CATEGORY Interaction Design, UX/UI

CLIENT Personal Project

ROLE Designer

YEAR 2018

Tip Off is an app I designed to help travel backpackers find off-the-beaten path recommendations and otherwise more interesting local tips than can be found in a typical travel book or site. The social component is designed to help users connect with other backpackers to share experiences and advice. For this project I did concept development, research, wireframes, prototyping, and finally hi-fi design. 



SURVEY Travel Questions


QUESTION TYPE Multiple choice


RESPONDERS People of various age and gender who like to travel


The most common source of information responders use while planning a trip is friends/family, the second most common is travel sites, and the third most common is travel blogs

Responders were far more likely to offer travel tips and advice to friends than strangers.

Responders were far more likely to accept travel tips and advice from friends than strangers.

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As a backpacker I’m always looking for up-to-date information, information about things I haven’t read about yet, or something I hadn’t considered or would have not had the information otherwise, like local and non-touristy things to do.
— User Interview, Stella J.
Meeting someone who had good advice on a trip changed my travel experience by making me feel more open and excited about local attractions rather than just the main attraction that I had already planned to visit
— User Interview, Mariah G.

One of the key insights I got from my research was that people are more likely to both offer and accept travel tips to/from people they know. Therefore I knew the app would have to contain a social element that allowed users to get to know each other. I read a lot of posts from Facebook backpackers groups as a form of research. I was inspired by Tinder to require users to register with their Facebook account. This creates the same type of community the groups on Facebook offer.




NAME Olivia Bower


AGE 25

TRAVEL PLAN Traveling South America for 6 months, has $7000 savings to travel with


  • Prefers to stay in hostels or home-stays over hotels
  • Prefers DIY over planned tours (related to budget)
  • Uses social media
  • Values conversation as a method of planning travel


  • No one at her hostel has recommendations that weren't already in her Lonely Planet eBook
  • Doesn't speak the local language
  • Asking for recommendations at hostels is not always effective because people have very different interests

GOAL Find low-profile, local, off-the-beaten-path attractions in a new location



Map Screen
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Open App
Open App
Tap the
"Plus" Icon
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Add Tip Screen 1
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Tap the "Camera" Icon
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Add Photo Screen
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Tap photos to select them
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Tap "Done"
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Add Tip Screen 1
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Tap "Title" Box
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Type in Title
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Tap "Description Box"
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Type in Description
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Add Tip Screen 2
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Tap "Next"
Tap "Next"
Tap modes of access icons in radio to select them
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Tap price icons in radio to select price range
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Tap pin icon to select type of tag for pin
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Tip Preview Screen to Indicate Tip was Successfully Added
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Tap "Finish"
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My general process was to start with hand sketches and user flows. I switched between the two as different modes of thinking about the user's journey. I then moved onto wireframes in Sketch. From there, I was able to do a visual pass with images, icons, color scheme, and typography to create final designs. 

pin click final and sketches.png

I used Invision for the prototype phase. I gave my friends a task: "Submit a new tip called 'Bus to Desert Canyon'" and tweaked interactions according to how well they did. I found out that many people were getting hung up on the "tag" aspect of my concept. I had originally wanted users to choose various tags to describe the spot they were submitting. However, I soon realized that hashtags are such an ingrained way of organizing media that users got confused when they couldn't make up their own tag. I considered making this a possibility but after doing some quick user flows and sketches decided it wasn't viable for this particular app. I then switched to a mode of organization that categorized tips at a higher level, with just 6 options for tag category.