Lack of planning cause problems

  • Delays

  • No recall ​
     

Preferred Channels:

  • Reads travel bloggers

  • Uses travel apps

Need/Task:

  • Likes to read and write reviews

  • Open to free and paid attractions

  • Flexibility

  • 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​

 

Motivation:

  • Likes to take a break to get away and relax

  • Loves try different type of foods

  • Enjoys planning

 

Preferred Tech:

  • Booking on computer

  • Hotels.com

 
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.

 
SKETCHING

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.

WIREFRAMES

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.

1/2
 

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
 

USABILITY TESTING

With our prototype, we were able to test 5 users. Overall we discovered 2 areas of priority where users had significant difficulty.

 

Small Icons

Before

Iterated

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

Before

Iterated

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.

Collaborating