Travelr is simplifying the process of planning and budgeting for a trip.

Created in collaboration with the amazing and talented Heena Chudasama and Riley MacIntosh
Travelr simplifies the process of planning the budget for a trip, while simultaneously being capable of tracking the user's spending habits during the trip itself. View the full project here.

User Study Goals

+    To find out more about the way people budget and prefer to travel so we can determine the functions of our app that will be more valuable to the target market.
+    To find out motivations that will keep people recording spending in our app while they travel.
+    Examine what information about travel plans and budget is most important to create a good information hierarchy in the app structure.

Interview Analysis

+   A majority of people go on one big personal trip a year, and those who travel very often usually do so for work. Our interview subjects reported approximately 70% personal travel and  30% work related travel, but those who did travel for work traveled quite frequently.
+    Many people said they budget their travel in some way. Those who don’t budget for personal travel often budget their work travel and record all receipts for company approval.
+    The average trip length reported was 1 to 2 weeks, although some users said they occasionally travel for a month.
+    Subjects were most interested in exchange rate tracking and optical character recognition.

How would one design an intuitive app where users can seamlessly plan, budget and keep track of their trip expenses?


1. Foreign exchange rate & tourist pricing

When travelling and spending money in a different currency, some locals tend to take advantage of how they price goods and services for tourists.

2. Too busy to keep track

Users may find that it is hard to keep track of a budget on a trip since they are constantly spending, and may be using various purchasing methods, such as cash and credit.

3. Last minute decisions

Tourist attractions may sell their tickets at a higher price when it is closer to the date you wish to book. In order to avoid this, users may need to plan correctly and book well in advance to avoid higher costs.

Visual Research

Our team performed UI/UX research in which we developed several moodboards to get a better understanding on which design style best suited our app design. Our main inspirations were light and minimal card based designs that heavily used pictures to showcase the travel destinations, and simple ways data visualizations that were easy to understand. From this, we ended up wanting a mix of photographs and colourful icons to showcase the playfulness and excitement that travelling can bring.

Usertesting Walk-through

Our team tested the initial prototype on 3 passionate travelers belonging to various age groups in order to test our user tasks and propose insightful questions regarding our product and its key functions. This involved the participants to go through tasks that were based around five objectives
1.    Adjusting finance related settings
2.    Browsing for destinations
3.    Customizing a trip budget
4.    Recording transactions
5.    Viewing transaction breakdowns

At the end of each session, we asked the user their thoughts and overall reactions about the app —
1.    What do you think of our app overall? 
2.    Which tasks did you find easiest to accomplish?
3.    Which tasks did you find the most difficult to accomplish?
4.    Do you think there are any important function we might have missed?
5.    Would you use the app yourself? if not, why?

Synthesis of Test Results


The Refined Prototype


Discover Destinations

Users can search through recommended trips, as well as destinations based on their interests through the search hub. Each destination provides an average cost for daily spending habits.

Budget Breakdown

Users can view their daily and overall trip budget based in their home currency. From this, they can filter through their transactions based on predefined categories.

Add Photo/Manual Transactions

When the user takes a photo of their receipt, the app uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies to fill in transaction details, and users can also manually enter their transactions in case they didn't get a receipt. For both scenarios, the app automatically converts the transaction into the user's selected home currency.

The Importance of Prototyping & User-testing

A key aspect of this project was the focus on process and iteration. As a team, we went through various design changes in order to create a better interface for users. Technically-speaking, this project allowed me to hone some of my prototyping skills and gain insights on user-centred design. I found this very rewarding, as I was able to define pain points and see real-world reactions to my design. By reaching this point in the design process, I better understand the value of user research.. While I still have a lot of room to grow, especially in terms of choosing the best app components for different sysetems, I am excited to continue mastering these tools and researching ways to help fasten the process.
Overall, this project has given us essential experience in properly and ethically conducting user testing in order to improve and test the functions of our app. It has provided us with insight on UI/UX elements that we can improve on, and that there is always room for improvement — in both visual and experience manners.

A Balance Between UI and UX

As a team, one important learning outcome of this project was to not always focus on some design trends. In this case, there were elements that we were set on incorporating into our app, that in reality did not make sense for the usability. An example would be adding background images of the cities, which was seen in many of our moldboard references. However, once we tried to do this, we were either wasting a lot of real-estate on this images, making the text look cluttered, or we found it hard to find images that were dark enough to add text on top of.
Therefore, there are common design practices and rules that should be followed in product design, but we also faced the hard-reality of using references on Dribbles or Behance may not equate to the most usable design.

What I Would Change & Next Steps

As happy as I am with the end result that my team and I created, looking back there are certain aspects of the process that I think could be reevaluated for more efficient work. An example would be the different softwares that we used for collaboration. For prototyping and designing, we used Adobe XD. However, with Figma starting to become more popular at the time, it would have been easier for us to use that software because of the collaborative elements that Figma allows.
Some logical next steps for Travelr would be to add on-boarding for the user and try to hone out any logistical issues involving the customization trip budgets. After this, we would ideally do another round of user-testing since our app changed dramatically from the critiques and insights that were received from the previous round of tests.

Let's make something great!