JTB is the largest travel agency in Japan and one of the largest in the world. The brief was to redesign their existing Travel Navigator app. An app which allows visitors to Japan to view itineraries and events created and compiled by JTB. The goal was to better position it to non-Japanese users, rethink the user experience and some existing features and rebuild the app as an iOS, Android and web-app.
The team for this project was made up of 1 project manager, 1 developer and myself as lead UI/UX designer. The project was split into phases; research, planning, design and development.
Our research phase lasted around 2 weeks and involved the team talking to JTB as well as foreign visitors to Japan. During this phase it was discovered that most of the visitors talked about their wish for a unique Japanese experience, it wasn’t hard for them to find information about the popular tourist spots but they found it difficult to know where to go off the beaten track.
From JTB we found itineraries were put together by a central office and therefore they lacked the detail needed to create this unique experience for each location.
I created a customer journey based on the conversations with visitors. It was during this phase that a lot of the core problems and opportunities came to light. For example we had the idea to allow users to book attractions such as museums, restaurants ahead of time directly in the app, it became really clear that this could be an important feature.
I started to put together some basic wireframes which we discussed and iterated together. Working within a small team took away a lot of barriers when it came to making decisions and exploring new ideas. These ideas and UI designs were regularly shared with JTB until we had a solution we were all happy with.
Due to the fact that we wanted to change a few things with the API and how data was used, I also leaned heavily on the expertise of development and PM to make sure we could achieve what we wanted and could do it within the timeframe.
Itineraries are now curated by JTB agents based in the associated locations, giving the content more detail and value and having an ‘insider-knowledge’ appeal. These plans can now be saved and edited by users so they can create their own unique itineraries, which can then be shared with other visitors.
I enjoy designing and building together, it’s good fun and also I find it can give better results. You can make decisions quickly and problems can be raised early.Everyone is responsible for their own tasks and you avoid the ‘too many cooks’ scenario.
However, it does increase the workload and turnaround time. You also can fall into the trap of only seeing something from one point of view. In the end I think the project was a good experience and working with a Japanese company was unique from a business perspective.