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Team lead, UX researcher, pseudo-PM


If you don’t know where exactly you want to travel to, it can be difficult to come up with a trip destination. This can be due to lack of knowledge of the area or how to get to that area, a constrained budget, information overload when you google “cheap trips”, or even a lack of agreement amongst your group. Once you’ve figured out where to go, you then face several steps to plan the trip.

The process:

We began by researching how our target users (undergraduate students and young professionals) currently book trips with contextual inquiries and informal interviews. We used that data to form affinity diagrams, work models, personas and scenarios. This allowed us to better understand what the needs are of our users as opposed to their wants - an important insight when developing an MVP (Image 1).

Our next step was to create several storyboards and accompanying lo-fi prototypes showcasing different features and user experiences (Image 2). Once completing them, we conducted Think Alouds with new target users to determine how to best optimize those experiences in our high fidelity prototypes.

Finally, we created a hi-fi interactive prototype that incorporated all of the earlier features into a complete user experience, and ran that through another round of usability testing (Image 3).


After several months of work, we developed a v2 hi-fi interactive prototype that was ready for an MVP build.


Though we haven’t built the actual product, this design and research process uncovered several necessary features we hadn’t originally considered, which will allow us to prioritize what will go into our MVP product. We estimate this saved us an enormous amount of cost and wasted effort.


As a researcher, it was quite gratifying going through an end-to-end design process with this amount of research in play. Hearing my colleagues talk about personas as though they’re real people we’re designing for helped us both gain a closeness to the product and our users that we otherwise would have lost. It also helped prove the point that our vision of a product is not necessarily the right product for our users.

   Image 1 - Persona, Alex Sanders


Image 1 - Persona, Alex Sanders



Image 2: Scenario


Image 3: Interactive Prototype