Client: Intrepid Travel
Team: Shawn Dimpfl, Jim Doroba, Stephanie Heckman, and Kelly Rogers
Timeframe: 2 weeks
Tools: Axure, Sketch, Marvel, Google Forms, Excel, Tableau, and Xtensio
Deliverables: Sitemap, user journeys, personas, and a hi-fidelity clickable prototype.My Role: Led the creation of online survey and data analysis, strategy, and wireframing.
Background: Intrepid is an Australian adventure travel company that sends over 100,000 travelers across the globe each year on over 800 different itineraries on all 7 continents and employs more than 1,000 staff.
Objective: Intrepid offers “comfort” trips designed to appeal to an older demographic and they want to “upgrade their digital experience.” Customers find the current site difficult to search for trips and want to choose destinations based on their vacation time availability.
Solution: Added an activity tracker web app for people worried about personal freedom on a group trip. Created a chat function and meetup function for people concerned about the character of their fellow travelers.
I led the team in constructing an online survey to gauge our target audience’s needs and wants. Our research goal was to learn about their travel habits, preferences, and group travel concerns. Strict exclusion criteria were implemented and participants were disqualified if they:
- Were under 25 years old
- Book trips via travel agent or planner
- Are not willing to travel group
- Spend under $1500 a year on leisure travel
- Do not like idea of international travel
There were a total of 120 respondents, which were pared down to 46 participants who met our criteria. These participants possess the following characteristics:
- Ages ranging 25–66, median age 31.5
- 36 female and 10 male
- Ideal time for an international trip 7–30 days, an average of 12 days
One of the most important findings we discovered during our research was what participants considered to be the most important factors when planning a trip.
Additionally, we asked people to tell us about their biggest concerns when traveling in a group internationally. We collapsed similar concerns into groups based on recurring themes throughout the responses.
The main concern that was expressed was the potential for negative group dynamics in a travel context. These included things such as worrying that one member may derail the whole group vibe, or slow down the pace of the trip, or might have an unsavory personality.
To build upon the online survey results we conducted in-person interviews with an additional 25 people. Destination, price, and scheduling emerged as the most important factors when booking travel. One main concern was group dynamics, which were both positive and negative.
“I’m worried that the attendees already know each other and form small groups immediately. Also, that there (could be) older and potentially creepy guys on the trip.” — Jessica, 33
The other main concern was often brought up in our conversations was the ability to have individual freedom while on a group trip.
“A downside to group travel is having to stay in each destination for a predetermined amount of time. I want the freedom to come/ go as I please.” — Alicia, 29
Amenities and travel time that would make a trip more comfortable were the least important factors to the 25+ demographic Intrepid was seeking to attract. What matters is being able to have a great time exploring a new country and culture with like-minded people while also being able to have the individual freedom to explore by oneself when desired. Therefore, we collectively decided upon the two design principles below.
- Solutions should allow or encourage individual exploration of a place and its culture.
- Solutions should allow users to get to know their fellow travelers as well as their destinations and accommodations.
Personas and Storyboards
Based on our research findings and guided by our design principles we created two personas of the average user and their journey through the intrepid digital experience.
Margaret is a 31-year-old professional living in Toledo, Ohio who enjoys traveling and meeting people from all around the world. Margaret also enjoys seeing the world from others’ perspective and finding local activities to engage in while traveling. However, she enjoys her free time while traveling, and is concerned about dealing with too many scheduled activities. She wants to make sure that she can have enough alone time and freedom to explore each destination.
The next persona that I personally worked on was named Christina Marino.
Christina is a 29-year-old web developer from Chicago. She loves traveling the world — “seeing the world is what I live for” — but prefers traveling with friends. Christina wants to continue her world travel to take a trip to a new country but her friends are not available to travel with her schedule, due to everyone’s busy lives. Christina considers taking a group trip through Intrepid but is worried about the people she may meet on the trip. She’s heard horror stories from friends about group travel with strangers. “What if they’re weirdos?” she thinks.
After doing a “design studio” we had dozens of sketches for a multitude of features that we could integrate into our new design. Once we settled on the final concept we all created paper and pencil sketches for a prototype and were ready for user testing.
To be quite frank our first round of usability testing was a disaster and was promptly shut down. People had a difficult time using the product and understanding how the features worked, partly due to the sketches being made by four people.
This second prototype was better received and was far easier for people to understand and navigate. We further integrated new user findings about the proposed chat function, activity selector, and trip landing page redesign. We then integrated these suggestions into our final high fidelity prototype below.
In the homepage redesign, we fixed an issue most people found annoying and confusing, which was the two search bars that served the same limited function. We reconfigured the second search bar to operate as a more detailed trip planner. We also featured blog stories that highlighted the wonderful experiences real customers have had on intrepid in the hope to help solve for that “fear of creeps” issue that “Christina” had.
Furthermore, we added a meetup link on the navigation bar to help alleviate reticent travelers’ concerns by meeting in person with real past and future intrepid travelers. There would also be an intrepid representative present to address any questions a potential customer may have. The last thing that we did to help win over “Christina was to offer a chat feature that would allow her to chat with her fellow travelers, local guides, and the Intrepid team before she departs for her trip.
When somebody uses the redesigned trip planner on the home page they will find a newly refined search results page that was redesigned based on user feedback. We provided people with a better way to sort and filter their results with more options such as by price which was previously unavailable as well as display each trips’ rating on the trip description.
Below is the final interactive prototype, if you click on the “Best of Spain” trip you will see that there are suggestions for what to do during the free portions of the trip. When you go to your account you can go and see your entire itinerary by date and location and click on any blank spaces and add any suggested activity or just sleep in that day if you so choose. This will help “Margaret” feel in control of her individual freedom while on the group tour.
If Intrepid wanted to adopt this new redesign they should recruit past members to come to meetups to test whether this idea is viable or desired. Further interviews conducted with additional solo group travelers to gather more targeted data should also be conducted. Lastly, testing out the new features with prospective customers and old customers would be crucial before fully implementing and launching the redesigned website.