Type: Social Travel Platform Design
Role: User Researcher, UX&UI Designer
Timeline: Sep 2017
TRIPAL is a social travel platform for travel enthusiasts who want to efficiently work out an in-depth travel plan and make friends worldwide.
Unlike working out an itinerary by reading a large number of travel guides, TRIPAL helps the user find a like-minded local who is also planning to travel to the user’s living place. The two travelers can exchange local travel information to efficiently work out a customized travel plan for each other, and provide timely help.
My friend and I went to Sri Lanka to have a backpacking trip after our volunteering. However, every planning step from booking hotels to local transportation, food was confusing. It took me over one month to prepare for the trip, and we still encountered a series of problems (such as: missing the train, language barrier). Fortunately, we found a local driver “Ravi” to help us arrived at our next destination on time, and he took us to try a real Sri Lanka cooking which we couldn’t find it on TripAdvisor!
This travel experience reminds me of a vital problem: it’s truly difficult to explore a foreign city in-depth besides tourist attractions when you know nothing about the language, local regulations, and customs.
As a backpacking enthusiast myself, in the beginning, it was my own traveling pain point.
Why did I still encounter so many problems after I carefully worked out a plan?
How to explore a foreign place deeply instead of just going to the tourist attractions?
Where can I experience the food like a local?
These realistic problems motivated me throughout the whole process of launching this program.
" Travel enthusiasts who like overseas travel need a way to find a local who can help them effectively work out a customized travel plan to have an in-depth tour. "
From ethnographic research, I try to figure out which factors trouble travelers most when they plan for their trips and what they would concern during their trips.
200+ Reviews &Travel Journals on Tripadvisor&Yelp&Other Travel Apps | Travel Enthusiast Interview | Draw Journey Map
Existing Travel Advisor Websites & Apps User Journey Map
Insights From Research
From the process of customizing the travel plans:
Travelers need to repeatedly read a large number of travel journals and recommended information about scenic spots. However, when facing up with the large quantities of travel information, they can not quickly extract the effective information to make plans in limited traveling days.
From the content of the travel journals:
The strong subjectivity of travel journals results in the difference between the purpose and preference of traveling. In the meantime, because of the difference of the travel time and the tourists writing journals, it is kind of difficult for the travelers to work out the customized traveling plans only through the travel notes.
From the process of questioning and answering:
· The travelers could not get the accurate answers when asking questions because the people answering questions are mostly tourists and they can’t fully understand the local information.
· Resorting to the local community for the problems that travelers encounter in an emergency does not necessarily get resolved promptly.
From the feedback of travelers in terms of their trips:
· Travelers prefer to experience local life rather than go to tourist attractions. But most travelers could not travel in depth unless they travel with their local friends or local guides.
· The restaurant recommendation and the comments are all from the tourists. The users are more concerned with the evaluation and recommendation of local people.
Based on the insights, I could set up design metrics of my project to guide me to create and prioritize the features of the App.
01.BROWSE TRAVEL GUIDE
Offered By Local
Tripal aims to leave the tourist trail behind and provide in-depth travel experiences for users.
All of the travel guides are offered by local.
I wish user could get the most helpful guides for the first time. So the information is filtered by their “Traveling Preference”.
After deciding where to go, the user can add a “Trip” to match a local and work out travel plans together.
Every user can recommend awesome local experiences and places about their living cities to share with other travelers.
In Tripal, every user has a double identity——as a traveler and a local.
The matching system will match two travelers whose destination is the other’s living city. They need to work out a customized travel plan for each other.
02. MATCH LIKE-MINDED LOCAL
The matching system will calculate the relevancy of users according to “Traveling Preference” and“Personal Information” , they can meet the person who have the same taste.
The matching rate will help the partners build trust and encourage their communication and collaboration.
— TRAVELING PREFERENCE
Before browsing the homepage, users need to fill out their travel aims and choose their personal “tags”. I wish this feature can help users quickly extract the effective information. Furthermore, this information is also used in the matching system.
03.CONNECT At Any Time
The partners can exchange their travel information, discuss their travel plans and ask tips before they start to edit the other‘s plan.
Users also can ask questions for timely help to their partners when they are traveling.
As a local, The User need to work out a customized route for the partner after their chatting.
04.MAKE A CUSTOMIZED PLAN
For Each Other
RECOMMEND MY CITY
Users can edit their recommended places, activities and restaurants and add details or tips at first. These contents are recorded in “My Recommendations”.The popular one may show on the “Homepage”.
To simplify the process of planning, when the user editing the partner’s plan, the user can simply choose suitable places and activities for the partner which are recorded in ”My Recommendations”.