This case study was done as part of the UX Design Immersive I did at General Assembly. I was part of a three person UX design team and we were tasked with picking a brand that we liked or admired and then create a new product that solved a real problem. We chose CouchSurfing as our brand. CouchSurfing is a way for people to travel around the world and meet locals by staying at one another's homes for free. TrailSafe is a travel safety application (iOS) that provides users with a one stop shop which allows them to check in with specific relatives and friends (through any number of channels: Text, Email, Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter) as well as a place to store important travel documentation and information that is essential to carefree travel.
To establish the competitive environment into which Couchsurfing would be entering, we surveyed a number of Couchsurfing’s direct competitors and their features (in regard to safety), as well as their market position. In order to establish whether this was indeed a product/service that users require we formulated a User Survey. The questions allowed us to identify potential candidates for user interviews. We ensured that a portion of these were users of Couchsurfing. We selected respondents we wished to bring in for interviews and scheduled appointments and carried out 9 in depth user interviews. We posed questions with the aim of finding out more about users travel related behaviors, experiences and pain points. This helped us to identify any patterns and common themes, helping us to further identify the most important features, and the situations in which they would be used. With the insights and quotes from our user interviews we carried out an affinity mapping exercise. This helped us to identify trends and patterns in the information. We grouped these common themes and used them to create primary, secondary and tertiary personas. We used these to help in our design and ideation process. We also developed a storyboard in order to better illustrate user scenario in which our primary target persona might use the TrailSafe. We performed a feature prioritization exercise to establish which features that we had identified would be prioritized in our app.
Findings & Solutions
Couchsurfing has a strong brand presence among free and easy backpackers and those looking to travel on a shoestring. However, many potential users are turned off by the perceived insecurity of Couchsurfing. With a new ‘Travel Security’ product that allows users to check in and store all of their important travel documentation, Couchsurfing could increase its membership and at the same time expand its target market, while providing users with a one-stop product for all their travel needs. The key takeaways were:
Create a way for users to update their itinerary and check in efficiently with loved ones.
Find fellow couchsurfers in each city who are available for hosting.
Potential for a safety alert system.
Scanning documents and credit cards in a secure location is important in case of loss or theft.
My team began with hand sketches and then translated those sketches into high fidelity wireframes. Those wireframes were used to created an InVision prototype. Based on user testing done with the prototype and meetings with the creative director and business stakeholders we iterated on our original designs.