In January 2016, I rang in the New Year by accepting a Visual Designer role at Worldmio. Worldmio’s mission was to make the world a smaller place by bringing travelers and guides closer through an app. I was tasked with being the first designer on the team, building every aspect of aesthetic for the company from scratch.
In this specific case study, I’ll be detailing what the research for the company’s mobile application entailed, the processes we included, and how each tool benefited the outcome of the app. The whole process took a ton of exploration, prototyping, testing, and development.
Here’s what it took to make it happen.
Worldmio is a mobile application, designed to help travelers plan itineraries for their destination by using the knowledge of the common local. A traveler was to enter as many details about their upcoming trip as possible and/or necessary through the questionnaire, and then be linked to a Guide, who was a native resident to the area being visited. The Guide would then create the perfect itinerary for the traveller, using the details they provided through the questionnaire, allowing the traveller to truly get their money’s worth from their upcoming vacation.
This web-app-turned-mobile-app travel guide was created to make the world a smaller place, and to make the world smaller we first need to understand it, the people that inhabit it, and the people who travel it. Because the starting team was so small, the process of creation was extremely lean with the focus being to create something innovative, and fun to use. Below I’ve compiled all the most helpful bits of information we acquired while researching our user base, and how we applied it to the final product.
Understanding the Problem
Taking a vacation is usually filled with thoughts of relaxation, warm nights filled with laughter, and taking photos that’ll make your high school friends on Instagram jealous. And multiple studies even state that it’s overall healthy for you to take vacations! In fact, if you don’t take any kind of vacation for one year straight, you’re taking a negative toll on your body, mind, and work you produce.
However, in a survery held in February 2012, out of 4,000 bad trips, 19% had a negative experience due to getting extremely lost. Another 16% were overcharged and/or taken advantage of by a local financially. 7% of vacations were ruined by not being able to find a bathroom in time, and 5% were pick-pocketed or robbed. Smaller, but still important discrepancies included 8% of people who ran out of cash on hand and couldn’t find a way to access more, and 3% were victims of scams. So of the 4,000 people surveyed, roughly 2,320 vacations could have been saved from negative experiences had they been in contact with a local from their designated area, and given helpful tips prior to their travels.
To my dismay as the leader of this analysis, but to the businesses delight, we never found a direct competitor. So instead we studied many B2M businesses who’s web and mobile applications catered to two demographics. We wanted to study different ways users are on-boarded, uses of a consumers profile, and question the usability of a search feature, with and without pre-determined filters.
This research conducted helped solidify a lot of features we expected to implement, and helped to preclude pushback from stakeholders. In some instances we saw features implemented and proven to work well but decided against them for other reason. For example, most of the analysis showed prominent use for a search feature, however our product did not have a necessity for one, at least in it’s current stage, so we decided in favor of a similar experience but for a questionnaire instead.
After detailing assets and usability features we wanted the app to have, we began mapping them out in a feature analysis to help dictate features that are easy to create and implement. We also wanted to detail which features would have a bigger impact on the users benefit, and did so by increasing the size of higher impacting features, and decreasing the size of lower impacting features. One of the features we originally anticipated for was an abandonment campaign, but due to the required effort to implement it, it did not fit into the scale of the current sprint so it was concluded that our first few versions of the app would not contain it.
With this practice, it was easy to dictate what each page is meant to do, what each page will connect to, and it helped visualize all the possible ways a visitor can turn into a conversion. This process also helps to structure hierarchy with minimal effort and time consumption.
It was an absolute necessity that we condense a users journey to the questionnaire as much as possible. By viewing the process from this birds-eye-view, we could easily pinpoint areas that overshot it’s usability. We also wanted to make sure a user had more reasons to use the app.
While finalizing the low-fidelity wireframes, I began visually designing multiple versions of certain pages to conduct preliminary rounds of user testing with internal team members and stakeholders. I would show the testers different prototypes and listen to their feedback while documenting their reactions so that I could refer back to their behaviors and reactions, and implement my findings in the applications final design.
When user testing, we made sure to test from both ends of the spectrum, where some testers were very familiar with traveling and what it entails, and others who had hardly travelled at all. We anticipated all types of critique, good and bad, and this case was no different. Some testers met the designs with hesitation and apprehension. Other praised certain design mechanics that helped to solidify decisions made. We saw all comments made as critical feedback that was sure to help shape Worldmio’s end-product.
After processing all the feedback, I went back and began refining interactions, navigation patterns, and visual design for a final product, making sure everything would work consistently across mobile, and the inevitable web application.
While preparing for its Seed Investment stages for an undisclosed amount, influences from stakeholders resulted in the company relocating headquarters to base out of China, and they continued production there. Unfortunately I decided against continuing off-site work with the team, but I am still proud of the work done and have strong assurance in the teams leadership to see the product through.
This case study strictly details the research and testing done for the company, and does not detail my work for the companies brand, visual, and marketing identity.