Journi is a mobile app that provides safety prevention and support for the solo female traveler for any trip
Angela Birchman - Program Manager
Su Li - Developer, Video Director
Benjamin Siev - Developer
Junior Tran-Thien - Video Producer
Yin Yin - UX/UI Designer
ADVENTUROUS ALONE ATTACKED
"...there still have many female experience catcalls and myriad other forms of harassment while traveling..."
Nowadays, female's increased spending power has given them the means to travel more for leisure and adventure. Compare to joining a travel agent and traveling with a group, many female travelers are willing to travel by themselves. According to a study from Booking.com survey resulted in a Solo Travel Report that showed 72 % of American women were taking solo journeys in 2014. Today, many of my female friends also have great experiences of solo travel around the world, and most of them go abroad every year without incident. However, with the skyrocketed number of the crime issue that happened in the world, there still have many female experience catcalls and myriad other forms of harassment while traveling. It makes me have to admit that the safety issue on the way is still a big problem that plagued travelers and those who love and care about them.
The steps of my design process include the following:
Since many of our female friends mentioned their similar concern about their trip, I realized that it might be a potential social problem which is bothering more people. In order to explore a more in-depth understanding and reframe the problem scope, we decided to collect the related information through multiple ways like the library database, newspapers, trustworthy new websites. Here have two main insights from our previous research :
More and more millennials willing to travel by themselves, especially female.
According to the 2017 Princeton Survey Research Associates study revealed that 58 % of millennials worldwide are eager to travel alone. Another study from 2014 Booking.com survey resulted in a Solo Travel Report that showed 72 % of American women are taking solo journeys. It worth to mention is that in the past five years, the number of searches on Google for solo travel has risen significantly. The graph indicates approximately a 160% increase in searches for solo travel.
The personal safety issues and the related unsafe feelings are the core problems that the solo female traveler concerned.
A full 80% of women have considered personal safety issues related to potential harassment or assault when planning a trip, with a quarter considering safety often or always. Thinking about the risk of sexual harassment when traveling alone makes 43% of women feel uncomfortable, and 24% feel unsafe. Two in five women report they have experienced sexual harassment/unwelcome interactions when traveling, with those interactions most often occurring in a bar (21%). Approximately 10% of women recall harassment while sightseeing, on an airplane, or in their hotel.
One main insight from my previous research was that the safety issue is a common problem for solo female travelers. So we further did a questionnaire to figure out what kind of safety issue are the most concerned when they travel alone.
Through the survey, we received out of 100 study valid responses from the young female interviewers who have/ desire the solo travel experience. The top 3 concerns related to the safety issue they have when traveling alone are:
Violence against female
Being unfamiliar with the target area
Losing connects with family/ friends
In order to further establish empathy, we interviewed 12 target users to study their travel behaviors and to hear what they think. Here are the quotes from the interviewers:
Many solo female travelers feel unsafe because they don’t have enough safety education, not familiar with the surroundings while traveling, and can not get help in emergency.
The next step, I facilitated a brainstorming session within my group to think bold and come up with any kinds of raw ideas by drawing the ideation tree on the whiteboard. We've thought about solutions like wearable equipment (watch and necklace), or offline safety centers, or find companies at destinations.
After all, based on the principles of accessible, portable, useful, and affordable from our shared understandings for the target user group, we selected mobile phone as the platform and came up an align narrowed down to final 5 raw ideas that might work the best.
By aggregating these selected ideas, we want to propose a mobile app that provides the trustworthy safe-travel tips for solo female travelers, also help them be aware of their safety and provide accessible emergency support throughout their entire trip.
VALIDATION AND ITERATION
We continuously conducted informal critic sessions. In order to learn by doing, we meeting with target users in person, show them ideas, and lo-fi prototypes.
The user could read the trustworthy tips and warnings on the Travel Handbook page that collects from the local government and authority travel websites. (work)
A real-time map that points out the safety and dangerous area. (doesn't work)
Crime notification informs the user of the crime cases around them. (doesn't work)
Safety Pocket Card includes the emergency contacts and local emergency number and other useful information. (work)
The SOS button sends the help message for emergency contacts and police. (doesn't work)
Reflection: In the beginning, we suppose that it could serve as maximum as possible to notice the user avoid the dangerous area. But obviously, we ignored that without physical safety, the traveler also requires huge emotional needs. Although they point out the high-risk area and the crime notification could effectively prevent users avoid dangerous areas, but most users felt more insecurities. Another feedback was under emergency. Few people have enough time to press the SOS button.
