This is a side product that has done collaboratively with Mengyuan Tu in 2015. The goal is to streamline the decision making process when people are planning for their next trip.
We interviewed with a few of our friends who travelled recently and have done benchmarking studies on popular travel planning applications such as Tripso, Travel Butler and Urban Walks. What we were trying to understand is how do people make a series of decision from picking their travel destinations to come up with a list of places to visit.
Here's are the questions we asked:
- When was your last travel to a new place?
- How long was your vacation?
- How did you collect information about that place?
- How did you decide place(s) to go and/or things to do during your stay?
- What kind of information are most useful?
- What apps/blogs/platform you are using to plan your trip?
- People tend to make plans prior to the trip and stick with their plans. They see travel plans as a way to save their time and budget. (Travel plan is valuable and useful.)
- The way they make plans is to put together pieces of information from blog posts, travel notes or travel guide together in one central location. (Plan making is time-consuming and the experience is fragmented.)
- The photo is one of the predominant driver for people making their travel decisions on places to go, especially when it comes to natural sceneries and outdoor sightseeing. (Photo as an effective way of displaying travel information)
- People tend to decide the city/area to go to first and worry about specific places to visit after they book their flight tickets and find themselves a place to stay. (It's okay that the plan is loose and rough at the beginning.)
- People prefer to visit the places that are highly recommended by other travelers, especially the must-see places for the first time travelers. (Reviews by other travelers are crucial for making decisions)
To compose a trip plan, travelers need first explore and decide two things: where and when. To simplify the process, the application would first recommend things to do and places to see based on the chosen location/area, their ways of getting around that area and the amount time they would like to spend on touring. Travelers then can then either add, delete or edit their plans to minimize the upfront complexity of the planning.
We played with different ways of sequencing a guided experience of browsing, selecting and adjusting time and location that would allow travelers to go through the planning process gradually and clearly. We streamlined the process by limiting the amount of information users expose to at each step of their planning experience. We also take considerations into scenarios where travelers will travel to a number of destinations rather than a single destination.
How it works
1: Choose a country (countries)
The first step is to either browse a gallery of photos representing different countries or type in the name of the country they are interested in traveling to.
2: Choose a city (cities)
After the country has been selected, the option has been narrowed down to cities within that country. Cities are ranked based on the voting of its popularity from other travelers. Users are able to browse and select by tapping on the card of the city and also tap again to deselect. The number of cities has been selected are indicated at the bottom of the page.
3: Select arrive and depart time for each city
Use calendar date picker to block days to stay for each selected city. This step can be skipped and users can come back and change through the settings.
4. Adjust plan intelligently or/and manually
The application has gathered user information about their travel styles and transportation mediums. The north start plan is enabling an intelligent recommendation service that automatically optimizes the most time efficient way of touring by grouping places based on their geographic locations and traveler's chosen travel style. It can then also calculate the time for commuting between places based on their chosen ways of touring. Travelers can also choose to manually adjust dates, cities and places.
5. Travel plan reminder and big day count down
Once the plan has been completed the application will save the date and send reminders to remind him/her about critical information such as the length of the trip, start date and days left till the first day of the trip.
Allowing travelers to view, select and adjust trip plan is one side of the equation and we are now iterating on the other side of experience of adding pictures, leaving reviews and ratings.