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.
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.
Americans said they would travel last summer
Americans plan to drive 500 miles from home
of respondents say road trips are one of the best ways for families to bond
Americans would take a longer route to enjoy the scenery
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."
Live in the U.S.
Ages 20 - 35
Went on a road trip in the last 2 years
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
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
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
Emma Miller is a composite character of all the qualities and tendencies I observed in my user interviews.
To brainstorm app solutions, I listed existing and potential options. Next, I mapped those features to compare their complexity to their potential impact.
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.
Then, I mapped Emma’s path discovering and using Skipper on her roadtrip to Jackson Hole, WY.
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
Connect the Skipper app with Waze, Google Maps or Apple Maps
Ability to remove and filter points of interest on the route
Add a key on the maps page to understand different icons
Improve clarity on the ‘Ready to go?’ screen
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.