Guidr is a map-based application that consolidates travel experiences, in the form of personal recommendations. A one-stop-shop platform that hosts travel advice, that is customized specifically for each traveler by his or her trusted friends and family.
In the midst of the “sharing economy era,” there’s been a shift in how my generation travels. We crave for the “road less traveled” and spend countless hours on research. Unfortunately, we’re faced with tourist traps and click-baits that offer no personalization or credibility to us.
How can sharing experiences with others enhance connectedness? I conceptualized a proof-of-concept that studies the impact of sharing personal experiences, specifically of travel.
One of the study stated that “because social interaction is one of the most important determinants of human happiness,” sharing a past moment of travel with someone can elicit connectedness. Even a bad experience can become a good story when shared.
In addition, a report by Nielson which stated that, “83% of respondents trust the recommendations of friends and family the most,” reinforces the efficacy of word-of-mouth and the fact that we view our peers’ opinions as credible and worthy.
Users were highly willing to explore the unknown "off the beaten track" places recommended to them. Feedback proved great trust in their community. I heard many times that because the recommendation was coming from a known and/or trusted source, they were more motivated to take the risk of venturing out. In addition, when asked if they wanted to see the information Google provides on their Guidr map, all of my testers said no. They were much more interested in and trusting of the personalized travel tips knowing that it was generated just for them.
Close competitors have all been adopting the map-based interface design that allows autonomous expedition. Building upon these successes, Guidr also eliminates text-based lists.
Design & Validate
Guidr is dependent on two stakeholders. The traveler and the recommender. The recommenders need to populate the map for the traveler to use. Since the recommenders are the driving force of this platform, the UI/UX needed to be extremely smooth-sailing for them. So how could I make the process of asking for help as seamless and effortless as possible?
An intentional decision was made to minimize the barrier to entry. Many of my testers didn’t want another travel app that they had to download from the App Store and urged against account registrations. No sign-ins or sign-ups. Just a unique URL, like sharing a Google Doc, that can easily be linked and accessed.
Mid-Fi Wireframes (& User Flow)
Data reveals that my generation today is more inclined to share and crowd-source than to own. We’re in the “Uberization” period where open-source communities and peer-to-peer based sharing of goods and services are on the rise. People are sharing their personal belongings, cars, houses, and even experiences. As it turns out, according to various studies published by the Association of Psychological Science, sharing your experiences with other people makes you feel connected to them.
Local neighborhood hangout-spots are not commonly found on mainstream tourism websites. It's only through referrals from friends that we can begin to discover, enjoy, and share them.
Space is a location with no substantial meaning, social ties, or value. A place, on the other hand, is a location made meaningful by human interaction. It's the experiences created in or at the location that carries the emotional weight.
Through personalized suggestions that are more than just a street address, Guidr aims to transform a mere space into a memorable place. And with studies proving that “travel experiences are more meaningful when shared with somebody else,” Guidr acts as that platform where trusted communities come together to make experiences in unfamiliar locations more worthwhile. All along, enhancing the connection between like-minded explorers.