Conde Nast Traveller has a reputation in providing high quality and unique travel experiences. However, the current travel app is not succeeding in the market currently. This project focused on the process of using the CNTraveller characteristics and developing a new app that would meet the high standard of the brand and also expand the market base of users.
Conde Nast Traveller
UX Researcher/UI Designer
Sketch, Photoshop, Balsamiq, Invision, Marvel (Pop)
User Research, Personas, User Flow, Wireframes, Prototypes, High Fidelity Mockups
RESEARCH & EMPATHIZE
The research phase of the project included both quantitative and qualitative research. I made it a priority to gather as much information as possible on the brand, industry, and app market before starting to design any functional or visual designs. During this process I conducted brand research, secondary research, competitive analysis, in-person interview, and surveys.
The initial research began by reading up on the Conde Nast, Conde Nast Traveller, and Conde Nast Traveler brand. I found that the Conde Nast Traveller and Conde Nast Traveler were two separate brands and marketed to two different demographics. This helped me narrow down my scope to Conde Nast Traveller, which focuses on US demographics and travelers.
After familiarizing myself with the brand and company, I moved on to study the travel market, travelers, and the mobile app market.Understanding the travel market and the travel app market helped me further narrow down the scope of the user type and their preferences. This information was used to create the initial provisional personas.
Key Brand and Secondary Research Takeaways:
- Women make 80% of the travel arrangements.
Although there are still people who prefer to take travel books and printouts on trips - most women in the 25 to 35 y/o demographic take their phones for planning and referring to when traveling.
- Millennials are prioritizing travel and experiences above most materialistic comforts.
- Millennials ages 18-35 were the core users of travel cell phones and apps were widely used to plan a trip and during a trip
I conducted a competitor analysis to better understand the travel market and the travel app market. I focused on identifying the key features of each product as well as the SWOT for the most popular resources.
This information helped me generate a list of basic feature requirements for my app. I also discovered is that the majority of the products were designed for individual planning and booking. There were no products that allowed for multiple user interactions and decision making.
Based on the information collected through my research, I was able to narrow down the target users and arrange several interview appointments. I conducted 40-60 minute qualitative interviews. From the feedback I was able to confirm certain provisional persona traits and also discover that certain assumptions I made from my secondary research were incorrect.
Key Interview Takeaways:
- While some interviewees were elaborate planners, others were very spontaneous with planning and booking
- Interviewees plan individually and then get input from travel companion(s) was common
- Interviewees wanted a detailed yet flexible schedule with input from locals
- Interviewees enjoy the historical significance and authentic experiences traveling offers
I interviewed several individuals that fit the demographic and also follow up surveys. I additionally sent out surveys to key demographic participants to get greater quantitative feedback on their travel habits and experiences. I was recommended to use MTurk services to survey a greater sample varied group of individuals to gain a better understanding of the target users in reference to the entire market.
DEFINE & IDEATE
With the vast amount of information collected in the first stage of the process, I started analyzing the information gathered through an information synthesis analysis which I used to create personas and then write story/make a story board to gain a deeper understanding of the users journey.
The qualitative information was written down on post its and arranged in categories. I added colorful sticky notes to indicate ideas that could be incorporated into design as well as summarizing the key points. The notes were arranged with other notes of similar topic and the category was then titled. I wrote down ideas in a separate color and posted each one close to the quote or batch. Upon completion of the chart I had a clearer idea of the travel process, from booking through the end of the trip. I also understood the challenges and found opportunities to solve them.
I created personas representative of the main users of my product. In the early stages of the project I created provisional personas based on the brand and secondary market research information. Later, I used the surveys, in person interviews, and market research to further elaborate on provisional personas and turn them into the ‘standard’ representative user.
TRANSLATING CONCEPTS INTO UI
With the plethora of data gathered and synthesized, it becomes important to create the functionality and capture the feel the product should carry. My user centered process filtered the data and functionality of the app through the personas created. At each step of the the design I would consider how the user might respond and interact with the app.
To create the brand logo and the product design, I used various methods including: competitive visual analysis, style tiles, mind-mapping, and sketching. I also took the personas into account constantly referring back and considered what they would like in terms of functionality and aesthetics.
I created a site map with user flows with the list of features collected from the competitive research and some of the categorization and labeling from Conde Nast Traveller. The sitemap incorporates the 3-click hierarchy, Miller’s law, and Hick’s law to ensure usability standards are maintained.
MID-FIDELITY MOCKUPS IN BALSAMIQ
The next step was to put these ideas into Balsamiq. Having already tested the wireframe design with my sketches enabled me to quickly create mid-fidelity mockups incorporating some of the branding and additional feature details. Balsamiq prototyping proved to be an efficient way to test and revise the such details as proportion, layout, and aesthetics before going onto high-fidelity mockups.
HIGH-FIDELITY MOCKUPS IN SKETCH - PARTIAL FLOW 1
Using Sketch, I was able to efficiently recreate the designs from Balsamiq. Having already tested the layout and function details, Sketch was used to incorporate the final images and finalize aesthetic details.
The final UI kit varies from the first one. This one includes the changes made after testing and accounting for user preferences. This is a simplified version of the kit.
I conducted usability testing in Invision with seven users. The results were positive but there were a few concerns that required reiteration. For example, some of the fonts sizes were too small to read comfortably. I was able to select a few sizes that were easier to read and update all the screens to ensure readability. There were also a few icons that were confusing that I was able to rework. Overall, the test proved the designs were easy to understand and use.
This project turned into a great learning experience on how to deconstruct and build up processes for multiple individuals and mindsets. I went into this project using a very linear approach. However, the research directed me to consider numerous mindsets and approaches to planning. Being able to find a solution and create it into an app was very rewarding.
Going forward with this project would greatly depend on the testing. The data collected will point to further design updates, modifications, or feature expansions. There will also be a need to expand into the android market and adapt the current design for the new screen sizes. There is always room to improve and reiterate each design to ensure the highest possible content and quality for each traveler.