connecting people worldwide no matter their age or background.
Natasha Moore & Olivia Carpenter
California State University, Chico
This app proposal was a response to Stanford’s Longevity Design Challenge which is focused on creating multi-generational design. Seein is an app that is used by travellers to connect with locals, offering a unique window to ‘see in’ to other’s cultures. It aims to facilitate immersive and authentic travel experiences, and develop meaningful connections regardless of one’s age or background. Seein also minimises culture shock, cultural barriers, and loneliness which is often experienced by both solo travellers and many everyday locals.
This project responded to the Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge; a global challenge asking students to develop a proposal for a product or service that would improve improve overall well being spanning across a lifetime. The focus of this years challenge was on ‘intergenerational impact’.
During the undertaking of this project, my teammates and I were exchange students at California State University. We wanted to incorporate our shared attitudes towards the value of authentic travel to create a proposal that we all believed in. We found that many solo travellers experience emotional challenges such as navigating feelings of loneliness and culture shock. There is also a growing trend towards finding ‘authentic experiences’ whilst travelling. Recent travel industry studies have shown that 82% of travellers aspire to ‘get off the beaten path’ when they travel. However, in search of ‘authenticity’ travellers often turn to the disputed industry of ethnic tourism; an industry which commodifies culture and solidifies the separation between locals and travellers. We believe that connecting travellers to locals with provide an authentic travel experience whilst tackling loneliness and culture shock.
“Authenticity cannot be manufactured in the travel experience…instead it relies on the traveller finding a window into the local culture through personal connections. It’s all about the shared connections and conversations at every stage of a trip.”
World Travel & Tourism Council
With the key focus of the challenge being ‘intergenerational’ we asked two others to join our team that were in different generations. These members were very valuable for receiving feedback from and allowed us to develop something that was beneficial for multiple generations. We also paid a lot of attention to usability and how we could create an app that was easy to use no matter where the user is from or how old they are.
We paid a lot of attention to wireframing our interface so that it was minimal and clear whilst still having all the necessary components. We then developed our wireframes into paper prototypes and tested them with people unfamiliar with our project to ensure a clear user journey.
Using the feedback from user testing we were able to improve and refine how users will engage with the app.
This app will be used by both travellers wanting to connect with locals, and locals willing to share their town with travellers.
A traveling user can browse their destination by all locals or activities.
A local user will be notified if a traveler wants to meet with them.
Chat within the app allows users to interact and schedule a meeting time.
The 'Meet Up's' feature allows users to view and manage their activities with others.
A review system enforces safety and positive interactions.
The app is based around a pay it forward philosophy where those that have been hosted as a traveler are encouraged to do the same when they are home.
With a clear direction of how users will move through the app we developed low fidelity digital screens and settled on the interfaces visual system. Our main focus was complete usability and clarity. We wanted the screen to be uncluttered with clear directions to work through the app, this would allow our older users to feel more competent when using it. Aesthetically we capitalised on negative space, pops of colour, and beautiful travel photography.
We moved forward create an interactive prototype using Invision. This allowed more realistic user testing as this could be opened on a smartphone. It was also useful to ensure the sizing was right and text was legible.
Seein encourages a connection between travellers and locals in a way that enhances their well-being and travel experiences. Our proposed app will give travellers a unique window to ‘see in’ to local cultures. Seein creates an impact on the user’s travel experience as it overcomes loneliness experienced by both travellers and locals by providing a space for meaningful connections. It also collapses barriers between travellers and locals and provides a means for travellers to tackle culture shock by facilitating immersive experiences.
Through this, Seein finds authenticity and forms a deeper connection through respect for local cultures. The app breaks intergenerational divisions by bringing people together through experience, interests and location, rather than age. Not only does the app focus on multi-generations, but allows budget conscious travellers to have experiences through a pay it forward philosophy rather than currency.
The interface design has kept what is displayed on each individual page to a minimum with lots of negative space, large imagery and a minimal colour palette resulting in a clean, uncluttered aesthetic. This total clarity allows the app to be more accessible to those who feel less confident with technology, thus helping to achieve our intergenerational goals.
Adobe After Effects