Abstract.

In 2018, I took on the General Assembly User Experience Design Circuit to get a little bit more of feel for the processes that involved creating and curating a user experience. Although I’ve been dealing with user interfaces for a decent amount of time, I hadn’t really figured out why certain design patterns were used and what techniques were used to determine which worked best for each user.  In said course we were tasked with the problem. The one assigned to me involved building a solution for traveling to help close deals. I created Budgettude, the flight travel app that worked for your established travel budget.

Context.

Millennials are more interested in the experience of an event, rather than planning for the future. According to CNN, 66.5% of millennial don’t have any savings due to the crippling economy. But, there is still the need for the experience, especially when it comes to  travel.

According to an interview by Jeff Fromm (Forbes), Millennials have a dire need to immerse themselves in different cultures/see themselves as citizens of the world, hence giving more weight to traveling over big weddings, starting families, etc. (Jeff Fromm, Forbes 2018.)  This information allowed me to draft the problem a bit better: how can Millennials travel more?

Early sketches of the Budgettude app. April 2018.

Where to? Wherever.

Building something for a potential 73-million client base is ambitious, to say the least. But I knew that there was “something” worth defining. For the purposes of the course, I interviewed several millennials and led a focus group around the topic of travel in order to build 2 personas, used affinity mapping to group the similarities in the interviews to draw out patterns and formalized my findings in these two “people”.

After understanding better the audience’s needs (and what they believed what the solution could be) I traced out the most important things needed to have a satisfactory experience divided in three goals:

1. Visually appealing to millennials
2. Simple learning curve
3. Practical use


Millenial Vision


Easy to Understand


SmoothUsability

Solution.

In the beginning, different features were proposed and a competitive analysis with other companies was designed to see if the product would differentiate itself from other products.  After the interviews, I was referred to the course mentor in order to discuss my finding and what I proposed as a solution: bundled packages revolving around a complete travel experience: flight, housing and experience (tours, for instance). 

My mentor basically destroyed the solution by saying: you can’t physically control these variables/insure quality of the experience due to the complexity of the parts involved, unless it is a sole provider, and even then it could be problematic. He then proceeded to ask “what can you offer the user that he/she doesn’t have?” In an instant, my brain had that “eureka!” moment said “the information regarding the travel”. I went back to the drawing board and devised Budgettude: an app that will mold according to the user’s budget. As an extra feature, past, present and future flight offers would be displayed to help the user understand what previous and future data looked like.

Competitive analysis with leading travel solutions, June 2018.

Constraints.

As this is a project for a class, my only constrain was time. While working full time, 8-10 hour days take a toll on the body and mind, and going in to study afterwards was very draining to say the least.

Time to properly develop is a real bitch. But in the sense of this being a “real” product, having such a huge client base and no budget to develop the app, user personas were built on a very small population of interviews. Although it has been proven that a small population with the correct discussion being led can/will produce an efficient UX base model on which future users can/will use.

Mid-fi Budgettude prototype. June, 2018.

The Process.

After a debriefing of the personas built for the project, my role was a bit more defined. Initial sketches were drawn, and user flow was determined.

User flow chart. June, 2018.

Prototypes.

A lo-fi paper prototype was built and tested on a pool of users in order to validate the design choices/user flow before proceeding to a more complex line of design (which would take a bit more of time to develop considering I am the sole designer in the project).

Low-fidelity prototype. June, 2018.

What we found.

The users were at times confused by the phrasing of certain things. Things like “Gotta Catch That Flight!” seemed confusing, a vocabulary designated to match with the brand of the company. A new, simpler brand identity was added into the revision pile in order to comply with the findings. 

Note: Since this was a course project, recommendations were documented and some implemented due to time.

6 out of 10 users were interested in the product. A traveling app that adjusts to a users budget, not the other way around.

3 out of 10 users found the “Past options” feature useless. Considering it illogical, since “the past already happen”. Elder millennials enjoyed the option of viewing past offers.

7 out of 10 users would download the app if it was a real product, considering it showed a real opportunity for those who really wanted to travel. The remaining three suggested that it was bit too similar to Hopper and would not download it.

Users would download the app.

Designing the UI.

Since this was pretty much up to my creative flow, I chose to go for something Millennials have responded to in the past: colorful gradients. It’s a very minimalistic approach to the project, but efficient, nonetheless.

Gradient flows from yellow, to purple, to dark blue, and then back to yellow, simulating the experience of a sunset, twilight, night, and sunrise again.  

At the time of the design, I owned a Samsung Galaxy S8, so this is designed for said device (made testing a lot easier.)

App Mockup. Late August, 2018.

High-Fidelity screens ready  for development. Late October, 2018.

VIEW PROTOTYPE

Reflections.

Being the only designer can be a very fun experience, specially for a project that was designed from scratch.  

This was definitely a great learning experience that not only took me through the whole process but also helped me clear some questions I had, while learning the correct terminology.However, deadlines can become stressful when there is so much work to be done by one designer. Some user feedback was frustrating and at times contradicting.


Polished UI Design


Easy to Understand


Smooth Usability