Methods: Desk Research, Interviews, Cultural Probes, Affinity Diagram, Brainstorming, Scenarios, Storyboarding, User Flows, Sketching, Paper Prototyping, Interactive Prototyping, User Testing
Timeline: 50% of part-time contract during 08/2016-12/2016
Role: Lead user researcher and interaction designer
Keywords: User-Lead Innovation, Business Travel, Artificial Intelligence, User Interface Design, User Experience Design
The challenge of the short-term in-company project focused on any individual design proposal related to travel and expense management for business travelers.
How to empower business travelers? How might new technologies enhance the experience of business traveling?
My design proposal represents a visual intelligent route planning tool for field salespeople that enables to improve their productivity and minimize travel costs. The application empowers salespeople to make better decisions for the planning of client meetings.
How it works
The system suggests when and where to go, what is the best type of transportation for a specific business trip and also where to stay overnight.
A user puts his planned future meetings into a repository. There are two types of meetings: opened without specific time and date/just period of time, and locked one with concrete specifications. After telephone appointment with a client, the user specifies the time and adjusts it in the calendar. If a time gap appears, the system suggests other possible meetings/stops on the way. The system automatically attaches open meetings to related suitable open and lock meetings. The user has the power to freely play and make final decisions inside this working tool.
Feedback from user testing
“Amazing! The concept is super. If you will develop this, it would be great! I can imagine to use this system right now!” – Alex, Sales Representative
“I like how smart it is, I’ve found it handy..” – George, Sales Representative
“This is great, this is very important functionality.” – Emma, Sales Representative
The project started with an exploration phase to understand business travelers’ experiences and their world. I conducted 5 interviews with relevant stakeholders and delivered cultural probes as a generative self-documentation tool for understanding human phenomena and explore design opportunities to support my inspiration.
I concluded with “planning customer appointments” theme with several findings:
- Face to face meetings, the social action, between companies and their (possible) clients represent a plant seed in intertwined business.
- Business trips depend on complex variables of business traveler’s actions and his/her deep research.
- Field Sales Executives spend a lot of time inside cars on their trips where eﬀective planning is necessary in order to visit as many clients as possible.
- Even though business travelers have a big awareness of their driving areas, they still have to plan within a strategic mind.
According to desk research, I found out that the majority of long-distance business trips in the U.S. are within 250 miles and taken by car. I also found out that salespeople would like to increase their productivity by maximizing selling activity and minimizing planning and administration activities.
One of my participants appeared as a lead user where his dissatisfaction and strong needs have become the general source.
In the next phase, I started to generate design ideas and concepts. Through storyboards, I illustrated an interplay between a user and envisioned concepts.
During the non-linear design process, I carried out several design interventions with participants that shaped my actions.
Paper prototyping helped me to generate and share concepts as quickly as possible.
User testing with several relevant participants helped me to continuously explore the problem space and its possible solutions. Through these experiments, I was able to define an ecosystem connecting different stakeholders through the interactive system. The salesperson might use connected devices such as a connected car, smartwatch and smartphone in different situations.
I would like to take the concept further and explore possibilities of a tangible user interface for planning (business) road trips that would naturally fit with the everyday phenomenal world within natural physical interactions.