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asked in Product Design by (115 points) | 144 views

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I would follow the below structure to answer this question.  

1. Clarifying the scope.  

  • WHO: TA for this travel planning app?  Elders?  People amongst 20s-40s?  General users (similar to Booking.com TA?)?  
  • WHERE: Is this tailored for world wide or for a specific market, like Taiwan? 
  • WHAT: Does this planning include purchasing airline, transportation tickets?  And hotels?  Or it's just trip planning tool?  Planning as in prior to depart from your home country or when you are in foreign country.  
  • WHY: What are the metrics and goals? 
  • HOW: Are we designing for a MVP or are we doing incremental design for an existing app? 

2. Check with interviewer with the above questions and make assumptions.  

For the sake of the exercise, I would make the following assumptions (provided with rationales).  

TA: 50s plus.  Reason I am designing an app for this segment of users are: 1) they have more free time thus can travel more and time to travel for each time is longer.  2) they compared with younger generations don't have a lot of ideas where to scout for various travel planning sites, therefore can have more advantage here.  3) they are retired hence have more disposable income (ideally).  

And I will assume this app is for worldwide market which focuses on planning trip before the trip happens (not on-the-go) and will cover booking transportation/hotel tickets as it will have much bigger impact (considering many countries have aging issues) and reach.  I also will assume this is a new app so I will start with a MVP and go from there.  

Therefore the metrics that I think are important to measure will be, acquisition & activation at this stage will I will dive deep in later exercise.  

3. What are the use cases?  
This may be anecdotal however taking experience from arranging travel plans for older family members, I can summarise the following.  
a) They often hit up Google to search for a place that they are interested.  
b) As alternatives, they would also check out books from bookstores for tips of where to go.  
c) They find several locations they like to visit.  They jog them down.  
d) They ask their children or family members for help in planning the logistics.  
e) They ask travel agencies to help them plan or just go on a tour that visit similar locations.  
f)  They book airline tickets online or through agencies.  

4. What are the painpoints and what I prioritise?  
a) Searching for suitable locations to travel is definitely an issue.  They resort to different mediums (a, b) to find desirable travel spots but most of the spots are not written for elders as most blog posts or articles are written by younger and tailored for younger folks.  What does it mean for suitable?  Are these places easy to travel (meaning not going to take a toll on the body)?  Questions like that will concern this group of people.  
b) Planning for logistics is the 2nd most painful painpoint in several areas 1) how long does it take from point a to point b?  2) what is the more suitable transportation to travel with? 3) where are the suitable places to stay? Finding answers to these 3 questions usually requires more technical know-how (such as putting pins on Google map and finding better transportation tools).  
I would focus the above two first prior to the other use cases such as booking airline tickets since I think once we offer the solutions (the places to travel, stay, transport with), booking will be a lot easier and there are many travel sites that can do that.  

5. Design for solutions
a) Searching for suitable locations to travel

People that are 50+ are more likely to be intrigued by beautiful, big photos compared to lengthy article/blog post.  Therefore I would like to design a pinterest like portal that displays each country in beautiful photo so once they make a selection of a country, they can easily see the photos of the places.  This is high level look and feel of the app.  

Besides choosing places, I would also rate places by ease of travel (city, light walking, heavy walking, hiking, etc) as this will be hugely important for this group of people to decide.  

b) Planning for logistics
1 & 2) Travel from point a to point b.  This will depend on ease of travel selected above.  If you want lighter travel, less walk.  We may prioritise these results over the others so we would show shuttle buses, trains over other transportation tools such as buses, metros.  
3) Suitable places to stay.  On this app, we would display the family friendly tag as well as others so that the elders can easily see their options.  

b) Creating a trip
You can either select your own places, or there are curated trips for you to complete your own trip. 

c) Some key advantages
Since the app is targeting acquisition and activation for now and also we are running for MVP first, there are several things I can do.  
For acquisition, I would run a Facebook ad campaign since this group of users may be on Facebook quite a lot.  And start with blog posts/content/Facebook posts that tailor to top x countries for this group in local market and so while searching in Google, it may lead to the app.  [I won't go in full detail about this since it's concerning more on marketing side] 

For activation, I would let users browse without signing up.  Ways to prompt them to sign up: 1) They see friends of similar age have signed up (through Facebook etc), 2) Offer them coupon code for hotels if you become new member.  Once they are activated, they would also see where their friends have gone to and their pictures.  

Since the TA is for older people, I would need to make sure the UX is really good and onboarding is easy.  To tie back to the painpoints above, perhaps I would let them select their activity level (just like walking, i go to gym everyday, etc), the countries they like to visit, etc to know their preferences and propose better suggestions.  

6. Metrics.  
I would launch an MVP focusing on local market first and there are severl metrics I will measure.  
#How many people hit my content site/FB site
#How many people download my app (leading form these sites)
#Percentage of people browsed but not signed up
#Percentage of people browsed and signed up
#Percentage of people successfully created a trip (Northstar) 

answered by (13 points)
It's hard to see why you would have 50+ users as the primary user group for a travel app (given that they are less likely to use apps in the first place), unless you believe that other user segments already have their needs taken care of by existing apps (and you choose not to compete).

If I'm the interviewer, I'd probably probe a little bit here to at least give you a chance to pick another target segment, which will give you a better chance to do well for the remainder of the task. And, as a minimum, for you to do a better job justifying why you pick this group.

You missed important painpoints, including how to actually book the trip, and how to keep track of booking details (not sure if you are assuming someone else is doing this).

You would want to ask clarifying questions at the start to understand if you should assume that the app is only providing travel advisory and bookings happen somewhere else.

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