The ultimate packing checklist for travel backpackers.
Surveyed 31 respondents.
Discovered 45.2% of backpackers pack last minute.
End to End Research & Iterative Design.
Created high-fidelity prototype using Invision.
Pen & Paper
Travel Paks is a backpacking checklist that was created with a user centered approach - through research and design ideation of user surveys, user interviews, analysis, user flows, wireframes, prototyping and user testing. This is my capstone project for Springboard. Springboard is an online bootcamp offering mentor led programs.
The Problem & Solution:
Planning what to pack can be one of the most time consuming and challenging tasks backpackers can face before their journey. No matter the length of the stay - be it a 3 day trip or 3 month stay - a backpacker will need to pack appropriately. Otherwise, they will have an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience. To ensure that the next backpacking trip will go smoothly, I wanted to create a digital product that focuses on simplifying the packing experience.
Understanding The User:
Potential users of this app are young backpackers between the ages of 18-29 who love the great outdoors, travel nationally or internationally, have stayed in backpacker hostels, enjoy making new friends and are high-tech. Some are nomads, some are self-employed, some teach English abroad or are students.
To better understand their needs, pain points, frustrations and behavior, I needed to empathize with the users. One of the least expensive ways to do so is by surveying. I surveyed 31 people to learn more about their behavior and pain points in packing.
Here are some of the survey questions I asked:
What kind of backpacker are you?
Describe your packing style?
What frustrates you when packing?
How many hours does it take you to pack?
As I looked over the survey data, 4 major packing patterns emerged:
After looking over the data of my survey and seeing that the majority of backpackers pack last minute, I wanted to gain a deeper insight of the user (their thoughts, emotions about traveling and packing) which led me to the interviewing process.
I selected a total of 5 users to participate in the interview. These interviews were done remotely through Skype. I asked them a series of questions about their experience with packing, traveling and backpacking.
Below are some the questions I asked them:
What did you consider when purchasing your travel backpack?
Can you tell me the step by step process of how you narrow down your packing items?
Can you tell me what are some of the challenges when packing your travel backpack?
What is the ideal process for packing your backpack? How would you make it better?
What I Discovered:
During the interview process, I learned that people enjoy backpacking for the experience, freedom and connections they make throughout their travels. Additionally, I found out that Backpackers want a product that can help them pack with the least amount of effort given.
Affinity & Empathy Mapping:
The next step of my research was to gather all of the data and make sense of it by creating an affinity map. I looked through all of my notes and re-listened to the audio recordings of my interviewees. I wrote out on sticky notes user insights, user quotes, user needs, user demographics and more. I then organized the data according to key themes: frustrations, packing process, what kind of backpack they pack in, and more.
To further put myself in the user’s shoes, I created an empathy map that defined two main user persona. I considered what they say, do, how they would feel, what they would hear, and their pains and gains. This was such a helpful exercise since it made me understand the user better. It also gave me an idea of what kind of product to design.
I combined my findings to create one user persona that would benefit using Travel Paks App.
1) The Travel Blogger - Michael is a self-employed, travel blogger. He has a social media following and shares his experiences online. He is constantly on the move and hates wasting time figuring out what to pack. He desires to find a product that can make his life easier.
With this user persona I created, I was able to revisit my design choices throughout the rest of the the process. I often thought about what Michael would think about and it was really helpful to seek a different opinion than my own.
To understand my competition, I downloaded three backpacking checklist apps: TrekPack, One Bag, and Packing List. I then detailed the strengths and weaknesses of each app using Nielson Norman Group’s 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design. The three heuristics I used are:
1) Visibility of System Status - "The system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within reasonable time" (nngroup.com, 2005).
2) Match between Systems and the Real World - "The system should speak the users' language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order" (nngroup.com, 2005).
3) User Control & Freedom - "Users often choose system functions by mistake and will need a clearly marked "emergency exit" to leave the unwanted state without having to go through an extended dialogue. Support undo and redo" (nngroup.com, 2005).
Here is the summary of my findings:
The state of the systems status in all of the apps is well conveyed and keeps users informed of what’s going on, through appropriate feedback at a reasonable time.
The match between systems and the real world in all of the apps follows real world conventions, making information easy to understand and read. Language is user friendly, non-technical and information appears in natural and logical order.
