Travel Logistics App: iPlanit
Contribution: Interaction Design
Deliverables: sketches, wireframes, prototype, usability testing
It takes a lot of work to make travel arrangements. You have to plan for so many different things - lodging, attractions, restaurants, travel, logistics. What I have always found to be annoying is that there is no easy way to plan and execute the logistics. It usually ends up being some combination of printed out and phone-accessed reservations and maps and schedules. If something goes wrong, say bad weather, or tickets sold out, then you have to scramble to adjust your plans to make the most of your day. This is a frustrating and complex process going back and forth between a browser, a maps/nav app, and a notes app.
I will take on this design problem, and propose an app that handles the logistics for you. It will be able to dynamically adjust to let you know which of your arrangements still work and suggest alternatives if you want to change up you plans. It will be able to pull in traffic and weather data to keep you informed, so you can always make the right decision. Traveling should be about exploring and becoming immersed in the experience, it shouldn't be about logistics. The focus will be on itinerary management, but there will be room for a consolidated notes area and a map view with paths and navigation.
I began the design process with framing the problem. I wanted to make sure that I was asking the right questions so that I would have the right focus. Because of the constraints of the project, setting a proper scope was also really important. From here, I made dozens and dozens of sketches to get every thought I had out on paper. I had a brainstorming session with a small group of fellow students. We each helped the other brainstorm through possible design solutions.
From my sketches and the brainstorming session, I came up with a concept map to visualize my sketches and show relationships between ideas at a high level.
I created scenarios to describe use cases and get a better understanding of how my app might be used. By seeing how someone might actually use my design, I was able to see if there were any actions or features that I might not have considered during the earlier phases. I used the scenarios to sketch a basic storyboard.
After determining how my target audience might use my app, I went into prototype mode. I went through a rough wireframe, then a paper prototype, and then on to digital prototypes. Above is a couple of screens from my first digital prototype. There's still a lot of work to be done, but this gives a basic look at how I envision the itinerary page. At this point, I'm setting up the interactions, so I will go back and add in the visual details soon. I tested each round of prototypes with some classmates, and used their feedback to fuel the next iteration.
My plans for the next round include ways to improve time management through better representation. I'll add a vertical timeline on the side. I'm also considering making the itinerary boxes scaled to length of activity instead of going with a standard size. So either the boxes will be scaled to time or the timeline will be dynamic to match the itinerary. I'll have to see which works better. I'm also considering adding in transit boxes between itinerary items to make it more clear how travel will impact your day.
Below is an early version of the prototype. There is still much work to do, but you can get a sense of what I want to accomplish with the design. I'll keep iterating, moving toward a finished product. In the next versions, I'll make sure that all the interactions I want are there and are intuitive.