Travel98 is a popular Taiwanese travel website that accumulates blog posts and provides a platform for Japan lovers and travelers to share their experiences. This time I've tackled a much needed user request - the mobile app.
As the app caters to young adults, I was out to keep it friendly and fun and make it easy to find whats needed, when needed.
Context & Challenges
As a new tool for an established website, the app's features were more or less predefined. Considering the more and more crowded Taiwanese travel app market, we wanted to push the brand forward to set itself apart in terms of quality and ease of use.
It was important not to alienate the user from the familiar web interface and find the balance between adapting the website's features and solving the same problems for the mobile platform. Oh, did I mention it's all in Chinese?
After analyzing the market situation, with new travel apps popping up almost every week, I needed to find a clear focus and purpose for our app. After discussions with the client and his team, it was clear that the main purpose should be to assist users in planning their trip, before they actually travel.
We then started to define the "must have" and "nice to have" features and tried to keep it as lean as possible. It seems that (especially in the Asian market) travel apps try to pack as many features as possible and the user experience ultimately suffers because of it. So I knew by utilizing lots of white space and crafting a simple and beautiful app, Travel98 had a great chance to stand apart from the mass and become successful.
Goals & Objectives:
The user should be able to create travel itineraries easily and pain free.The user should be able to add/remove/edit itinerary items and/or whole days.The user should be able to easily see a whole trip at a glance.The app should have a place for recommended coupons that show according the POI's the user plans to visit.The user should be able to engage in other ways than just creating an itinerary and ideally interact with other users.
A clean and simple app that's not overloaded with features. Simple and clear use of gestures that for the majority are located in the bottom half of the screen. With the use of three main bottom tabs, we could omit the use of an extensive menu and complicated navigation.
I've designed an itinerary list with expandable and collapsable days and a fly-out menu for a simple and intuitive way to add to it. With a color coded timeline, the user always knows the current kind of POI and minimal options allow for a focused and fun user experience.
The app generates its revenue trough coupons, so it was only fair to allocate a full tab for it. Users can either browse and see nearby offers, or get suggestions based on POI's in their itinerary.
For now, the app features a simplified MVP version of the profile page. We plan to expand this in the future and add incentives for users to interact with each other and use the app more often. Like how much time has passed since my last trip and how much longer to my next.
The MVP version is on the App Store and we'll continue to fine tune and improve the current version. Parallel to that, we're working on the full version with extended profile and other small but important adjustments.