A passion project to present my home country to the world, by designing a local-guided travel app service for travelers planning their trips to China

Date: June - July 2017

Individual UX Project 


  • User Research

  • Benchmark Analysis

  • Journey Mapping

  • MoSCoW Method

  • Moodboard Design

  • Sketching & Wireframing

  • Prototyping & Testing

​Background Story

I’m a global nomad from China. In the past few years, I’ve been traveling a lot around the world. The more I experienced, the more open-minded, empathetic and adaptable I became. Every time when I am on my way, people always ask me how to plan trips in China, which has continuously led me into thinking that there should be an up-to-date, user-friendly and better navigable way helping travelers pick up the places to go and organize their trips in China. I know how beautiful my homeland is, and I want to find a way to present it to the world. This was the beginning of the project, my first UX project and I was inspired by my passion. 


CHINA-JOY is a travel planning app for travelers to schedule trips in China. The main features include location-based visualized introduction  of local cultures and tourist attractions, language switch for both travelers and locals, trip route planning optimization,  etc. The aim of the app is to offer trustworthy, personalized and quality information by providing travelers with local information, facilitating travelers to pick the most recommended places to go and preparing refined traveling experiences for users.   

CHINA-JOY targets busy young adults who are travel lovers but have limited time gathering info for trips and have hard time finding reliable info for trips in China.

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Interview & Survey

To begin with, I sent out a survey to 60 people and conducted in-depth interviews with 6 of them to understand the specific problems and needs in planning trips to China. I found out that most people are willing to travel to China and they are interested in a digital solution to help them simplify the travel-planning process and avoid the troubles in collecting scattered info. However, they have a wide range of concerns, which can be categorized into six aspects and shed lights on the potentials of the features and functions.


Benchmark Analysis

Then, I dived into a benchmark study on existing products that serve similar functions, including Lonely Planet, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, and a Japanese travel forum that specialized at offering localized info. The study gave me a chance to look at what has been implemented to solve travel-related problems, and analyzed the pros and cons of each specific features in the context of their target audience and purpose. 


Persona & Journey Mapping

I created persona "Ashley" based upon my research, and made a journey map of Ashley based on Do-Think-Feel Model. I tried to model the details of her actions, thoughts and emotions step by step in a travel-planning process, starting from thinking of travel towards the planning, booking and being ready to go. Next, I prioritized the features based on MoSCoW Method to decide what are the must have features as the first-tier functions.  


Sketching & Wireframing

I started the design by drawing out the idea on paper to explore the different layout, and then organized the information and context on the digital platform, Sketch, to wireframe the hierarchy of the information and design the layout. 

Moodboard, Prototyping & Testing

The color scheme represents the keywords extracted from Ashley's journey map - positive, curious and excited. Thus, the main vibe is to build a friendly community for modern travelers to smoothly navigate the information and get inspirations on travel planning. Then, I applied the visual elements of the moodboard to the wireframe and make hi-fi design prototypes. I used the prototypes to conduct usability testing with people I interviewed before to find out where to improve.


A good design tells a story 

A good design is not about creating aesthetically pleasing graphics. Instead, it always conveys a certain type of meaning and tells a story. When I started designing the App logo, I drew many drafts just to find out the most interesting pattern. However, in the usability testing I realized a good logo is meaningful, and has certain connections with the brand.   

A/B testing is effective in understanding preference

One of the most important thing I've learned in usability testing is to try A/B testing when I was not sure which version or flow was better. It's an efficient way to collect the feedback and have a clear understanding of users' preference. Besides, the testing overall is necessary in seeing the flow of using the App from users' perspectives, and check out the logic behind navigation through fresh eyes.

As a beginner, don't forget always come back to iterate

It's my very first UX design project, so I've made many mistakes in the process and the design was in general rough when I looked back at it. It's important to understand that everyone has been through these steps, and it's fine to feel that iteration was needed. In fact, the standard of design and principles can be learned and practiced through later experiences, but the passion that showed at the beginning of my journey was meaningful and will always spark lights on my career pursuit.