Evie Donnelly
5 min readJan 22, 2018

Where travelers meet locals through shared interests

Project Overview

Team: 3 UX Designers
My role: UX Designer and Project Manager

3 weeks to deliver: Research Report, Spec Doc, Clickable Prototype, and Presentation


Initial Assumptions and Focus

When traveling people want to have an authentic cultural exchange and feel like they are discovering a place and connecting with people there; yet they have social anxiety and difficulty communicating and connecting because of language differences.

How might we connect travelers with locals to encourage cultural exchange?

Research →Synthesis →Design

We approached the project using many research methods to both validate and refine the initial focus, and that lead to the redesign and ensuing iterations.

Research Methodology

These processes were the foundation for: validating the need for the app, knowing who would use the app, figuring out what were the essential features to create a minimal viable product, how to design it, and iterate on that to make it a pleasure to use.

Competitive Analysis
Usability Testing on Beta
Screener Survey
Qualitative Survey of targeted users
User interviews
Usability Test on Prototype 1
Usability Test on Iterated Prototype

Other Companies:

  • Had the same idea, but abandoned it.
  • Had too many functions, so it was confusing.
  • Scapade puts people back in the spotlight.
  • People use apps not meant for travel experiences, when traveling to connect with locals and other travelers.
Comparative Matrix

We discovered that Scapade is in a unique position in that it will focus on the Traveler to Local relationship and that the matching feature is not utilized by comparative travel apps.

Feature Analysis

Synthesis of Surveys and Interviews

Respondents: 360+
Eligible Candidates: 65

We defined our target user as someone who…

  • Travels at least once a year
  • Sometimes travels alone
  • Has used an app to meet a stranger
  • Is comfortable meeting strangers
  • Values learning about local culture when traveling
  • Is open to follow up questions from our team

We validated the scope of the app

  • 73% of people are interested in connecting with locals
  • We found that people like to connect through shared interests
  • Validates the matching algorithm
  • People like to connect through their social networks
  • Validates profiles through facebook connections
  • People are concerned about their safety when meeting someone new
  • People are not connecting through dating apps
  • People feel that language and lack of shared interests can be a barrier to meeting one another.

User Interviews

We spoke with 10 targeted users and hosts from all over the world. These are some of our synthesized findings:


Local/Host User

Validating Assumptions and Redefining Focus

We honed in on where that social anxiety was actually coming from that kept people from connecting with others while traveling. People wanted to feel safe, they understood the intentions and roles of one another. If there was a shared interest people also felt more comfortable.

We redefined the problem:

When traveling, people want to have an authentic cultural exchange. They seek to discover unique experiences and connect with people there, yet they have trouble finding non-tourist spots and they have difficulty communicating and connecting with local people.

How might we connect locals and travelers with similar interests and languages to exchange unique experiences in a comfortable and secure way?

Research informs our Designs

  1. Users are concerned about the credibility of a person when meeting them for the first time →Ability to view shared Facebook connections

2.Users value having a shared language with a person they plan meet →Added ability to view and filter by match language

3. The more information the user knows about a person, the more comfortable they are to meet them →More information included in profile

4. Swiping interaction made the users feel they were on a dating app →Matches listed out in feed style

Redesigned Profile

Redesigned Search



Usability Test on Beta

Usability Test on Prototype Version 1 and Version 2

Next Steps

Within one month:
•Meet and go over the details with Founder and Development Team •Iteration designs based on feedback from them and more user testing
•Create Android version design and develop that in tandem

Within six months:
•Launch Beta version of the app to interested parties within NYC area.
•Iterate on these designs, develop, get approval from
•Launch full product to the public


This app asks us to think about how we participate in a global community. How do you want to participate within your own culture? Do you welcome people? Are you interested in learning about other places and the lives people live there?

From research we found that people are compelled to seek out the unique and authentic feeling of connection to new places and people. Scapade can help build those exchanges that change how we understand ourselves within a world of diversity.