TrekPak Add Location
One Bag Add Trip
One Bag Add Items
Packing List Select Date of Travel
Packing List Add Items
The user control & freedom in Packing List App lacks the function to delete a checklist. The user has to go through an extended process to figure out how to delete their checklist. It seems as if the user does not have the freedom to delete their checklist since their is no button found to delete the checklist. This is an area of improvement needed in Packing List App. Users should have the freedom to delete, exit and leave an unwanted state as they wish. In regards to TrekPack and One Bag, there was no need in improvement.
No Delete Function / Button Found On Packing List Checklist Page.
No Delete Button Found On Overflow Menu.
No Delete Button Found When Selecting More.
How Might We Statements:
The last step of the research phase was to create “How Might We…” statements which provided me with the basis to start defining solutions. During this exercise I took the challenges noted during the research phase and turned them into opportunities to design.
How Might We…
Help relieve the frustration and stress of spending too much time packing and deciding what to wear?
Decrease the stress and anxiety packing last minute?
Facilitate an environment of organization and efficiency?
Improve the all around experience backpackers have while traveling with the use of this product?
As soon as I started writing these statements, I was filled with ideas for what's to come..
User Stories & MVP:
The next step in the UX process was to define the User Stories. I brainstormed every functional task the user may have and paired it with an outcome. I categorized these outcomes into high, medium, and low priority as well as establishing the MVP and what the next release will be for the app. Some of the main tasks the users needed to complete is setting up their account info, profile and following the step by step process of their backpacking checklist.
After working on the user stories, I decided to move on to the sitemap. I wanted to verify that the content of the app was nicely structured and that I was heading towards the right direction. The aim of the sitemap was to make sure that all the key features were housed together and that it would be easy to use.
To further relate and understand the user, I designed a user flow process. This process involved thinking about every step of their experience using Travel Paks App from onboarding to finish. This flow will be the blueprint to create sketches and prototypes.
Sketches & Guerrilla Usability Testing
Sketching really helped me visualize and discover features, elements, and icons, without worrying too much about the details of my sketch. I also found it easier to understand the user's needs and behavior. Once I completed the sketches, I conducted a guerilla usability test with some users and quickly found out areas that I needed to improve. Users were confused to follow the 6 step process of the backpacking checklist. Users found it unclear as to what step was next and suggested that it would be helpful to have a loading bar. Users also mentioned remove Step 3 (Camping) since it's similar to Step 2 (Backpacking).
After receiving great feedback from my users, I adjusted the sketches and proceeded to create the wireframe design. Every screen from user flows to design layouts was created by me. It really helped me see the bigger picture by showing me the main chunks of content, the outline and layout of structure, and UI elements.
Once my wireframes were complete, it was time to create a styleguide for Travel Paks.
My product would include:
Captivating imagery that was rich in color and depth.
3 primary colors that embrace creativity, excitement and dependability.
A neo-grotesque sans-serif developed by Google: Roboto
A logo that is designed to look adventurous and rugged.
High Fidelity Mockup
The next step would be to create high fidelity mockups. During this stage, I was able to fill in the details of the low-fi wireframe and get as close as possible to the final stage of the product.
Prototyping, Usability Testing & Iterations:
TITLE OF THE CALLOUT BLOCK
Using Invision, I created prototypes from the high fidelity mockups for users to test out. With these prototypes built and linked to Invision, I conducted 2 usability tests.
In my first round of testing, I learned that users had trouble reading, "Your Packing Checklist" and " My Checklist" due to the image background. I decided to include padding between the image and text so users have an easier time reading the texts.
In my second round of testing, I discovered that users were able to navigate the prototype easily and understood the process of creating their checklist. However, they did mention to make minor changes on the placement of icons, loading bar and alignment of text.
With the feedback that was provided, I made final tweaks to the prototypes to finalize the final product of Travel Paks App.
The goal of this capstone project was to create an efficient, fast, user friendly product that would help backpackers. By asking the right questions, being empathetic, and listening to user feedback, I was able to create a product that solved pain points and can make the packing experience simpler. As far as the future of Travel Paks App, I hope this tool can help as many people as possible to deliver a highly intuitive, stress-free experience.
Thank you for your time!