Project Description: My capstone team and I were challenged to re-imagine the post-pandemic international travel experience for people ages 20-30. COVID-19 impacted every person in every industry and our goal was to support a safe, comfortable, return to travel.
With this goal in mind, we created Numi, an interactive travel experience complete with a mobile application and an interactive travel lounge. Our application features an interactive travel preferences quiz, a budgeting tool, saved trip bundles, and syncs with our in-airport lounge space. The lounge space, or Numi Room, is an in-airport oasis that provides a safe, clean space to review vacation plans, grab a bite, or store luggage.
My Role: Lead UX researcher, Co-UX designer
Duration: January 2021 – June 2021
View our video pitch below
Check out our team process blog!!!!
After conducting our secondary research to familiarize ourselves with the travel industry, our team identified six key research questions to guide our process:
- What information will post-pandemic travelers need to know to travel comfortably?
- What do people need to feel safe traveling (including people with pre-existing conditions)?
- What are users’ attitudes about current and future travel?
- What are users’ motivations for current and future travel?
To answer these questions, our team deployed a 15 question survey and conducted 13 traveler interviews.
Our survey was composed of a screening section, a quantitative section, and a qualitative section. Through disseminating our survey across all our social platforms, Facebook groups, and Reddit, 171 travelers responded to our survey, 120 of who fell into our age range. To analyze this data, we created an affinity diagram to uncover the main themes
- Travelers would like to be more informed surrounding vaccination rates, social distancing policies, airline policies, and country statistics to feel safe when traveling.
- Travelers are feeling hesitant to travel and are postponing/cancelling travel plans
- Family is a large factor in traveling/ not traveling
- Traveler’s perception of others’ behavior plays a large role in how they think about travel at large
View our survey here
Informed by our survey insights, we took a deeper dive into people’s motivations and attitudes towards travel. Within these interviews, we asked about traveler’s previous travel habits, current travel attitudes, and visions for future travel. Due to the speculative nature of our project, we leveraged a participatory design approach in combination with a semi-structured interview format. The final section of our interview prompted travelers to draw what they hoped the future of travel would look like.
After qualitative coding and thematic analysis, it became clear that travelers are
- Concerned about personal Health and Safety
- Getting Vaccinated
- Hesitant to be in close proximity to others
- Excited by the possibilities of future travel
- Speculative Travel Audit
To supplement our traveler research, our team took a deep dive into the industry response to Covid-19 and the implications for future travel innovation. Covid-19 has introduced novel pain points in almost every aspect of the travel industry. The constant uncertainty of the pandemic has prompted people to rebook and cancel travel more than ever before. Travel companies have created flexible booking policies and pandemic insurance to rein-still people’s confidence in travel. A movement towards transparency and travel alerts allows travelers to be prepared for longer lines, and wait times during their travel journey. Even once travelers make it to the airport, train station or travel space, social distancing recommendations have left people wary of existing in public spaces. In response, these spaces have been reconfigured to allow pod based distancing, and increased cleaning protocols. Newer airport terminals are being built with more windows for natural lighting and a more spacious feel.
This research allowed our team to identify and support how the travel industry has adapted to meet the needs of a pandemic traveler, and inspired us to push our solutions for post pandemic travelers.
With our user research and market research, our team created personas and a user journey map to consolidate and display our findings.
Within our user research we noticed two types of travelers, experienced and non-experienced travelers.
We chose to move forward to a user journey map of our non-experienced traveler because these travelers have the most anxieties and pain points to address. If our solution addresses the non-experienced traveler, it will provide additional functionality that may also support a more experienced traveler when needed. Our user journey map highlights the high and low comfort moments of a travel experience in addition to outlining pain points.
Our personas and user journey map allowed us to visualize all of our research insights and get on the same page with our stakeholder.
These visual assets allowed us to translate our research into design requirements for our solution. Our design requirements are as follows:
Through a collaborative affinity diagram sprint, our team ideated a mobile application that would interact and exist within a physical space to be continuous support throughout the entire travel experience. We recruited a talented architecture student to advise and assist us with bringing the lounge space to life. This decision was backed by the growing traveler anxiety surrounding shared travel spaces, and the opportunity to create a customizable, clean and flexible, travel experience.
To visualize several key features of our solution, our team each storyboarded different possible scenarios a traveler might encounter, and how our solution would address it. My storyboard shows what happens when there was a change in itinerary and is shown below.
To begin building the application we mapped out user flows for key tasks including making an account, planning a trip, and booking an excursion, and making a reservation at our in-airport lounge. We took each of these flows down to the granular level to identify which key components would need to be designed.
With these key scenarios in mind, we mapped out the intricacies of the information architecture of our application. This flow demonstrates the hierarchy of all of the pages, and where each functionality would live. This step was very important to our work, as we had many design requirements to address and wanted to make sure all of the features connected in a logical concise way.
We were able to reference and modify this diagram frequently, and it served as our guide in building our low fidelity prototype!
