Design a travel planning Mobile app.
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in Product Design by | 694 views

3 Answers

+1 vote

I would follow the below structure to answer this question.  

1. Clarifying the scope.  

  • WHO: TA for this travel planning app?  Elders?  People amongst 20s-40s?  General users (similar to TA?)?  
  • WHERE: Is this tailored for world wide or for a specific market, like Taiwan? 
  • WHAT: Does this planning include purchasing airline, transportation tickets?  And hotels?  Or it's just trip planning tool?  Planning as in prior to depart from your home country or when you are in foreign country.  
  • WHY: What are the metrics and goals? 
  • HOW: Are we designing for a MVP or are we doing incremental design for an existing app? 

2. Check with interviewer with the above questions and make assumptions.  

For the sake of the exercise, I would make the following assumptions (provided with rationales).  

TA: 50s plus.  Reason I am designing an app for this segment of users are: 1) they have more free time thus can travel more and time to travel for each time is longer.  2) they compared with younger generations don't have a lot of ideas where to scout for various travel planning sites, therefore can have more advantage here.  3) they are retired hence have more disposable income (ideally).  

And I will assume this app is for worldwide market which focuses on planning trip before the trip happens (not on-the-go) and will cover booking transportation/hotel tickets as it will have much bigger impact (considering many countries have aging issues) and reach.  I also will assume this is a new app so I will start with a MVP and go from there.  

Therefore the metrics that I think are important to measure will be, acquisition & activation at this stage will I will dive deep in later exercise.  

3. What are the use cases?  
This may be anecdotal however taking experience from arranging travel plans for older family members, I can summarise the following.  
a) They often hit up Google to search for a place that they are interested.  
b) As alternatives, they would also check out books from bookstores for tips of where to go.  
c) They find several locations they like to visit.  They jog them down.  
d) They ask their children or family members for help in planning the logistics.  
e) They ask travel agencies to help them plan or just go on a tour that visit similar locations.  
f)  They book airline tickets online or through agencies.  

4. What are the painpoints and what I prioritise?  
a) Searching for suitable locations to travel is definitely an issue.  They resort to different mediums (a, b) to find desirable travel spots but most of the spots are not written for elders as most blog posts or articles are written by younger and tailored for younger folks.  What does it mean for suitable?  Are these places easy to travel (meaning not going to take a toll on the body)?  Questions like that will concern this group of people.  
b) Planning for logistics is the 2nd most painful painpoint in several areas 1) how long does it take from point a to point b?  2) what is the more suitable transportation to travel with? 3) where are the suitable places to stay? Finding answers to these 3 questions usually requires more technical know-how (such as putting pins on Google map and finding better transportation tools).  
I would focus the above two first prior to the other use cases such as booking airline tickets since I think once we offer the solutions (the places to travel, stay, transport with), booking will be a lot easier and there are many travel sites that can do that.  

5. Design for solutions
a) Searching for suitable locations to travel

People that are 50+ are more likely to be intrigued by beautiful, big photos compared to lengthy article/blog post.  Therefore I would like to design a pinterest like portal that displays each country in beautiful photo so once they make a selection of a country, they can easily see the photos of the places.  This is high level look and feel of the app.  

Besides choosing places, I would also rate places by ease of travel (city, light walking, heavy walking, hiking, etc) as this will be hugely important for this group of people to decide.  

b) Planning for logistics
1 & 2) Travel from point a to point b.  This will depend on ease of travel selected above.  If you want lighter travel, less walk.  We may prioritise these results over the others so we would show shuttle buses, trains over other transportation tools such as buses, metros.  
3) Suitable places to stay.  On this app, we would display the family friendly tag as well as others so that the elders can easily see their options.  

b) Creating a trip
You can either select your own places, or there are curated trips for you to complete your own trip. 

c) Some key advantages
Since the app is targeting acquisition and activation for now and also we are running for MVP first, there are several things I can do.  
For acquisition, I would run a Facebook ad campaign since this group of users may be on Facebook quite a lot.  And start with blog posts/content/Facebook posts that tailor to top x countries for this group in local market and so while searching in Google, it may lead to the app.  [I won't go in full detail about this since it's concerning more on marketing side] 

For activation, I would let users browse without signing up.  Ways to prompt them to sign up: 1) They see friends of similar age have signed up (through Facebook etc), 2) Offer them coupon code for hotels if you become new member.  Once they are activated, they would also see where their friends have gone to and their pictures.  

Since the TA is for older people, I would need to make sure the UX is really good and onboarding is easy.  To tie back to the painpoints above, perhaps I would let them select their activity level (just like walking, i go to gym everyday, etc), the countries they like to visit, etc to know their preferences and propose better suggestions.  

