A photo of two hands holding passports

Daredevil a travel app case study

Mobile App
UX Design
UI Design
Daredevil is a travel activity app designed to help young travelers get  out of their comfort zones and create authentic travel experiences.
Role: Research, Design
Team: Me, Gautham Kanthala, Sara Garcia, Nastasia Golovina
Duration: 6 weeks

What were we asked to do?

For this class project we recieved a fictional brief from the company Lonely Planet, known for their travel guides.
“Lonely Planet wants a new app targeted towards Gen-Z travelers. Their  intended target audience is low budget travelers ($20/day or less), ages  18-24, who are traveling for 3 months or more. They are mostly  interested in people traveling with friends and mostly Europeans and  Australians.”
“We are looking for an idea for a native app that would be the digital companion piece to our books, apps and website.”
“We want it to fit nicely into our eco-system and we want something that gets our users into the real world, not stuck on their phones”

What do we know about our target audience?

Through research we found that our target audience of Gen-Z backpackers want  to travel with purpose and seek opportunities to engage with humanity on an authentic level. We also found that they are very turned off by anything that feels canned, corporate or pre-packaged.
In a study by Virtuoso 80% of Gen-Z respondents said they weren't interested in taking the tried-and-tested routes or visiting the places that everyone else has been. 49% said that they valued local cultural experiences over nightlife and other experiences. In another study by Contiki 98% of Gen-Z respondents said that experiences, including travel, are he most important thing in life, and 86% said the want their next travel experience to be unique.
Our target audience’s goals for travel are to:
1) Step outside their comfort zones,
2) Engage with the local culture, and
3) Have unique once-in-a-lifetime experiences
Our next step is to gather more insights directly from our target audience.

What are people saying?

In addition to research, we conducted user interviews with 25 young  travelers to gain insight into the highs and lows of their travel  experiences.
A photo of one of our interviewees
“…since we’re in a group we tend to do group stuff like going to clubs, but I feel like I’m missing out on actually connecting with the locals”
“The most memorable part of traveling was when we discovered something on our own and just did it without planning”
A photo of one of our interviewees
A photo of one of our interviewees
“If I can’t come up with something to do that day I end up just staying in my hotel, which sucks.”
The user interviews told us that young backpackers value spontaneous experiences over planned ones, but they often struggle to find something to do. Our key takeaways are:
1) They don’t connect with local culture as much as they want to,
2) And they prefer spontaneous activities over planned ones,
3) But they have trouble coming up with things to do.

How might we help Gen-Z have unique and spontaneous travel experiences?

We conducted two brainstorming sessions to come up with a creative solution to our How Might We statement that answers the brief. We also aim to address the problems we identified in our research and user interviews. Our final app concept is:

Daredevil: Daily challenges for a more authentic travel experience

This concept answers our "how might we statement" by:
Encouraging organic interactions, and off-the-beaten-path exploration,
with unique dares delivered once per day.
“Find a store that sells traditional clothing from the region, and try something on!”
Daredevil is designed to solve the problems of Gen-Z travelers we identified without getting in the way of their travels. Our goal is to provide the maximum impact on a user’s travel experience with the least screen time.

Step 1: Embark!

Daredevil technically works anywhere, but it’s best used while you’re traveling!

Step 2: Get a dare.

Daredevil provides the user with a new fun dare every day, intended to get you out of your comfort zone and into memorable experiences!

Step 3: Be daring!

Go out into the world and complete your dare! Make friends, explore the city, try something new!

Step 4: Report back. (optional)

Next time you open the app, you can record an emoji reaction representing how the dare went! Or you can simply skip and continue to the next dare.

What's our competition?

Before beginning design work, I did research on competitor experiences, looking both at other apps an digital experiences, as well as real-life experiences such as hostels. Here’s a few notes on some of the competitors I looked at:
Hostel-led activities are the baseline experience that our app is looking to complement. Travelers unsure of what to do in a new city can easily meet other travelers and see some tourist attractions with their hostel. And it doesn’t require you to use your phone at all! However, not all hostels provide this, and the experiences are routine by nature.
AirBnB experiences has options for off-the-beaten path exploration, and can connect users to both locals and other travelers, depending on the experience.
Dare Photo dares users to take a picture of a randomly selected object in their area. It’s great as a tool to get users to explore, but it doesn’t encourage actual interactions with locals.

How did we build it?

With the concept decided, the next step was to start wireframing and building the user flow diagram. We worked together to brainstorm and sketch out our initial screens:
While we sketched out our initial screens and before we began creating our low-fidelity wireframes, I created user flows for the screens we created, like this user flow for onboarding and completing a dare:
User flow diagram
After the user flows, sitemap, and the sketches of all our screens were completed, we created low-fidelity wireframes of all the screens, and presented our results.

What's the experience like?

Using the low fidelity wireframes as a template, I completed the UI design myself. Here's the finished product:
When the user first opens the app to the home screen, they are presented with the dare of the day, along with a timer showing the time left until the next day's dare.
The next time the user visits the app after locking their screen, the app prompts the user, asking them if they finished the dare. If not, the user is returned to the home screen. If they have finished the dare, they move on the the reaction prompt.
In the reaction prompt the user must choose an emoji that represents their experience completing the dare. The reaction gets added to the user's calendar, which logs all the dares they've completed.
In the dare calendar the user can see all the dare's they've completed recently and their reactions. Tapping one of the emoji's shows the text of the dare for that day.
Once the user has completed a few dares, they can generate a story by selecting a number of dares (5, 10, or 15) depending on how many they've completed in the last month.
Daredevil uses your emoji reactions and the text content of each dare to generate a story describing your experiences! The story is plain text and can be shared to any social media app.

What did we learn?

User experience extends beyond the bounds of our device screens; while the app exists in our phones, the experience we are concerned with is the whole travel experience, not just delivering a fun app. This project really challenged us to consider the travel experience as a whole when coming up with a solution to our user's problems.
Photo of some post-it notes during our brainstorming sessionA photo of our ecosystem analysis on a whiteboard
Our research, user interviews, stakeholder conversations, ecosystem analysis, and competitive analysis each had a huge impact on our final product. During the process we went through many iterations of different potential solutions to our client's problem, adapting to the new information. Our final design looked vastly different than our first ideas.
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