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Shaping a Travel Platform and a Community for Offbeat Travel and Discovery

The creation of an ultimate offbeat travel platform in the form of a mobile app that works on the simple mantra of discover, create, explore and share.

Every trip is a different experience for each individual and thus discovering places can engender varied emotions. It all starts with an urge to be somewhere we’re not! When Dusty Roads reached out to us they were a travel booking platform, however they were looking to create a niche for themselves which could set them apart from the rest of their competitors.

The challenge for us was to transform this travel booking mobile app into something people would want to engage, get inspired and discover new places, receive guidance, and much more through an influential, user-friendly platform.

‘The World is Yours to Explore!’

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Every trip is a different experience for each individual and thus discovering places can engender varied emotions. It all starts with an urge to be somewhere we’re not! When Dusty Roads reached out to us they were a travel booking platform, however they were looking to create a niche for themselves which could set them apart from the rest of their competitors.

The challenge for us was to transform this travel booking mobile app into something people would want to engage, get inspired and discover new places, receive guidance, and much more through an influential, user-friendly platform.

‘The World is Yours to Explore!’

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Design Objective

To create something more than just a travel platform, our objective was to gain more clarity on what a traveler would want to see/get inspired by, to travel. And for obtaining these details our plan included reaching out to potential users, identifying their travel habits and understanding their decision-making points; through a series of user interviews. This research involved the following aspects:

  • Recognizing how people travel and how much information is needed to make a decision to travel.
  • Understanding what information or options are the travelers looking for, to make a decision.
  • Spotting users' pain points while making travel decisions.
  • Knowing how much time users spent on making the travel decisions.
  • Identifying what can set the brand apart from the competitors.
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Our Process

Research
  • Interviewed a bunch of bikers, road trippers, trekkers, solo travelers to understand their planning journey.
  • Interacted with both parties- people who have traveled to various places as well as people who are looking to explore.
  • Conducted multiple workshops with the client to work mutually.
  • Group plans are difficult to manage and having a single place or platform to plan the various aspects (different travel options, accessibility, accommodation, routes, etc.) together, was completely missing.
Discovery
  • People like to hear about other travelers’ experiences and travelers were looking for non-commercial travel experience and guidance.
  • Research helped to gain understanding on what options and guidance people look for during offbeat travel. We realized that people who helped others with their travel stories, felt a sense of joy and pride about sharing their experience. These travelers also wanted to share their stories and help anyone who wants to go on such offbeat locations, which inspired us to create a social network of travelers.
Implementation
  • Design thought process now was to create a social travel platform other than just a booking portal. We practiced paper prototyping as well as high-fidelity prototyping to gather validation for our designs.
  • This was followed by validating these screens through user testing to verify travelers’ mental models.
  • We then determined design intention for app navigation and user flow taking into consideration the multiple types of travelers- solo travelers, group travelers, trekkers, bikers, etc.

Outcomes

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Outcomes

The goal of creating an ultimate social travel platform was achieved through a thorough research and observation at user behavior and feedback; to ensure that the design experience is inspirational, and user-friendly:

  • The interface has been designed with an intention and flow for each section that states- get inspired, get moving, create a plan, be informed, join the community.
  • Modular home screen structure with cards has been used to add various kinds of content for the user. Over a period of time, this content would be customized based on usage, making the design extremely user-centric.
  • The app usage flexibility enables users to make a choice to either create a plan or choose from an existing one.
  • The intention for the design and experience of this app was to build a community and social space for travelers, and this has been established through the ‘Community Chat' and ‘Travelogue’ section.
  • The design intervention helped achieve a seamless experience for users by facilitating different travel plans and guidance in an extremely user-friendly manner.

Inspirational Social Travel Platform with a User-Friendly Mobile App Interface

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Inspirational Social Travel Platform with a User-Friendly Mobile App Interface

  • The home screen was designed with the idea to inspire the user to travel. Modular home screen structure with cards would gradually be customized based on the usage, thus making the app very user-centric. The idea for the following pages was to facilitate user action- to help the user create a plan based on their individual preferences thus imparting a sense of complete travel-plan control to the user.
  • The interface includes a question-answer section wherein users can interact with other users (travelers) to make the right decision for their travel plans thus reflecting a sense of freedom and transparency to users. A ‘social space’ for travelers has been made a part of the interface with an intention to ‘share or get inspired’; where travelers can share their stories, travel photos, etc. by which others can get inspired and receive the necessary travel guidance and tips.

Impact

Business Impact

  • The establishment of a travel guide platform with a community for travelers, created a niche for the brand and also set it apart from the competitors. The redesign transformed a booking app into a platform for social networking and planning which leads into booking and monetisation opportunities. Influential, user-friendly and enhanced design experience revamped the brand value.
  • The app performance matched the users’ expectation from a travel platform thus gaining satisfied user reviews. The intention of creating a travelers community and social space resulted in obtaining multiple new users through referrals.

User Impact

  • The interface matches the real life experience and the mental model of different travelers, hence users want to keep coming back to the app and spend time on this new, enhanced travel platform. The interface imparted a sense of happiness that is encouraging for people to travel, explore, share their travel stories and learn from others' travel experiences.
  • Users enjoyed the experience of the app, and found the platform, services and processes interesting and useful. User-friendly and seamless flow of the app enabled users to take actions easily and quickly.

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