To design a product that fits into our LP ecosystem where we’re mainly targeting backpackers & flat-packers. The target group includes 18–35yr olds who are tech savvy. This is a fictional brief given to us during our Masters in Interaction Design at Harbour.Space University

We needed to get them to use our product, ideally, in the pre-during-post phases of the travel journey and create awareness about the LP ecosystem.

(Concept design by team Panabo | Mentored by Irene Pereyra | Project Timeline 9 weeks)

Our process
Ecosystem Analysis, User Research, Ideation, Sketching & Concepting, Competitive Analysis, Features and Functionality Matrix, Site Map, User Flows and Wireframes.

Research — Ecosystem Analysis

As a team, we started out by discussing our personal travel stories and one of the stories that i shared resonated with the three of us. Last year, a couple of friends and I, we planned a trip to Vietnam. It was extremely hard to co-ordinate and plan between friends who are located in different parts of the world. Here are the phases of the group travel journey

Pre (Planning & Inspiration Phase)

We started off by creating a WhatsApp group which was bombarded with articles, links and scenic images from all over the web. This includes websites, blogs, posts from travel influencers, youtube (Some of the other used are mentioned in the ecosystem map below).

In a group, the inspiration phase is usually an individual thought process where travellers conduct their own initial research. When opinions are shared with a group, it takes time to agree on certain locations, come to a consensus and finally create a really rough itinerary. This is hard especially when you’re friends are scattered around the country.

Note: The Blue section below, highlights all the LP products available in the pre-phase

Lonely Planet — Ecosystem Analysis

During (Exploration)

In the exploration phase, we rely on the really rough itineraries that we created during the planning phase to get around with our friends. Here is when the difference of opinion comes into play amongst groups. You may want to go visit the Sagrada familia but your friends want to go a popular tapas bar instead. They realise during the trip that their interests have changed and the initial itinerary wasn’t probably the best.

Note: The number of Lonely planet products used during this phase goes down.

Post (Remaining Gram moments)

In the post phase, they tend to share videos & images, post travel stories & blogs and handle expenses.

Note: The Lonely Planet trips app is a product that exists during this phase

Why we think we have potential in the during phase

During Phase of the travel journey.

User Interviews for validation

We went to five different touristic locations to find our target groups — the backpackers. One of us focussed on asking questions and guiding the interviewee through the interview, the other took notes & observed.

Key Observations

The LP books are still being used in hostels and can be taken from the common room. It’s too bulky to be carried around.

Some of our users still physical maps (We noticed students in hostels sitting around a map laid out on the table) and primarily digital maps to navigate, other social apps to share, meet, find places and inform our travel decisions.

We identified three types of planners and even primary decision-makers within different groups.

Some backpackers meet people in the common areas and make spontaneous plans. They don’t trust the authenticity of reviews.

Quotes from the users

Research to Personas

Personas are based on real data and users, gathered through research, interviews and observations. For teams, personas help to keep everyone on the same page about the users they’re designing for throughout the design process. Here are some of the look for in a user persona:

Biographical information (name, age, gender)

Motivations & goals

Needs & usage context

Routes into the product

Device usage

One of our main personas:

Summary of the three personas and how we’re helping them solve their travel issues with our digital product.

The Big idea — Swipe

Swipe is a digital platform that optimises travel decision making for groups so you plan and travel stress-free with your friends!

Features & Functionality Matrix

At this stage, we had a rough idea on what features we should have in our product. We needed to decide on the most important features that would get the MVP up and running for user testing.

We decided to first evaluate all the features based on three main parameters — User Value, Business Value and Tech Value. This acted as a first filter and enabled us to identify the most important features.

We drilled them down further by arranging them based on the matrix shown below. This helped us identify all the key and necessary features the users would need for the MVP.

Card sorting

We did a card sorting exercise to map the features and figure out the site map. Card sorting exercises with users and stakeholders helped us categorise and understand the way users behave and also their mental model.

Card sorting exercise to map features


From here we moved on to creating a sitemap. A sitemap represents the navigation and structure of a website or app. We defined the main home page and used a numbering system to keep track of all the other pages. Our app is really simple to use as we only have 2 main pages. The home page is the listing page where all the travel groups you’ve created will be listed.

Example: This can include different travel groups you make. One could even be with a different set of friends for a plan in the future.The example used here is Swag-elona.


Before digitising our screens, it’s important to sketch out every screen of the application and consider all the states to see if it fits the user flow that we’re trying to showcase. We made an sketches right from login — group creation — swiping — identifying matches in destinations between members of a group.

We tested some of the sketches using paper prototyping techniques to observe and understand how they perform certain tasks such as group creation with friends. This gave us room for iterations at the initial stages.


After sketching and the feedback from our paper prototypes we went on to creating low fidelity wires and refined it further to create the final ones + annotations.

Final Wires + Annotations

Some main screens include:

Add your friends to create a travel group
Byte sized content to swipe through using existing Lonely Planet content
See the locations that you and your friends have matched with & get directions
Choose to ride solo instead if you don’t really want to visit a Museum

What’s next?
The next phase includes creation of visual designs and a working prototype. This will help us test it further with our users and gain some valuable feedback for further iterations.

My personal feedback from Irene Pereyra:
It’s been a pleasure having you in the class, and I could see that you really blossomed and became more and more confident as the class progressed. Your key strengths appear to be your determination, your ability to work well with others, and your desire to get to the bottom of things and do it correctly.

Thanks for reading. Would love to hear your thoughts/contributions/critique

You can find me on: 
Linked In:
View my portfolio at

Meet the team!
Nadine Kabbara, Boris Peshev, Pavithra Krishnan

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