I’ve chosen to create an app for Canadian Tourism. My personal connection and inspiration for this project is that I am from the US and before I moved to Canada I had no idea about all of the incredible cities, national parks, and different cultures to experience throughout the country. There are countless travel apps and websites but no app that is exclusively dedicated to Canadian tourism that includes the robust features of other travel apps. I am a big fan of exploring my own city as well as venturing outside of Vancouver, so I could see the app being of use to Canadians and tourists alike.
Discover Canada will be a mobile app that helps tourists plan and organize their trip to Canada, learn more about the country, and help users share their experiences and tips along the way.
- Sightseeing and Activities — Users will be able to search for top tourist attractions and activities in the city they are visiting, read and write reviews, and save attractions to their favourites for quick access later.
- Food and Dining —For travellers, eating is a great way to take a break from sightseeing, but it can also teach you a lot about a city or country’s culture.
- Audio tours — Users will be able to select popular tourist attractions and listen to audio recordings that include history and interesting facts without the need for a tour guide. Users can download the recordings to be used offline later.
- Canada Travel Info — Users will have access to transportation options, currency calculator, and a when to travel guide. This will include major holidays that may be more crowded or more expensive than other times, and what the weather would be like to know what to pack.
- Bucket List — Users will have the option to save activities to their itinerary, or to their bucket list for future travel. Having a bucket list encourages users to go onto the app even when they don’t have a specific trip planned.
The users of this app will be international tourists visiting Canada as well as Canadians who are looking to explore their own country. Using the app will help users get the most out of their time while traveling and stay organized on the go. The app will help them get recommendations from other travelers, learn about attractions without needing a tour guide, and encourage them to explore as much of Canada as possible.
a. A Canadian resident looking to explore and learn more about their own city or local parks.
b. A Canadian resident looking to visit new cities and parks in Canada.
c. An international tourist looking to visit Canada.
How many people did you interview? How many survey responses did you get?
I interviewed 4 people and I got survey responses from 90 people.
Key features that came from my user research:
- Dining/restaurants, experiencing new things, and relaxing were the top things people looked forward to while traveling
- 88% of people preferred to visit attractions on their own schedule.
- Knowing transportation options was an important thing to research in advance before traveling.
- Facebook was the most used social media app among those surveyed, 79% — with Instagram in 2nd at 59%.
- Travel is a way to escape from their day-to-day routine
- The most trusted place people receive travel advice from is their own friends and family
- Asking locals or the hotel concierge for recommendations was a popular way to get advice once on the road
- A common pain point was determining how much or how little could be done in a day. They wanted to be able to see as much as possible without overdoing it, and making sure to leave in enough room to do a little bit of relaxation or spontaneous activities as well.
One of the things I found most surprising was that food and dining was such a high priority while traveling. I realize food is a necessity, but I had not considered that dining tells so much about a local culture and can be such a memorable experience during a trip. That was originally going to be a nice-to-have in my app and my research changed that to a need-to-have.
The other thing that my research had taught me was that people were not as interested in taking organized tours as I had originally thought. My first idea was to have a tour driven app, but I made that a secondary feature in the app once I got my feedback.
Based on my survey results and interviews, I created two user personas. The first is Patty Proactive. She is a frequent traveler for business and pleasure. She loves researching her trips in advance and finds it part of the fun. She relies heavily on reviews and wants to see as many things as possibly while traveling.
The second persona is Willian Wingit. He has a family and his primary focus while traveling is to get away from his day-to-day routine. He enjoys seeing the top must-see attractions in a new place but other than that he is happy with an open schedule. He is most likely to get recommendations from friends and do minimal research online.
User flow & wireframes
The MVPs of the Tourism App will be
- Searching for activities and dining
- Saving activities into an itinerary with map
- Adding reviews so your Facebook friends and other users can know whether you would recommend a place or restaurant
- Canada specific travel info (transportation, currency, travel time guidelines)
Nice to have features
- Bucket List
- Free Audio Tours
- Share itinerary with friends
- Itinerary with approximate length of time for each activity to plan out each day
Not needed features
I learned so much about the importance of research and planning through this experience. In the past I often found myself diving in to the building phase with the knowledge of what I assumed was the best solution. My survey and interview results were the most eye-opening part of this project. I had made so many assumptions of what I thought people would want and use, and I was right about a few but mostly I was wrong. I now know the importance of not making assumptions and letting the data guide me. What I found most difficult in the process was the user flow. I had in my mind what I thought would happen at each step, but I realized as I made the flow I was making everything much more complicated than it needed to be. I was also trying to cram too many features into the app all at once instead of only the minimal viable product. Creating the flows forced me to focus on the essentials and do it in the most simple way possible with the fewest amount of clicks. This taught me the importance of user flows and why it is important to create a blueprint before building. I am grateful to have learned that data and planning can help guide your decisions in building an app. I will certainly not dive into a project in the future without considering all of these steps first!