​Wayfarer Community

Backpacker Travel Application Design 


People who backpack have been surrounded by a variety of travel information whether it may be from books, online travel applications, to high-end custom travel agencies. However many have an experience that these resources are generic and lack authenticity which makes it difficult for backpackers to have a more customizable and adventurous experience. Our designed Wayfarer App is aimed to provide an immersive and customized destination for all backpackers from a communication platform that is shared between other people, to increase backpacking enjoyment and satisfaction.   


UX designer and UI designer in a 2-member team.


3 weeks.

Method & Tool

Method: User Research, Competitive Analysis, Persona, Storyboard, User Journey Map, Wireframing, Hi-Fi  Prototyping, User                        Testing.                        

​Tool: XD, Illustrator, Photoshop, Google Suite, Artboard Studio, Miro.

User Research

Originally our first round of interviews, we realized we were too broad and only focused on the general idea of how they plan their trip. We decided to dive deeper and do another round of interviews specifically about backpacking. We began by conducting 10 interviews who love backpacking in order to figure out what behavior patterns were trending and how they plan their trip.We had 4 surveys with total 120 participants from different culture and background. Based on our quantitative and qualitative data, we planned to consolidate our research to identify and understand the user’s pain point.

Interview Plan: Key Questions ​

  • How do you usually prepare your trips? 

  • What do you like to focus on when backpacking?

  • Any frustrations you face while backpacking? 

  • What resources/tools do you rely on to research your trip? 

Interview & Survey Analysis:

There was a trend on individuals who express that planning the type of activities to do according to them and their group’s interest is very important and what kind of resources they want to rely on, specifically talking to people to find out their experiences.

" I focus on the destination, and what's around the area. Normally I talk to people who have experience." 

--Ashley, 26

“I’ll ask the people what to do and who’s familiar with that area.  Ask around and my friends and family.”

- Liam, 31

Our surveys captured great quantitative results with some trending answers. The bar graph on Survey #2 shows that 42.4% of users (14 people) prefer to plan their trip by discovering what other travelers have experience. We also believe that the 36.4% (12 people) that picked online blogs plays a similar role of discovering new finds that were personally posted by travel bloggers. Survey #4 helps us discover that 55.6% user’s (20 people) major frustration is planning out what to do for their trip.

What tools help you plan your trip? 

33 responses from Survey #2

Do you have any frustrations when backpacking? 

37 responses from Survey #4

Affinity Diagram 

We separated interview data into 6 categories. We uncovered that when they are planning they prefer to use resources to guide them such as talking to other people or use Google Search. After time for sorting, the pain points have been developed:  

  • Budgeting and cost on travels 

  • Hates last minute planning 

  • Figure out what to do 

  • Hard to meet everyone's needs

  • Not many online sources


We also proceed date into Empathy Map. This gave us an idea of what users like and dislike and to refine our understanding of our users. 


We basically captured who our users are, and created a persona by aligning and grouping empathy maps.

User Insight & Problem Statement

To help us create our problem statement, we first had to summarize our User, Need, and Insight.

USER: Backpackers who plan out their routes and destinations all over the world.

NEED: Wants to find the best destinations through past experiences from other travelers.

INSIGHT: Online recommendations, specifically travel agencies, are generic and lack authenticity. These types of services aren’t catered to the diversity of user interests.

Thus, we condensed above perspective into problem statement:

Wayfarer is designed to help backpackers find their perfect destination through the engagement of other travelers’ past experiences. We have observed that backpackers find it difficult to search the plans of their particular interests through the internet, specifically travel agencies, because it does not give many unique options and many are too generic and lack authenticity. How might we provide an app that brings an immersive and customized destination for all backpackers that is shared between other people?

Competitor Analysis

Next, I wanted to find out if our product has market space among these strong direct and indirect competitors that are Trip Advisor, Worldpackers, Expedia and Lonely Planet Guide Books. We compared these competitors based on main facts of their features, advantages, disadvantages and customer reviews. 

TripAdvisor is a largest "social travel website" in the world and very popular for accommodation bookings and best deal searching. People can browse videos, photos and articles from travelers and experts in a personal travel feed. However, the user experience can be overwhelming with so much information. One of the pain points of it is the accommodation ratings can be not authentic, so travelers are unsure if it is reliable and trustworthy. 

Overall, the website and the service for Worldpacker is very trustworthy and people rely on this company to work and travel simultaneously. This company provides a wide range of travel experiences and provides budget free options, personal tips posted by experiences travelers, and solo traveling. However, many travelers have experiences times where the travel plans hosted by WorldPacker are very disorganized especially with classes

Expedia is global travel booking website which aggregates travel fare. The website can be used to book airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, cruises and vacation packages. It’s very user-friendly, and comes with tons of filters for price, location, etc. Users like to use it because its mega search engine, as well as its good cancellations and customer service, but there is always a risk at any third party and they have to check the term of agreement carefully before booking hotels and tickets.