Our team used Figma to wireframed each user flow and page shown above. We also included any additional features that would be important to test, such as a seat selection for the lounge. At this phase, I was the lead designer on the onboarding quiz, account creation and settings flow. I additionally contributed to the budgeting tool and space reservation feature.
View our low-fidelity prototype
Our team leveraged Usertesting.com and Maze.com to test our prototype. In correspondence with our design requirements, we asked participants to complete three basic tests
- Create an account
- Book a trip to London
- Reserve a spot in the lounge
- Find an excursion to the London Eye
Our metrics were effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction and are collected in the methods displayed in the chart below.
View full usability testing plan
From this testing, we noticed we needed to
The vision for high fidelity prototyping was to create an engaging, electric, younger cousin to our sponsors brand. We decided to name our product ” numi ” a shortened version of the word “Numinous”.
num-in-ous: describing an experience that makes you fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted; the powerful, personal feeling of being overwhelmed and inspired
This word incapsulated how we want travelers to feel when interacting with our product. Within our user group, the majority uses “dark mode” for most of their applications, so we decided to take that route with the whole app. In reality, Numi would allow users to choose if they want “dark” or “light” mode. As for illustrations, we had each 3D illustration and icon reflect our brand colors. As for our interactions, we focused on each button and its purpose to maintain a consistent interaction when a user touches, drags or holds onto a touchpoint on the application. After finalizing our design system and style guidelines, we created a brand book that kept things consistent as we continued forward with the high-fidelity prototype.
We applied this branding guide to our high fidelity prototype!
I’ve highlighted some of my favorite screens from the interactive travel quiz below.
Brownie points: Table Interface + Lounge Space
In order to bring our application into the airport space, we collaborated with a talented architect to create an interactive table for our lounge space. Covid-19 has changed the way we interact with a space, and one of our goals on this project was to create an experience beyond just our application.
Over the course of this project I feel I have learned so much, and I am so grateful for my teammates.
I started off our capstone as project manager of Milestone 1, our research milestone. During this time, we were having trouble getting the project off the ground. We were delayed in sending out our survey, and were really pressed for time in the end. As a project manager, I felt like I failed my team. We asked for our first project extension, and I asked for my first extension on an assignment in my entire college career. After reflecting, I realized this is what my team needed to deliver the best possible result, and that there was no shame in asking for help when you need it. At this point, I learned the importance of time management. If I could go back and change how I approached this module, I would have built more time into our schedule for possible slow-downs. I wish I had known how difficult it would be to get our project off the ground, and that we would be doing our own research with very little assistance from our sponsor.
In Milestone 2, I was happy to relinquish my role as project manager. At this point, we thought we were done with research. However, I felt it in my gut that we still had some things to learn. I brought this up to my team, and it turns out we all felt the same way. I reached out to my user research professor, Alan Marks, for advice on next steps. We had a meeting with Alan, and he was very helpful in suggesting we learn more about the travel industry from a marketing perspective. This meeting resulted in us restructuring our second milestone deliverables to include market research. As an HCDE student, market research was something I had minimal experience with, so I was unsure where to begin. After learning more about market research, our team got to work. Through this method I got the opportunity to research future travel innovations and present them to my team. I felt inspired reading about all of the forward looking creative travel solutions. I’ve always found it hard to know when I have enough data to make the jump from research to design. Our team refers to this milestone as a scrappy milestone because it was composed of the most methods we were unfamiliar with and it felt like we were scrambling to fill our research voids.
In Milestone 3, I feel like I learned the most. We moved at a rapid pace and absolutely blazed through deliverables. I know my design skills are still developing, and I was happy to learn new figma shortcuts from my team! In this milestone, I learned to try not to boil the ocean. After our ideation, we had a lot of ideas and I was an advocate of doing it all. I wanted to create an interactive table, an interactive wall installation, an entire application revamp, and an airport lounge. I quickly realized that this was too much to tackle. I created a prioritization ranking and reviewed our research outcomes to indicate which deliverable was most important. If I was to do this milestone again, I would prioritize deliverables from the beginning instead of trying to do everything all at once.
By Milestone 4, I felt exhausted. We had done so much work by this point, and I felt entirely out of my element. I wish I had known just how much work I had to put into this project to get the outcome I wanted. I likely would have taken a much lighter course load. However, this milestone we got to see everything come together. I was super excited to consult with an architecture student about a possible airport lounge layout and to work with a videographer to shoot our product video. I had the opportunity to take on a new role as a designer, an actress for our video. It was a lot of fun to bring our vision to life, and get to step into a different career for a day. One thing I wish we did better was communicate our expectations with our collaborators. Our video went way over budget, and I tried to negotiate with out videographer because we weren’t informed it would be as much as it was. However, he said he didn’t understand how much work it would be. My biggest learning from this milestone was the importance of clear communication with collaborators.
Overall, I am really proud of my contributions to this project. From being the project manager for the research milestone, to facilitating usability testing, to co-designing the application, to acting in the video. I feel this was a beautiful way to culminate a very impactful and important four years in HCDE!