An application helping people explore new locations

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While desktop still brings in greater overall sales, many travel arrangements are now made on mobile devices. We all want to explore more, but sometimes it takes quite a lot of time to plan trips. I explored the problem space within the area of making last minute bookings and created a solution based on my research findings. 

Nomad is a mobile application which aims to help people make travel arrangements at short notice and discover new places in the process.

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The first step is to understand the problem which I'm trying to solve by empathising and understanding the users. This ensures that my solutions are not based on assumptions.

Empathy is crucial to understanding the users in every project, but it was even more important in this project, as my research would shape it's entire direction, as I did not have a clear product defined by the brief.



I created a proto-persona to help me think about the potential user and to brainstorm what he/she might be like. I used it to begin empathising with the user straight away and to move beyond the term of 'user'. This would help me understand and ultimately solve their pain points. 



I synthesised my findings from research on post-it notes and then created an empathy map. It's worth noting that some of the pain points discovered in research would not be able to tackle such as the cost of travel and a number of disposable income participants have.

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My research goal was simple: to understand the pain points of my users. The remote users were selected randomly and the face-to-face interviews were conducted and recorded using Quicktime. In all cases, the participants fit the target user profile.

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Talking to real people enabled me to clarify the persona and determine the characteristics of the user. It provided me with a reference point throughout the rest of the project as it contained insight from my research. Mapping out the pain points in a customer journey map highlights the pain points in relationship to each stage the user goes through whilst making travel plans. This helped me think about my own user journey.


I highlighted the pain points I would consider throughout my ideation process:

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The ideation process began with creating as many ideas a possible, with pen and paper, regardless of their feasibility. 

As part of my design sprint, I used a method called ‘Crazy Eights’s’ for about four hours.

I considered both the booking and onboarding flow when addressing the pain points.

Here are some examples:



A ‘how might we’ exercise also helped me frame the problem which I would provide a solution to:

“How might we help people discover new places to explore on their limited budgets and travel dates?”

I created user stories to determine primary product features and I determined the user flow which I would be focusing on with my ideation.




I first created my wireframes using pen and paper. I then created digital versions in Sketch, using the material design template for speed. I uploaded my wireframes to InVision using the Craft plugin.

Early digital version: Onboarding


Early digital version: Searching and booking



I conducted usability testing using an InVision prototype. The remote users were selected randomly and the observational tests were recorded using Quicktime. In all cases, the participants fit the target user profile.

 The most valuable testing method was the observational research, as it allowed me to view how the product worked as a whole with the user in control. The other testing methods were helpful in answering simple questions and to confirm understanding.

In most cases, changes were as simple as adding an extra screen or changing some words around. However, during the process, some more serious issues were highlighted which I was able to change and test again.

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Many iterations were made following usability testing. Here are two examples:



I began with a mood board which began by looking on Pinterest for inspiration and then creating a moodboard on InVison. I wanted the product to both suit the target user and also reflect the nature of the product. As my research highlighted the importance of images to users, I wanted to make use of rich images, and consequently, lots of whitespace would be needed throughout the rest of the interface to create space and balance.


I then tested my higher fidelity prototypes again with two more users to watch their interaction with the product and iterated again.


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Below are two example screens demonstrating how I tried to address the pain points with the design which was developed through iteration. 

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Overall I think nomad was a success.  

I think most of the pain points highlighted by research could be alleviated with the product and the user can learn about new locations and make bookings easily.

I believe it also has a lot of room for development, both with existing and potential features. I think the areas which require more development are the social media integration and I think I could improve the way users learn about a location.


I learned a lot about the value of testing and iteration. It really helped me to develop my design based on user feedback, rather than what I thought it should do or preconceived notions about it should work. The number of iterations I made is reflective of my testing process and desire to improve.

Having a brief without a defined product helped me learn the value of research and improved my ability to pull out key pain points from lots of information. Spending time listening to users gave me insight into some interesting pain points and inspired me to solve them the best way I could.

I also improved my workflow a lot during this project, and my speed of iterating increased accordingly.


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