Ubique- A travel discovery case study

Most of the travel discovery experience in the current market only allows travellers to search and browse by a date and/or destination. How might we design an eperience that would also allow users to plan around a desired activity, locations, and even connections with locall hosts.

I want to enable travelers to discover the world from both macro and micro perspectives and plan spontaneously. Engagement with local hosts would also be an opportunity to enhance guests’ journey from start to end.
Role: UX Design, research, user flow study
Time: 2020, 1 weeks
Independent project

Process Overview

Conducting in-person user interviews becomes almost meangingless due to the compex user base and demographics. I turned my eyes to entensive online research. Among all the useful insights that I was able to find, a comprehensive travel report conducted by Google caught my eyes and really shed some light on the subject I was investigating. By analyzing my research, I was able to find interesting user behaviors and huge opportunities tied to them.


First, if we want to understand how users explore travel options, we need to look at different stages of travel planning where users present different emotions, psychological behaviors and preferences. Users might be more curious and excited at a certain stage while need to feel more certain at another. We can roughly create three prominent stages.
Stages of travel planning

Let’s book that flight!

Stressful process.
Gotta stop procrastinating and make some solid plans!

Can’t wait to be there!

2-3 weeks leading up to the trip+ the trip itself!
Thinking about plans or activities that can be filled between the Statue of Liberty and MoMa.Looking for experiences “near me”.

I want to get away.

Open to ideas.
37% of travelers in the U.S. think about vacation planning once a month; 17% think about it at least once a week.

Share of intent in different stages
Share of intent is a concept coined by Google to help business to understand how well customers' needs and intents are met by desired information or services. By investigating this index, we can clearly see that there are huge missing opportunities and painpoints lying in stages where users just start exploring options and where travelers are en route or already at their destinations.

While all stages are crucial leading up to the trip, there are missing opportunities in how people discover and decide on the destination and what to do once arrived.

Booking process is the moments where people give out the big bucks. Most of companies have relatively comprehensive systems to meet their expectations and intent.

Key findings with Liam and Marry
User persona

Planning on multiple potential trips. Ability to explore ideas and compare ideas. The goal is to finalize a flexible plan.

Liam is 30, a sale manager at Walmart. Mary is 28, a song writor. They are planning on a 5 years anniversary trip. At the same time, they are also considering a trip to a frind’s wedding outside of the country. On top of that, they are very flexible and open to any plan changes as they research.

Journey map/insights
The Presence of hosts
Before we jump into ideation and drafting up information architecture, I want to explore the value of local hosts. Being "part" of the this whole journey, hosts not only can bring value to the discovery experience but also have needs that are often overlooked.
Who are the travelers?

Travelers are not always people who go on international, long distance, multicultural trips. In general, people who are spatially moving can all be travelers. That includes VFR (visit friends and relatives) travelers,  day trip, or even a same-city exploration.

Who are the hosts?

Local residents who can offer unique experiences as well as operating brands and local pre-existing establishments can all be “hosts” that organize experiences.

What can hosts offer?
Local recommendation

Through a much more indirect way, we can deliver hosts’ knowledge on local experiences to the users unobtrusively. Meanwhile, a local guidebook can be created with collective effort that benefits everyone in the game.

Hosts are a part of the journey. They have emotions and memories too. By using Unique, they can make content that inspire and influence guests’ decision making.

Hosts have the option to create a station, similar to a brand or a channel. At a time when everyone can be great content creators, hosts can really own their products and express freely.


Show up at user’s moment of intent

Travelers have different motivations and behaviors and of course different intentions at different stages. Right information should always be accessible at right moments.

Co-editing space

If you are not traveling alone, discovering and planning with the person you are traveling with is very important. We are all in the same boat, or car, or plane...

Advantage of social media, vlog, and streaming

Video media will only get more popular in our culture. Take advantages of people’s past experiences and memories and show that to the new travelers.

“Part of the journeyis the end”-Tony Stark

Finding and booking cool experiences is not the end. Being able to assist travelers while they are on their journey is equally crucial.

Information Architecture

I create an information architecture for this app with emphasis on "Explore" and "Find". With current technological and social trend, "Explore" can really help user discover inspiring ideas and look into the unkown. On the other hand, "Find" becomes a solid experience in which users consolidate ideas and make dreams come true. With more and more people planning their travel on the go, it is important to help users find exciting and authentic activities more spontaneously.

User experience flow