The idea for this app was conceived while reflecting on some recent travel. This fall, I backpacked through Europe for 6 weeks. I was planning on going on a tight budget, so I did a lot of research on budgeting before leaving. I consulted many a travel blog and made a hefty spreadsheet, but was still pretty off when it came to the realities of my spending while traveling. Luckily, I was way under budget, so I was able and lucky enough to extend my trip for two more weeks. A lot of the incredible experiences I had while traveling were much less expensive than I expected. This got me thinking -- how much more travel could I be experiencing if I actually knew how little it would cost me? It’s a common anecdote: you see someone on Facebook or Instagram traveling the world and think “how the heck do they afford that?” What if it was really easy to find out how you could afford it?
I wanted to create a one-stop shop for travel budget planning: what I wish I had when planning my trip. A place where wanderlusters could go to figure out how to make it work for their next adventure. Thus, I introduce you to an app concept: Wanderfund.
The app would be a combination of travel budget planning and monitoring. The big idea is that, as users track their travel spending, their spending data can be turned around to help other travelers. For example, Alice has identified herself as comfortable with Hostels and Airbnb’s and likes to be frugal with food. Ben, however, is a huge foodie and puts a priority on splurging on food while traveling. Their travel spending data can then be flipped around and combined to help Brooke, a foodie hostel-goer, budget her travels. Everyone has different priorities when traveling, budgeting should reflect that.
The user journey has two possible entry points, as illustrated below. A user can be introduced to the app when in search of a planning resource or a tracking resource. There is then opportunity for a cycle of both use paths.
The app would feature a questionnaire that leads to a Travel Profile, a list of selected and suggested destinations with price breakdowns, route planning, and spending tracking with breakdowns.
The market for this app would be the demographic that was highlighted in Airbnb’s study. Millennials: ages 22 to 36, desire to travel, wide range of income, traveling alone, with a partner, or with friends, and somewhat of a planner. From this knowledge, I created 3 personas to base my experience design on.
The app user flow is illustrated below. A green dot on a modal represents an interface that I chose to fully design.
From the user flow, I created wireframes and mapped out the user experience by screen. You can check out an example of my first round of wireframes below.
I iterated on my wireframes several times as new thoughts and ideas flowed during the design process. I focused on content organization, functionality and prioritization through these iterations. As this is only in concept stage, I did an informal mini-user test and asked a friend to walk through the wires and provide feedback on her intuitions. When I felt good about these adjustments I moved on to UI design, found below. Had this been a larger scale project, I would have made a complete set of wires and made a functional prototype for user testing with Invision, something I gained experience in this summer with Care.com.
My next steps in this process would be to create a functional prototype and add animations to the UI design.
Note: Icons used in this UI created by the wonderful Squid Ink.