Outer Reach Case Study
Outer Reach is an app that specializes in connecting adventurous travelers to interesting remote locations and unique experiences. The app uses influences from social media apps such as instagram to create a connected feel and personalized experience.
Travelers love to explore unique and adventurous places, but we are often limited to documented search results or google or other search engine. The top results on many site are typically the most popular attractions, but what if travelers want to explore beyond those top results, how will they find great places to explore?
The goal of Outer Reach is to connect adventurous people with recommendation for places to explore that are not on the map or not a part of a tourist attraction. With it’s “social media-esque” style and post based engine, Outer Reach strives to give its users a way to escape from corporate vacation spots and start explore our wonderful earth from a different perspective. Creating an app that specializes in locating remote or local places for the spirited adventurer will create an outlet for them to finding amazing locations to explore.
UX Researcher, Product Designer, Prototyper, User Tester
Time: 4 Week Process
The Design Process
By looking at both competitors in travel applications and social media applications, I found potential features to include in my own app that could be useful for users when navigating. This analysis showed the strengths I could implement and also, weaknesses I should avoid.
Since this app’s users will be adventurous travelers, I needed to interview people who frequently travel. I was able to interview several different people from different backgrounds and gathered insight as to how look for in a travel experience and a few of their paint points while they search for places to visit.
After conducting user interviews, I found a trend that most people like to read about local on unique places and want to find those type of places to visit while they are traveling but the difficulty they had finding a way to locate such places in order to plan a trip to visit them put them off from ever completing the task.
When organizing the data from my user interviews into an affinity diagram, I noticed that most everyone seemed to crave local and unique places the visit while they traveled. This discovery informed my decision to further explore the local aspect of travel and consider where one might find sucha . place to visit.
Catherine Lark is a freelance travel writer who is always in search of interesting locations to visit in order to get great content for her blogging company.
The most difficult part of this project was figuring out how to create a flow that made sense to the user. I had to back track several times adjusting the flow to create a design that was stream line and fun to use. The goal is a “social media-esque” travel app so it must have a feel similar to app such as instagram.
Inspiration was taken from Air bnb through looking at a the way the navigation is structured in this app. Both of these apps have a great system of navigation and make the user experience smooth and pleasant.
Main Features of the app:
- Ability to add adventures to your profile by adding photos, videos or stories.
- Searching for places to visit
- Adding places for other people to visit & connect with.
I then mapped out a Storyboard, keeping in mind the entry points and emotions of our user, Catherine as she discovers the app and uses it on her vacation.
I created several different moodboards with Pinterest and InVision to find inspiration for the app’s visual design. The style of this app needs to be adventurous with attractive bright colors. Imagery should be of primarily landscapes in order to promote the adventurous feel.
Typography: Raleway (a San-Serifed font)and Bebas Neue(a display font) were used because we were looking for a clean and simple design. I choose these fonts because it gives the feeling of spaciousness, which conveyed a sense of adventure in the text portions of the app.
Colors: I selected primarily cool colors in order to create a calming feel.
The initial sketches and first versions of this app took a lot of inspiration from Instagram and Air bnb. The design was kept simple in order to streamline the process of finding places to visit as well as adding them to your profile.
See main screen design progression below:
Post Direction page
After test the app, users expressed a few confusion and also a few things they wished were including in the app. These were the points I focused on in the next iteration of the app.
- Confused on how to add a location to their “visited” section on their profile.
- Craved connection with people rather just places.
- Wanted to view other users profiles.
- The directions page was too confusing to operate.
After through testing and receiving feedback, I began iterating my design. The feed back I got from user testing informed most of my decitions in this iteration, a long with an updated style and flow.
The most difficult part of this project was figuring out how to create a flow that made sense to the user. I had to back track several times and realize that “I am not the user” and iterate on my design.
In the future, I would like to create a way for user to connect with on another to make Outer Reach a more “social media-esque” travel app. I don’t want to dive too deep into the social media side, however. I think it would great if users could follow one another so that the have a n esier time finding the people that create the coolest adventures.