Fictional project


My role
  • Concept
  • Interaction design
  • Prototyping
  • User testing

Travel Genie is a traveler’s digital companion

The project was part of my internship at ustwo and its timeframe was 6 weeks – during July and August 2012.


The imaginary app is called TravelGenie which help people to get the best out of their travel destination.  It should be designed for Android icecream sandwich (4.0).

Here is the list of user stories expected from this application:

  1. As a user, I would like to get information about attractions near me or in a specific city so I can make an informed decision about where I want to go
  2. As a user, I would like to view special offers for venues around my location so I can get the best prices while I am travelling
  3. As a user, I would like to get directions on how to get to a selected venue so I can find it easily
  4. As a user, I would like to get a recommendation for a possible activity based on the current day, time and my location so I can better plan my day
  5. As a user, I would like to save items for my favourite list so I can quickly find them when needed

The brief included also as a requirement to add 2 more user stories, which were set after the research process and idea generation as:

  1. As a user, I would like to be always be up to date with the weather, so I can plan my activities according to it
  2. As a user, I would like to have the information that best matches my interests, preferences and budget so I can get only the relevant information


The plan for the project kickoff was to explore and understand the design space and to have a look at the existing landscape of travel apps. Around 15 of them were tested, in order to get an overview as complete as possible.

At this stage was also interesting to try and position these apps on a scale based on their value offering, to get insight of the current market trends and possibly areas worth exploring

After the market research, I conducted a series of user interviews to get more detailed insights and to gain an understanding of the persona(s) that could benefit TravelGenie.

During this time, 6 people with different backgrounds, occupation and nationalities were interviewed.
Following is a snapshot of the first interviewees, while doing a task assigned during the session

The mental models method (Indi Young) was very useful to lay a solid foundation for the shaping of personas and scenarios.

By categorizing and clustering tasks that users might do during their journey, several personas were identified. They were subsequently positioned on scales of values that are significant to the TravelGenie app and analyzed which of those personas fit the best in the design space


The three personas identified have then been shaped and enriched with details, in order to offer support and reasoning for the design decisions.

Following is the description of the jetsetter, the main persona of TravelGenie.

Concept & design

After this preliminary research phase, with a great amount of information and insights, I started the concepting phase.

Below is an early mapping of different needs and links that the project could have.

The field and market research – together with user studies and the initial brief requirements/restrictions -revealed some interesting patterns that tied them together in a logic.

Those design micro-spaces needed some foundation to be used as support to achieve the project objectives: that is how the UX principles were identified.

User validation

After conceptual sketches and task mapping of the app’s functionalities, I started wireframing the main flows, to be able to test and evaluate both individually and with users. As part of this, a paper-prototype was shown to easily mock a whole flow.

Following are pictures of the paper prototype, detail and during a user testing.

The user testing gave extremely valuable insights on how the users understood the application, if the flow was meaningful and smooth, where there were unclear bits.

From that point, the feedback has been gathered and the whole application improved.
The final step, the interaction prototype, was implemented and tested. Below are some snapshots plus a recap of the process.

Project round-up

Research phase

6 users
Open question interviews

Design phase

2 users
Sanity check

User validation phase

3 users
Prototype testing