Digital Services for All
Smart Tourism for Rural Areas
Imagine a town website based on the ideas of a circular economy, where businesses and citizens can directly offer services, tourists find what they need, and administration reduces costs. With many rural areas striving for more efficiency and sustainability, retaining local value and flair can be difficult.
Solving Problems with Empathy
Administration, tourists, and citizens have different needs and expectations. The key to a great concept, is unlocking and defining what those needs are. To find out what each group values when it comes to tourism and sustainability, I used a variety of user experience methods, interviews, and tests throughout the process.
I conducted interviews to understand the expectations and general behavior of users before, during, and after vacations. What is the target group most interested in doing and seeing? How do they plan a holiday? More importantly what annoyances, highlights, and moments of happiness do they have with the overall experience?
I used experience interviews from different sources like Design4Xperience, Mittelstand 4.0 to lighten up the interview process. It was a quick and easy way to get answers to user needs, and I got a lot out of it:
On average, users start booking transportation 2 months in advance. Everything else is planned shortly before departure, or not until arrival.
Finding sustainable tourist options is difficult, if not impossible. Most try and buy local food items, second-hand or hand made clothing, and shop at local markets while on vacation.
User Types & Personas
Understanding Tourist Needs
Information Architecture & Card Sorting
I used Optimal Workshop to conduct open card sorting and tree testing on 20 participants. I noticed that they were sorting and naming sections differently than I expected. The final navigation was changed to fit the research and features many times over as the product progressed.
I ended up with a 2 Level Navigation with 4 categories: Discover, Food & Drink, Arts & Culture, Plan & Stay.
User Flows & Wireframes
I used similar UI models found in Airbnb and Instagram that users were familiar with— such as cards, carousels, and search option features.