The Tribe has spoken. A UX case study into “Trip Tribe”: an online vacation booking experience.

Summary

We live in an age now where almost everything can be accessed online. Whether it be ordering a pizza or finding love, the internet really has changed the way that we do things. This was very apparent to me when working to redesign Trip Tribe’s website.

Trip Tribe is an online vacation/experience booking platform. It fuses together the ideas of travel and friend-finding. At its core you can book an all-inclusive vacation and get matched with like-minded individuals via the “Tribe” or group feature. In this study, I will look to validate the uniqueness of Trip Tribe as well as to walk you through my design process.

Group Project: 3 Person team

Time Frame: 2 Weeks

Deliverables: Annotated sketches, wireframes, competitive research, final prototype and mockup in Sketch.

Problem: Trip Tribe is still a fairly new site and hasn’t quite gained the traction that it needs to become a mainstream vacation booking destination.

Solution: Redesign the site so that the mission and values of Trip Tribe are clearly communicated and refine the flow of the website so that it is intuitive and engaging for all users.

Time to investigate!

Research

To kick off our group’s 2-week project, we firstly wanted to get a sense of how the site is communicated now as well as look into how users book and travel via online platforms. The first thing that came to mind is to create a survey that would help us get a better understanding of why people travel and possibly some of their travel preferences. We also followed-up with specific respondents to get a more in-depth picture of the answers that they were referring to. Utilizing an affinity map we were able to spot trends in the respondents’ answers.

So from the charts you can see that there were various reasons as to why people traveled, but there were a few things that could hinder those travel opportunities. (As shown on the right.)

With our primary research gathered, we were able to create a few personas that really generalized who our target users would be for Trip Tribe’s site.

One of our travel personas for the project ^

Additionally, I ran a few usability tests on Trip Tribe’s current site to get a sense of the problem areas that I needed to focus on when it came time to design. To summarize the findings of my initial usability tests I created a user journey diagram to illustrate the “highs” and “lows” of the site.

As you can clearly see, there were quite a few experiences in the site that were not so intuitive and pleasant. These were my main focus points when redesigning the site.

Here are a few of those main focus points:

  • Making the site more inclusive to all audiences (not just yoga-goers)
  • Educating users on the value proposition of the site when it comes to finding like-minded travel partners
  • Refining the execution of Trip Tribe’s overall concept
  • Defining and bolstering the value of tribes (communities)
  • Clarifying responsibilities and flow for becoming an ambassador

We also conducted some secondary research on the word “Tribe” and what it truly means. We wanted to be sure that we were capturing the essence of community that we found within the definition.

Finally, we conducted a competitive analysis to see the general conventions and themes of other travel and social gathering sites. As you can see there was a clear gap in the big booking sites. “Social matching based on interests” was a key component that Trip Tribe had a unique claim to.

Design

Since the concept of the site aims to connect like-minded travelers together, we thought long and hard about how we could bolster this experience and make it more enticing. After a design studio we conducted we came up with the idea of creating travel personalities. When a user logs onto the site we would give them a brief questionnaire to fill out about their personality and travel preferences. We even conducted a few user tests with this portion to make sure that this on-boarding stage wasn’t too long. Once you finish the quick self-assessment you are then given a travel personality that would ultimately help you match with other travelers who like you.

Travel personalities on a spectrum^

Now that we had a centralized idea for moving forward, we were able to start our initial designs. In our first design studio we wanted to make sure that we were focusing our efforts on the weakest points of the current site. Those focuses being: the trip page, the tribe page, and the landing page. These three components are what makes the site.

We wanted to make sure that Trip Tribe had a clear and direct message and articulate how a user would ultimately get through the steps of booking an experience. Hence our emphasis on the landing page. On the initial site we found that many people were not sure what was being presented to them. It was unclear as to whether or not they were on a booking page from the start. We wanted to make sure that users know exactly what they’re getting into before delving into their online expedition. I use the word expedition, because we wanted the landing page to illustrate how the user would be guided through the site. In a moment, you will see how we demonstrate this.

We also wanted to focus on the Trip sections, obviously, as well as the Tribe pages. For the Tribe pages specifically, on the current site there was really no collaboration aspect, and with our secondary research we really wanted to stress the importance of groups of like-minded people coming together and forming a true Tribe. For this we added a “board” feature where individuals could post content and comment and chat with other users. This in theory would generate a higher return rate to the site.

Alongside our early sketches, we conducted card sorts to structure the content of our sites in an orderly and appropriate fashion. We wanted to make sure that any unclear or ambiguous features from the current site were sorted out and shuffled into a place that made the most sense for first time and returning users.

One of our card sorts^

After we defined what content we were going to keep and how we were going to structure the pages of the site, we then created the user flows for how the site would function.

By this point in time, we were integrating our early sketches into, you guessed it, Sketch! Below are some of the hi-fi wireframes that we came up with.

This is what we changed the landing page to^
This is what I was mentioning earlier when I said we wanted to truly “guide” users^
The left image was the current Tribe page and the right is what we created in its place^

Final Product

After finalizing our pages for our site, we did some usability testing to work out any kinks that we found. One of the things we iterated on was whether or not to keep the on-boarding survey. We thought that people might not want to look at a series of questions and just choose their travel personality themselves. However, after testing we found that the overwhelming majority of people would rather take a quick survey. With all the testing and iteration complete, we were ready to present our final product to the client. Below are some videos to help demonstrate what we came up with for a final site.

Next Steps and Takeaways

Here are a few of the next steps we would consider for this project:

  • Analytics behind the tribe chat board and if it has a good receiving, implement it on the trip page as well
  • Further test to make sure flow is intuitive
  • Further develop ideas to diversify activity options
  • Further develop chat/help feature
  • Implementation

Overall, the project was very interesting and engaging. From the start, I was really excited with the overall concept of the site. Being able to mash together travel sites as well as social meet-ups was super unique. I believe that this project went very smoothly and if there was one major takeaway from this, it would have to be the importance of research. Conducting thorough research really set our group up for success when it came time to designing relevant pages and features.