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App Design

Designing a boredom-busting roadtrip app


Young adults want ways to stay engaged with the road and fellow passengers throughout their trip. Current audio tour apps could provide that entertainment and common ground. But most are confined to specific areas like national parks.

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Offer them more of an opportunity to connect with the people they're driving with and places they're driving by. Using an audio tour guide that tells them about route-specific landmarks and points of interest.


Driving is still one of the most popular forms of travel – for many reasons.

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Americans said they would travel last summer

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Americans plan to drive 500 miles from home

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of respondents say road trips are one of the best ways for families to bond

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Americans would take a longer route to enjoy the scenery

User Interviews

I interviewed 5 people ages 22 - 31 with these objectives:

  • Learn how young adults go on road trips

  • Discover where they feel there are challenges and opportunities

“I've had a lot of delayed planes and canceled flights recently. So I'm ... driving as often as possible.”

"We like road trips. We are a road trip family."

“I think sometimes it's hard to find new things to engage with.”

“I always appreciate the different landscapes during road trips.”

“I personally love doing a road trip."


The survey aimed to further contextualize the research and user interview findings. I sourced participants from Reddit r/SampleSize.

Participants requirements:

  • Live in the U.S.

  • Ages 20 - 35

  • Went on a road trip in the last 2 years

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A majority of participants said boredom was the worst part of a road trip

Nearly all participants pass time in the car by observing the landscape and listening to music

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Affinity Map Findings

After developing the affinity map, patterns emerged – especially when it came to the apps participants used on road trips.

80% use Audible to listen to audio books

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All participants used Spotify for music and 80% used it for podcasts

60% used Waze to navigate or avoid speed traps

80% used Google Maps to navigate and find restaurants

20% used Apple Maps to navigate

User Persona

Emma Miller is a composite character of all the qualities and tendencies I observed in my user interviews.

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Feature Prioritization 

To brainstorm app solutions, I listed existing and potential options. Next, I mapped those features to compare their complexity to their potential impact.

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Value Proposition

After identifying the solutions I’d pursue for MVP, I was ready to craft Skipper’s value proposition.

Skipper is a travel app that helps road-trippers further engage with their surroundings and find more common ground with friends and family on trips.

User Journey

Then, I mapped Emma’s path discovering and using Skipper on her roadtrip to Jackson Hole, WY.


I created a user flow. Then, I sketched wireframes to develop these prototypes.

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Usability Tests

I ran 5 usability tests to access Skipper's onboarding flow. 

Tasks I assessed included:

  • Sign up and successfully complete the onboarding process

  • Select a destination and interact with the points of interest along the route

The results revealed the following optimizations:

Lower cognitive load by removing the option to create an account with Facebook

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Connect the Skipper app with Waze, Google Maps or Apple Maps

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Ability to remove and filter points of interest on the route

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Add a key on the maps page to understand different icons

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Improve clarity on the ‘Ready to go?’ screen

High-Fidelity Prototype

You'll find all these optimizations implemented in the latest prototype: 


The former journalist in me believes even seemingly normal places or things have an interesting backstory. And based on my user interviews, people want to hear them.


That was confirmed when, after using the Skipper prototype, one interviewee said they like the app concept better than Waze's point of interest functionality.

"I like learning facts because the next time I drive by, I'll be like, 'Hey that's Loveland and they send 100,000 Valentine's Day [cards].'"

It was gratifying to experience first-hand how using the design process helps meet users' needs.

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