Solo Travel app researched and designed for General Assembly User Experience design short course.
Young women have traditionally been discouraged from travelling solo due to safety concerns. However, travel is an enriching experience that women have every right to enjoy. For my research project, I investigated women’s experiences travelling alone. I interviewed young women who’d travelling alone recently and investigated the market for both digital and physical travel products. From these insights, I developed a design solution that enhanced the best parts of solo travel and protected users from the challenging parts of solo travel.
I conducted 10 interviews with solo female travellers about their experiences, behaviours and habits. The women were aged 18-35 and were from Australia, Singapore, Japan, the USA, Austria and Germany. I recruited interviewees through social media using a screener survey.
Overwhelmingly, solo female travellers did not want to be reminded of threats to their safety. Rather they want to navigate the challenges of solo travel, without losing the spontaneity of the experience.
Interviewees spoke highly of the flexibility allowed by solo travel.
They also described feeling confident, resourceful and affirmed.
All women communicated their itineraries frequently with their families.
Almost all the women had a negative experience including sexual harassment and physical assault that they believe would not have happened had they been travelling with others.
Interviewees also expressed they wished they’d been better educated on local customs and learned basic phrases in the local language.
The women also reported using apps like Facebook groups and Bumble BFF for travel tips and to find companions for different legs of each trip.
Other research methods
I conducted competitor analysis on digital travel applications, like Trip Advisor and Airbnb. All digital travel products had similar functions like offline mode and crowd-sourced reviews. I also conducted research on physical products like travel tours and equipment like passport belts etc.
Solo female travellers need a way to be informed and confident about their travel plans because solo travel is empowering.
From research interviews, I developed a user persona of a solo, female traveller: Cassie, 26.
Cassie loves staying at hostels.
She has a rough itinerary for travel but isn’t afraid to change her plans.
She loves getting to know a city organically and doesn’t focus much on research beforehand.
She prefers to have authentic experiences and stays away from tourist areas.
She values alone time just as much as social time, and she likes that she can pick and choose when she socialises.
She always has a few nerves before travelling alone, but doesn’t let this stop her.
She wants to feel confident in new cultures and navigate travel with ease.
Prototype + features
I developed my site map by conducting a card sort and feature prioritisation.
Core functions of the app are:
Destinations: Crowd-sourced information about each destination. This appears the same on each user’s account.
My trips: Users can input, or import details about their trip from their emails and save in one convenient place.
Friend-finder: Helps users find like-minded travel friends in each destination.
Trusted contacts: Lets the app notify the user’s trusted contacts of their plans with an automated text or email.
Users can also activate and manage offline mode.
User flow example
I listened closely to my interviewees desire to understand a new culture and designed a push notification triggered by either time or location that offers contextual advice to achieve this. For example, at 6pm local time the app assumes the user is getting ready to eat dinner:
The app sends a push notification, suggesting a great restaurant nearby and a phrase to order in the local language.
The user can either dismiss the notification, or engage and get a route to the restaurant, weather information, and a safety recommendation.
They also have the option to save this activity to their “itinerary” which is shared with trusted contacts.
See flow illustrated in image library below.