6. Metrics.  
I would launch an MVP focusing on local market first and there are severl metrics I will measure.  
#How many people hit my content site/FB site
#How many people download my app (leading form these sites)
#Percentage of people browsed but not signed up
#Percentage of people browsed and signed up
#Percentage of people successfully created a trip (Northstar) 

by (15 points)
It's hard to see why you would have 50+ users as the primary user group for a travel app (given that they are less likely to use apps in the first place), unless you believe that other user segments already have their needs taken care of by existing apps (and you choose not to compete).

If I'm the interviewer, I'd probably probe a little bit here to at least give you a chance to pick another target segment, which will give you a better chance to do well for the remainder of the task. And, as a minimum, for you to do a better job justifying why you pick this group.

You missed important painpoints, including how to actually book the trip, and how to keep track of booking details (not sure if you are assuming someone else is doing this).

You would want to ask clarifying questions at the start to understand if you should assume that the app is only providing travel advisory and bookings happen somewhere else.
0 votes


Many tools exist for travel planning including booking hotels, flights and attractions. Yet they are very disparate and therefore they need lot of work to complete an itinerary. Even though most travellers face the same problem, some are more able to deal with than others. For e.g. typical types of travellers are -

Budget travellers - seeking to travel on a budget, willing to compromise on hotel and travel arrangements

Experience seekers - Travellers seeking new kinds of experiences

Family travellers - dealing with all the issues of travelling with young kids

Young Adults - travelling with lot of flexibility, changing plans on the go

Senior Citizens - they have unique needs

Business travellers - I am ignoring for now, considering that there are existing providers for enterorise providers and if this is my first foray, it would be better for me to learn about the travel industry first.

Of all of the above, the Family travellers with kids seem the most underserved - they have lot of things to juggle and keep an eye on to have a good trip. They are usually pressed for time and struggle with multiple sites tools coordination. Yet they would be willing to pay more to have peace of mind, and avoid the hassle of figuring out a viable itinerary. So assuming I am developing a new app - not relevant to any of my existing portfolio, for a starting point, I would focus on these users. They are a pretty large segment of users and thus seem like a good starting point.  

Needs of Families With Kids

User Journey:

With each season, vacation discussions happen --> Ideas solicited from friends, / wishlists / internally - high level research on what might work - overwhelmed by too many things and drop off - re-engage after many days pass - deeper research - narrow down based on budget / attraction - actual booking what to visit, where to stay, how to go around -  and the travel experience itself.  

Travel Ideas:

1. I need to get some good ideas for travel that works for my family - both adults and kids depending on their age. 

2. I want to quickly decide what will and would not work for me - based on what the attraction provides, the cost of travel, good times to visit

Planning & Purchasing

3. I am overwhelmed by how much time I need to spend on figuring out where I should stay, whether it has pools - which my kids like, or whether I can use public transport or not - or what other options are there. 

4. I have travelled many times completely surprised by the weather and it has not been fun for my little kids. 

5. I want to have a mix of activities - for adults and kids - not to spend days in musuems only. 

6. I also want to have a good itinerary - so that I am not taking on too much in 1 day and the places I visit make sense. I dont want to be completely exhausted at the end of the day.

7. I want to get local help at an attraction so that I am not blindsided.

On the trip  

8. I am carrying a baby stroller and dont want to have take it down a flight of stairs. or drag it for long. Walking directions are really important for me. 

9. I dont want to guess about my transportation - not sure where I can rely on public transport, not sure if I can drive around with my US license and knowledge, or attractions where a drive is needed. 

10. I want to be able to reach someone readily to get answers if I am not sure while on the travel


Prioritizing the needs above for the solutions, I want to help families with #1 travel ideas, #2 Deciding and #Planning. For now, I will keep On the trip out of scope for a future version.

Market: I will assume my target market is US & Canada to begin with.


 Solution (Complexity, Impact)Recommended Free / Paid
Travel Ideas
Guided experience to choose destinations based on preferences, season, etc. (Medium, High)
Wishlist, Friend Recommendations from social networks (Medium, Medium)
Editorial / User reviews of destinations (Medium, Medium)
Immersive 3D tour of attractions (Medium, High)
Sample itineraries and likely budget (Low, High)
Refine experience - budget, duration, attraction interests (Medium, High)
Editorial reviews of attractions personalized for families (Medium, Medium)
Build PDF itinerary -  itinerary creation, visit planning based on preference (Medium, High)
Recommended areas of stay (Low, High)
Recommended public transport options (Low, High)
Required Maps  (Low, High)
On call concierge - itinerary (High, High)
Help with purchasing all tickets or equivalent (High, High)



Success is people adopting the app for planning travel on a long term basis for all of their travel planning needs.

1. # of unique users creating an itinerary every month

2. # of unique users returning to create itinerary every quarter

3. # of unique users returning to create itinerary every 6 months

4. # of unique users who are paying for the itinerary every month - payment is per trip - based on complexity of trip, number of days, destinations   



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