Mobile Application Design—“InstaPlan”


Instaplan Bring Travelers a Seamless One-Stop Trip Adventure 

Over the winter of 2016, I worked as a mobile product designer with my 5 other team members in 3 months designing and developed this “InstaPlan” App. We built this app was to solve the problems of people were hard to finding last-minute things to do when traveling, and planning a complex itinerary ahead of time. Many tourists found it was difficult to find strong recommendations based on people’s likes and dislikes.

We designed and developed this app. As a team of 6 to build everything out within 3 months. In the end, we delivered a refreshed and consumer-driven mobile travel application design. When we test it with tourists, they said the app was easy to use and loved to continue using it. Our stakeholder was very satisfied with our works. We got the 1st Prize in the group of competition.


Dig Into Core Users Needs and Behaviors


Behavior Mapping and Persona

In order to build a seamless travel product, we need to understand travelers’ behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and actions, our team interviewed 9 people whose demographic from different areas, genders and ages. They’re all travel lovers.  We took behavior mapping to understand people’s experiences. What they normally do in travel. The behavior map provided a good base for the persona building later.

Behavioral Map

Identify Significant User Group and Behavior Patterns 

With the interview results on hand, we grouped the people into different sections based on the similarity of answers. Then we mapped out each interviewee against each variable. Mapping the interviewee to a precise point in the range that isn’t as critical as identifying the placement of interviewees in relationship to each other.  We excluded 9 people down to 2 to 3 core people. To precisely show the right group of users’ behaviors, motivation, and activities. It helped us Identifying significant behavior patterns that form the basis of persona later. Then we synthesize characteristics and relevant goals for each significant behavior patterns we identified, finding the current solutions and frustrations and form the goals of persona.

Behavioral Map Choosingfocused behavioral map

Build the Reliable Representations to Key Audience Segments



To build a great product, we need to understand users badly. We built a key audience persona. Her name is Annie Q. She is a journalist and usually travels around the world. The persona improved design creation effectively and aid our team to have a better focus on conversation and business meetings. It also aided us to build greater empathy with our users and enabled us to create better products and services.

Annie Q

Annie Q's goal


Understand How Real Users Interact With App and Iterate Rapidly 


Usability Test of Initial Design

We interviewed 8 people and focused on 4 tasks. They are first impressions, edit and personalize profile, find something interesting to do in your area right now, and plan a 4 day trip in advance.

We asked our real users to perform the low-fidelity prototype we built to test the flow whether it is intuitive and whether it is easy to use. The test results were graded as 1-4.

Usability testing


  • 4 out of 8 found the home screen are intuitive and  easy to find what they want
  • 7 out of 8 found the personalized profile lack some valuable information
  • 6 out of 8 found the search is neutral intuitive and efficient. It can be improved.
  • 6 out of 8 suggested add more flexibility to the trip planning.


Learn From the Research and Iterate Fast

Change Made

Let’s Explore The Design

We made 53 final instaplan screens after the interview and a few rounds of changes.

Those are the screenshots.

This is the clickable version. Please Click Here to go to InstaPlan

Instaplan 1 Instaplan 2 Instaplan 3 Instaplan 4 Instaplan 5 Instaplan 6 Instaplan 7 Instaplan 8 Instaplan 9

What’s Next?

  • I leanred how to identify users’ needs from very limited research resources and prioritize the resources to use it correctly.
  • The biggest lesson I learned in this group project is the tradeoff between quality and time. Since this is the short-time of projects, obviously nothing is ever “perfect” because there’s always can be better and improve. However, designers have to learn to balance time, cost, and quality constraints. Using the limited time to produce the best results as much as we can.
  • I was really grateful that I got to work with my 5 other great team members, including the product manager, user researcher, project manager, content strategist, and engineers in the project to produce the results out and deliver them to stakeholders with satisfaction.