Jeffery, class retrospective

A comprehensive travel planning platform that reduces cognitive load so users can be more receptive to spontaneous detours.

The Team

Jeffery John

Qiwen Lei

Thomas Wei

Sandra Xinzhao Zhou

Shumiao (Sharon) Liu

My role

Executive Summary

The enjoyment of travel comes from surprise. However, most people strictly follow their original travel plan, which significantly reduces the pleasure of travel. BetterTravel aims to motivate people to go beyond their comfort zone by providing destination inspiration and detailed information.

Problem Statement

There is a level of hesitancy that travelers experience in moments of deviation that stem from both internal motivations as well as external contexts and conditions. How might we encourage travelers who already have a travel plan to embark on an experience that they did not plan for?


To uncover and better understand the barriers and deterrents that travelers face in the moments, we first spent some time talking to people about their travel experiences; specifically honing in on the moments where they thought about deviating from the original plans with Think Aloud and Directed Storytelling methods. As we uncovered more information about the things they prioritized in these moments, we worked with our potential users to develop and refine our prototype with Speed Dating and Usability Testing methods.


We formed a research plan and proceeded with a prototype test. Our risky assumptions included that our prototype would increase decision making efficiency, the number of times users would deviate from their original travel plan, and that our core set of features would not be overwhelming. To help discern and validate these, we formed a set of 'honest signals'. Our primary goal for testing was the number of new destinations added. Other signals could be possible with higher fidelity prototypes, where aggregate user behavior could be calculated to determine thresholds for spontaneous behavior. We conducted a total of ten (10) interviews using both SUS and TAM with each user session.


More than preferences

Users want access to changing real-world factors, like booking availabilities and budget.

Accounting for new plans

Users need to be able to change their plans as circumstances change, whether or not it’s in their control.

Allow for leisure

Users often have downtime that they only look to spend after responsibilities.

Emphasize group dynamics

Users, alone or in groups, have logistical needs and consensuses to reach.


Our solution is a comprehensive travel planning platform, where users can chat, schedule, budget, and consider spontaneous additions to any preconceived plans. At each stage of our user flow, user preferences are used to provide suggestions that prompt further ideation and inclusion in their trips. Through this process, users can find consensus from all parties on interesting and valuable new travel experiences.


Ideation points (marked in yellow) offer users suggestions based on their preferences and the current context of their trip. These suggestions are then added to the shared calendar.

The chat offers an opportunity for users to discuss and decide on the addition, allowing for group decision makers to quickly source consensus.

Preferences can be set per-trip allowing users to customize their experience, and coordinate multiple contexts in their planning.

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