Lonely Planet Guide books give travelers a variety of countries and places to visit.  It provides incredible maps with hostels, restaurants, views, transportation and others without accessing the internet. One the one hand, travelers can get inspired by its in depth information of history, culture, and food, so it will give a good insight on local custom do’s and don’ts. One the one hand, it requires travelers to dive deep to read long before the trip begins, and sometimes authors can be biased and information can be outdated as well.

Analysis Insight

We have analyzed TripAdvisor which is our biggest competitor. Many users including us like this app because it can help to make a booking easily by comparing the low price. According to research, most of users think providing all the travel accommodations in the website is very convenient. 


Firstly, we have also learned that TripAdvisor can have some fake reviews, so users think it can’t be 100% trustable. User experience is friendly however it can sometimes be very overwhelming with so much information and could simplify a bit so users don’t take a long time searching.

Secondly, we learned that it’s very important that the users share their experiences so that travelers can have more insight and what they will be expecting for their trip. Something to consider is a communication platform.


Thirdly, making sure the user experience is very friendly, simple, and clean. It can increase customer loyalty and engagement. We believe that when searching, ratings are very crucial for travelers, and it’s very feasible in user experience and will make a big impact on decision.


Hopefully, offline mode can be added into the app in the near future, as some places may not have Internet when traveling.

Prioritization Matrix

Next, we generated "I like, I wish, what if" activities, as we were prioritizing that what features should be built and based on what will bring most value to the users and what is feasible. This Prioritization Matrix enables us to find the product-market fit.

Value Proposition

Here was one sentence to describe what benefit we have for whom: 

" Want to travel?  We got your back. Engage with other backpackers with exclusive experience and share your backpack with the world. "


We created our storyboard based on user persona. 

User Journey Map

In addition, we mapped the experience of a user from the first time they hear about our product through his use of it to his feelings about the experience after.

User Flow

We explored and wrote the process of three different user flows. 

  •  Sign Up using the three options and go through onboarding 

  •  Start a search and use filter function 

  •  Post a blog


Before jumping into wireframes layouts, we roughly sketched our ideas on white board.

Lo-Fi wireframes & Prototyping 

We shaped our ideas into lo-fi wireframes for three main user flows and prototyped them all together.  

Low fi prototyped by XD

Usability Testing 

To began with usability testing, we showed our prototyping to our three friends as users and explained task goals and assumptions. After conducting usability testing, I summarized their feedback and list the potential solutions. 

Thus, here are our potential solutions based on user feedback: 

  • Refine the filter (Number of days) so users have a bit more options to choose. 

  • Make sure onboarding is clear, simple, and more engaging to avoid “Skip” button.

  • Make the “Create Account” info boxes clickable.  

  • Make sure the keyboard can pop up for searching.  

  • Refine the layout/user experience in the blog posting section making it clear for the user so posting is much easier and understandable. 

  • Need to go back to homepage when finishing posting a blog.

  • Make icons bit bigger.

  • Make all the icons at menu bar to one side at blog writing page.

Hi-Fi Prototyping

Hi fi prototyped by InVision

Guerilla Testing

To identify if users can understand and use the app to find their best destination trip and if we can discover any potential pain points while navigating the app, we also had Guerilla Testing for Hi fi prototypes. We found some random people in the cafe and asked them to help us go through the tasks under a specific scenario that was given. 


The user is about to make a trip because he has a vacation coming up. He loves to backpack and enjoys a unique travel experience. He uses the app Wayfarer to explore different trips posted by other people before making the travel plan. He made his own travel plan, went to the destination, and finally wrote and shared his own experience into the app. 



  • Sign up an account for onboarding process

  • Search for a place with different experiences from other people 

  • Post and share a travel blog

Final Analysis & Priority Matrix

Collecting all users comments, we sorted out our Affinity Map and built the Priority Matrix. We believe that the biggest priorities was that we have succeeded in building out our “Core Function”.

Users had a difficult time distinguishing between “Moment” and “Blog” and we should consider if removing “Moment” is necessary because majority see it as a similar function.


Some small changes can be improved such as making icons more noticeable and understandable, and when is it necessary to have the keyboard automatically pop up. 

Another great question for us to discover is: What does the user do afterwards when they finish browsing?

Future Iteration

This was a great experience for my team member and I to dive deep and get explored in UX world.  There is definitely more room for improvement and iteration on Wayfarer in the near future. After the user Testings, we kept many of the users’ comments into consideration:

  • Create a separate screen for “Create Account”:  

  • When trying to search for an experience, it can be just one page with keyboard popped up instead of going to the next page for search.

  • It can be hard to differentiate Moment and Blog by looking at their similar icons. 

  • Should probably consider is sign up necessary? Can the user first to go homepage then have an option to sign up/login?

  • What they first create an account, they don’t have followers, what would be in the follower’s page then?