We removed the dangerous area from the map. (work)
In order to encourage the user to be active in the safety area, we also added the recommendation feature below the map. (doesn't work)
We change the crime case notification to the tips of the safety suggestion feature. (work)
The SOS button changed to the Check-In button. The user could open it anytime when they feel unsafe. And the system will track their route and send a safety check reminder to notice the user report their state. (work)
Reflection: Base on the previous learnings, we propose to use a more positive way to guide users to stay in the lower-risk area. The Check-In feature received positive feedback, but the recommendation feature made them confuse that Journi is a travel recommendation app like Trip Advisor or Yelp.
Through the past twice iterations, we have more and more clear that every decision we made should base on the user problem we found. So, we decided to further perfect the existing features and eventually came up with the current features below.
Here is the first round test:
Here is the second round test:
HIGH FIDELITY DESIGN
In order to demonstrate the key features and the entire user flow, I will connect the hi-fi mockup to a story on how Angela is using Journi to protect her safe during her entire trip.
Angela is a junior student study computer science in college. In the past many years, she has been many world travel experience with her friends. Recently, Angel is planing her first solo travel trip to Seattle. She is very excited to make this brave attempt. But, on the other hand, the increasing number of criminal cases against women have been reported is a big concern that always plagued her. Angela's friend highly recommends her to download Journi, which is a mobile app that provides the solo traveler proactive protection and emergency services through their entire trip.
Upon installing the app on Angela's phone, she is first greeted by a screen that let her choose a way to sign up the app. It worth to mention that, without a standard sign up entry, Journi also allows the user to make a quick sign up by their Airbnb account. Right that time, Angela remember her already booked a short term home at Airbnb. Therefore, she decides to use her Airbnb account to conduct a quick sign up.
A moment after, the screen jumped to the home page. She finds the system already help her automatically fill in most of her personal information. After finishing the sign-up, the system guides Angela to further set her emergency contacts. When she presses her profile image (or origami logo) on the top of the homepage, the profile page will fully pull down to an entire page. She decides to add two of her best friends Su and Yin for her emergency contactors from her phone. As the next step, the app also asks her to pre-set up a check-in clock. During her trip, if she feels unsafe, she is able to open the check-in feature to track her location and continuously check her situation. In case if she doesn't response the check-in notification on time, the system will send emergency messages to share the latest location with her contacts for further support.
Time runs fast, and the departure day is getting closer. But due to the final week is very tight, she is hard to find a complete-time to look at the tour guide, especially the safety guide about this city. However, she is surprised to find Journi has a useful feature named Things To Know. It not only pushes the safety travel instructions of the target city but also updates the relevant safety reports every day. The user can spend their fragmented time to read those concise note. Before Angela departure, she already accumulated enough safety knowledge, as well as where she needs to pay attention to.
Seattle is a gentle and beautiful city, Angela enjoys her travel. Although this city is relevantly safe, she still has never been relaxed by her safety awareness. She always chooses to open Journi's safety pocket card to read first before she goes any unfamiliar location. This feature gives her a piece of concise safety information about her real-time location, local emergency number, and other useful information. It worth to mention that it also provides the nearest landmark building to access traveler easier to report their accurate location when they ask help. Just in case, if she presses her currently real-time location, the system will jump to the dynamic map view. It provides the information and route that nearest facilities and shelters they could ask for help.
The Check-In Button is another essential feature helps Angela overcome her fear during the trip. Whenever she senses unsafe, she can switch the check-in button on, then let Journi keep detecting and timely check her situation. At the same time, her emergency contacts also will receive messages to contact her or even facilitate the rescue if needed. Compared to other safety protection products, Angela feels she also needs a tool to provide proactive protection. Because under some dangerous situation, she might not has enough time to ask help or call the emergency number. Once she loses the connection with the app, the system will immediately to share her latest location and other useful information with her contacts to future support. Keeping in touch is not only important for people who care about her, but also important for herself either. Even though she is just starting her first great adventure in a strange city, but she never feels alone.
To let group members align with our design and help the developer build the app more accessible and faster, I also made the design specifications.
After spending 3 months with the team develop the product end-to-end, I learned a lot of things:
Filed research is the foundation of a successful design exercise. Previously, I was very easily feel connected with a superficial problem and directly jump into visualizing the solution. However, the right process is to spend time on research at the beginning which helps us dig into the rationales of a problem space.
If allows, test my designs with target users as early as possible, the feedback helps validate our ideas along the way. Moreover, it could be extremely helpful to have all the team members participate in the study sections and build shared understanding on how users use the product so that the team doesn’t need to spend too much time to align what to do or not todo.
By closely working with the team almost every day, I see the great value of debates and collaboration. Everyone has its own way to think, when the team members are open, we learn things together from afferent aspects. On the other hand, when I was protective, I close the door for innovation and advancing the product.
Doing redlines hones my visual design skill. By carefully reading Human Interface Guidelines by Apple and Android, I was able to better shape the information architecture and craft details. The work made our mobile engineer’s job much easier too.