Headquartered in Hangzhou city in China and founded in 2015, Tripinsiders is a global P2P platform that offers unique in-destination experiences provided by locals. Under the scheme of sharing economy, the local who knows the area well (Insiders) would host alternative immersive trips for overseas travelers (Travelers) to explore.
I was part of the product marketing team and responsible for user experience design for the online and offline communities. As an Experience Designer, I led the trip creation re-design project, ensuring research insights and users’ demands were absolutely conducted into the product design project between May 2016 to August 2016.
However, in mid-2016, the number of users, both Insiders and Travelers, didn't increase as we expected, which threatened the business due to the possible loss of sufficient financial support from our investors.
Our CEO, Neo Wang, sent an alarm to the teams in Hangzhou, Taipei and Singapore "We only have less than 6 months to live. If we can't find the suitable business model and improve our product now, we can’t continue our business."
Therefore, it was critical to speed up our steps, find the suitable product strategy, and align the business goal. Several of the key items that needed to be addressed were:
• Redesign the product that can be widely applied to South East Asia region (Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and more).
• Develop a mobile first application that needs to be a proof of concept of a successful business.
The project was started with online survey and ethnographic research which lead to user personas as well as user stories. The research was also integrated with A/B testing results conducted by marketing director.
Our users could be divided into two types: Insider and Traveler. We gave our user a face according to 59 out of 230 active Insiders toward online questionnaires. The Traveler's persona was developed by experienced Insiders' feedback.
We hosted 10+ writing workshop in Taipei, Tainan and Singapore to acquire Insiders' feedback toward the new website and the App. We also collaborated intensively with 5-8 Insiders, joining their trips and observing their interactions with Travelers in order to execute ethnographic research accordingly.
Taiwanese users preferred to create trips on desktop website whereas Singapore users tended to write their stories on mobile app
With the help of online survey, Insider interviews and A/B testing, we found a speedy trip creator was the most important and urgent need from the Insiders. The original version was too complex to be understood. Insiders needed a lean version of trip creator.
In this case, we redesigned the current trip creator for existing Insiders to make new trips in no time. For the newcomers, they could catch the idea of Tripinsiders and become an Insider in only 3 steps.
I redesigned the landing page to introduce new trip creator service and crafted mobile App experience that aligned the concept of new trip creator.
By transforming forms on Trip Creator into only 3 questions for Insiders to fill out, Insiders could create their trips instantly. Once Insiders got confidence via a speedy trip creator, they were more willing to produce more trips.
From the product design perspective, we successfully reduced the trip creation time from more than 3 hours to less than 30 minutes and received positive feedback from our current and new Insiders, which was significant to our investors.
However, even though we made a great shot in terms of product design, due to the founders' tactical planning scheme, our business shifted from a travel-tech startup to a local event hub based in Hangzhou City in China. We became an event guru for the local and International culture seekers.
In this case, my research and design helped Tripinsiders to see the better direction of the future development, which was a great tryout for the entire team to grow and learn.