A packing app to help you pack light and efficiently
In this exercise the topic given to me was Travel. We have to design an app to solve any pain point related to Travel. Travel is a huge category, and everyone loves a good holiday. To help me focus better I started with myself on some pain points about traveling. I narrowed it down to 3 things that I dislike about traveling. 1) Waiting at airports, 2) Long queues to check in, and lastly 3) Packing. I decided to focus on Packing and see what I can learn about it with some User Research.
As everyone started interviewing I focused on refining my questions. I asked myself what I wanted to know, and how important it was. I reminded myself that it is not just about me, I wanted to know what their pain points were. I went through 3 rounds of refinement before I started my interviews. The interviews itself went pretty smoothly, to get them comfortable I first asked about their last travel, and how they liked it. I could then lead it to how they managed to pack their luggage coming back, and then onto more specific questions about what they liked, disliked or worried about packing. I interviewed 4 of my classmates, Nazri, Xian, Rachel and Wilson. I think the hardest part about the intervewing process was having to catch myself in case I asked a question that was leading to my own pain points. The awkward silences were very uncomfortable as I naturally wanted to fill in the gaps. However with that in mind I managed to learn some very interesting things that I never realised!
At first I assumed that people don’t like to pack home because of 1) not being able to fit everything and 2) hitting past the baggage allowance. However the results were definitely surprsing! At first everyone said they LOVE packing, they love writing their list of essentials and packing made them look forward to the trip. However they hate packing to come back because of packing dirty laundry with clean clothes. It seems like an asian thing whereby you feel like you need to wash everything once the dirty clothes touch the clean ones. All of them had the exact same answer with dirty laundry. The other point that I found interesting was that the majority 3 out of 4 of them always overpacked their clothes. They would pack things “just in case” they would use them. Or “what if I need an extra pair of shoes if I’m going to a nice dinner place?” Half of them also accidentally packed clothes that didn’t suit the weather/fashion and bought clothes there anyway, ending up with a bigger pile of clothes to bring home. None of them had to pay for excess baggage before, and all of them said it was not a concern for them. It annoyed them that there were always more things to pack, but somehow it has never shot past the baggage allowance weight.
There are two main problems that I feel are connected.
There are two points to this. One is just the annoyance of having to pack dirty laundry, the other is that usually you have to pack them together with the clean clothes to save space. The only way to minimize this is by actually doing laundry during your trip, or the next point which is to pack less so that it lessens the chances of you having to pack dirty clothes with the clean clothes.
Overpacking clothes end up wasting space and weight, and also increases the chances of you having to pack clean clothes with your dirty laundry. So by packing less you would also minimize the first problem.
My solution is the minilist app. It is a packing app that will calculate the bare minimum of clothes and essentials you should pack by the user inputting details on when they have access to laundry services/washing machines. This will help to solve the two problems.
The next step is to start thinking about the user flow in the app. The most important part of this app is for you to be able to input the cities you are visiting, as well as the days you have access to laundry services or washing machines.
It needed to be flexible, because sometimes you can fly to and from one location but you actually visit a few cities by other modes of transport, and that could affect how you pack. For example my last trip to Japan was in April, I flew to and from Tokyo, but I took the bullet train to Sapporo as well in the middle of my trip. So in that 10 days I could see Cherry Blossoms in Spring weather, and enjoy snow and cold weather in the North.
As we travel around places we now have more options of places to stay. Sometimes we could be staying in a hostel, but other times a hotel or an airbnb. This means that there is a high chance you would come across laundry services or a washing machine during your trip. Inputting this information into the app will do the calculations for you so that you don’t need to stress about it and end up overpacking as the easy solution.
I started my User Flow sketches on paper to try and make sense of the mess in my head, before digitizing it so that it was neater and clearer.
My user flow had two objectives, one to help you to pack light and efficiently, and the other to help you look forward to your trip. For the first objective the main idea is to input the dates you have access to laundry. For the second objective it is to include a countdown timer once you have edited and completed your packing list. This will encourage users to take note or pack earlier in future.
I downloaded a couple of packing apps for reference, but I didn’t like either of it. I wanted something cleaner and easier for the eye, with more direct buttons. Having to think about how every button had to matter, and where it should be placed so that it was easy to use was mindblowingly difficult. There was so much thought put into it. After that I made the pages in Sketch before putting it into Invision for a prototype. It was a challenging but definitely fun process for me as I tried to figure it out and see if it made sense.
Final Prototype: https://invis.io/84ASCKZGT#/222736836_1_Home_Page
One feature that I would like to add is User Generated Instagram content filtered by random location tags (from popular tourist attractions of your destination) from one year ago. Maybe everyday you open the app it would be a different location. This gives you an initiative to open the app frequently and fulfils the second objective of looking forward to the trip as well. This also allows you to see what people are wearing, and allow you to make clearer choices on the clothes you might want to bring.
Another update feature that would be useful is to add an option to find or confirm the laundry services and prices near your hotels/hostels/airbnb. This way you can decide when you want to do your laundry, and perhaps further minimize the clothes you need to pack.