The Ask

Tripit, the travel itinerary app, wanted to gain a better understanding of how users shared travel plans and collaborated with one another within the TripIt landscape. We drew upon remote usability tests, an in-house particapatory design session, and our own exploration of the desktop and mobile experiences.

Our primary aim was to: 

  • observe how various elements within the TripIt landscape (itineraries, notifications, roles/nomenclature, and permissions) lent themselves to enhanced productivity, efficiency, and overall "ease of share"


  • interpret the patterns of common pain points throughout the sharing and collaboration process as a means of defining recommendations



UX Researcher & Strategist

Research Questions

  • Why do users share? With whom do they share? How do particular user narratives shape the design? For instance, a husband and wife share will look and feel inherently different from a colleague share.
  • What does the system of sharing look like? What does it feel like? Is there consistency throughout the app?
  • How do users expect to share trips and what do they expect to share?
  •  What do "public" and "private mean in terms of sharing and visibility levels?
  • What kinds of actions do users expect to take when it comes to sharing and collaborating, such as planning a trip on behalf of others?



Design Principles for Sharing and Collaboration:

Share Structure

Users expect a share framework that is clear and consistent with regard to roles within the app (planner, traveler, viewer), and visibility into what permissions each role affords.

Within this framework, users expect a degree of flexibility to match the true nature of travel:

- Changing. No two trips are the same. Even within a single trip, some plans may be business, others leisure

- Dynamic. A user may be a traveler for one trip, an admin or viewer for another and, in some cases, may occupy all three roles



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Action Frameworks

+ Users expect the level of visibility to be transparent and consistent throughout the user journey

+ Planners feel frusterated by a multiplicity of barriers (both real and perceived) and expect a single, streamlined action when asking permsission to manage others' travel

+ Users expect to be able to share via the tools they are most comfortable using

+ Users want a degree of flexibility to adjust visibility levels as needed when they share



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Methodology and Participants

Remote, in-depth interviews with focus on collaboration and sharing:


  • Analyzed ~7 hours of video from Tripit for Teams archives to gather common threads and insights


  • Explored the use of Tripit as well as other tools (Excel, Outlook, Google docs)


Participatory design session:

  • Moderated a one-hour in-person panel of five participants (Four frequent business travelers, and one leisure traveler)


  • Partcipants were asked to annotate a travel itinerary to include elements and functions that they felt added toward efficiency and productivity, as well as "keeping people in the loop"


Other screening criteria:

  • Frequently travel, as defined by 5-6 trips a year at a minimum


Remote 1:1 Usability Testing with InVision Prototype


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The Sharing Ecosystem

Our participatory design contributors were originally asked to annotate a few itineraries. What started out as a few became a multitude as it quickly became apparent that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to sharing. Levels of collaboration vary depending on the context of the share and the prefered tool (or share medium).


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The Structure of Sharing and Collaboration

While it's true we won't please all people all the time, we can please most people most of the time. By establishing a default, mid-level use-case for visibility and sharing, users are empowered when we spare them the guess work of trying to figure out what others are seeing.

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Barriers to Sharing

Our users complained of enduring a preponderence of notifications and alerts, causing them to ultimately "tune out," not exactly a desirable end-result when the ultimate goal is enhanced collaboration and coordination of travel plans.

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Share Curation

No two trips are alike.

While a business trip has its own default visibility level, there may be plans within a trip that a user chooses not to share with others, particularly within the realm of "bleisure" travel (a blend of business and leisure). According to Visa’s 2015 Global Travel Intentions Study, which surveyed the travel habits of over 13,000-plus travelers worldwide, 16% of travelers combined business and leisure on their most recent trip. 

Our users expressed frusteration that many leisure plans defaulted into business view.


Next Step, Remote Usability Testing.

We built an interactive prototype based on our findings. We incorporated three new features to explore with users:

1. Add Connections via Mobile - The aim was to establish parity between desktop and mobile and allow for people to share "on the go"

2. Autoshare - A new feature that enables users to keep close-knit friends, family, and colleagues "in the loop"

3. Selective Sharing - Allows users to selectively share plans within a trip via their share medium of choice 

For a password-protected link to the prototype, message me

POSTSCRIPT: As of 8-25-16, 

all three features are in development.