roammate 

roammate is a Singapore startup that aims to bring travellers together to take part in overseas adventures. I worked closely with the founders to research how travellers plan their activities and connect with each other before, during and after travel, thereafter conceptualising a mobile app to facilitate the process.

Platform
iOS app

Role
Research
User Experience Design
User Interface Design
Interaction Design


Research & Synthesis

Research work included competitive analysis of existing solutions, sending out surveys, as well as interviewing 6 travellers, ranging from seasoned solo backpackers to those who travel in groups. I then consolidated all the research data through creating a giant affinity diagram

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By analysing the research and mapping the travel experience from start to end, I was then able to deep dive into problems and opportunities, from there identifying potential features.

 

Travel Characteristics

  HIGHLIGHTS   Mapping out main travel characteristics was eventually incredibly useful in  identifying matching characteristics and potential points of conflict  between travellers.

HIGHLIGHTS

Mapping out main travel characteristics was eventually incredibly useful in identifying matching characteristics and potential points of conflict between travellers.

 Activity-based Behaviours

  HIGHLIGHTS    (1) Deciding whether to visit a place is sometimes based on   "Instagrammable shots"   Design implication: high emphasis should be given to good quality visuals to inspire travel    (2) Travellers seek advice on activities from those in their   social circle, especially those who have similar interests as them   Design implication: include social validation as much as possible on travel activities, destinations etc

HIGHLIGHTS

(1) Deciding whether to visit a place is sometimes based on "Instagrammable shots"
Design implication: high emphasis should be given to good quality visuals to inspire travel

(2) Travellers seek advice on activities from those in their social circle, especially those who have similar interests as them
Design implication: include social validation as much as possible on travel activities, destinations etc

Social Behaviours

Social Pains Influencing Travel Activities

  HIGHLIGHTS   There are two main social pains influencing travel-  lack of travel company  and  conflict in travel goals . I also found that the stakes in having a positive travel experience increases closer to the travel period.

HIGHLIGHTS

There are two main social pains influencing travel- lack of travel company and conflict in travel goals. I also found that the stakes in having a positive travel experience increases closer to the travel period.


Problem Definition

To further empathise with travellers looking for social companions, 3 personas were created to represent travellers with varying needs and behaviours. Mapping out their individual travel journeys and job stories also gave better context on the needs and touch points of the travel experience that roammate could potentially tap into.

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Pam's Travel Journey

Job stories


Feature Prioritisation

After brainstorming possible features and consolidating them from the research findings, I put it onto an Achievability Matrix, to weigh between the impact and ease of implementation. This was split into two focus areas of browsing activities ("excursions") and connecting with each other.

Further discussions was done with the client to finalise the features in the product in its first iteration using the MoSCoW method (must have, should have, could have, would have).


Iterate, iterate, iterate

I went through 6 iterations of prototyping and usability testing, from the early paper prototypes, low fidelity wireframes, to clickable prototypes. Comparative analysis was also done to observe and take inspiration from similar interaction patterns.

 

Wireframes

  HIGHLIGHT    Reduce cognitive overload  by having  contextual information  (e.g. proximity indicator) and clear call to actions.

HIGHLIGHT

Reduce cognitive overload by having contextual information (e.g. proximity indicator) and clear call to actions.

Usability Testing Findings

Flow Diagrams

To illustrate more complex interactions, prototyping was done using the Principle animation tool.

 

Prototyping animation

  HIGHLIGHT   The 'quick add' function is introduced to allow the process of adding a travel plan to be as seamless and fuss-free as possible. 

HIGHLIGHT

The 'quick add' function is introduced to allow the process of adding a travel plan to be as seamless and fuss-free as possible. 


What I've learned

Further improvements of the application will include testing it in context, to observe reactions using the application in a likely and relevant situation.

For a startup in its first iteration, I was challenged to prioritise and justify features and interactions based on their impact upon launch. Extra consideration also had to be given to accommodate later features.

Designing an app from end-to-end brought about huge insights on the importance for designing for states outside of the happy path. This includes empty states, error states and situations with low or no connectivity, which is especially common during travel.

For a social app that essentially brings strangers together, I also learnt to pay extra sensitivity to build trust and safeguard travellers against spam and unwanted attention.

 

✨✨✨ This app has launched- download it here! ✨✨✨