Paveline

Providing a richer visiting experience for senior travelers.

 
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Brief

To build a startup with a Minimum Viable Product.

Our design process is based on The Lean Startup Method (Build, Measure, Learn).


Team

Jamie Catt, Jie Ji, Jie Mi, Tai Chen


Roles

CEO, Co-Founder, User Experience, User Research, Product Design, Design Strategy


Duration

September — December 2018

15 Weeks, Fall 2018


 

Paveline is an online platform that provides custom maps that focus on the learning and accessibility of places.

We created a startup and built a digital product for senior travelers. As CEO, I lead the team to visualize, strategize and create Paveline. By doing intensive user research, developing a Minimum Viable Product and conducting usability tests resulting in various iterations, we designed an online platform that provides custom maps for senior travelers.

 
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What is the problem?

 
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Learn

We wanted to know about senior’s experience with travel and accessibility so we conducted intensive research using the four methods below.

 
01 — We researched on senior travel trends and its market.

01 — We researched on senior travel trends and its market.

02 — We talked to seniors about their experience on travel.

02 — We talked to seniors about their experience on travel.

 
03 — We met with experts to ask about their opinion on senior travel and accessibility.

03 — We met with experts to ask about their opinion on senior travel and accessibility.

04 — We visited senior-friendly parks and gardens around The Bay Area.

04 — We visited senior-friendly parks and gardens around The Bay Area.

 

Problem

From our conversations, we learned that seniors are most likely to spend their time for leisure, such as travelling. This is mostly due to their retirement, since they have more time to explore other interests and activities. From the 30 interviewees we talked to, 15 of them mentioned that they love to travel and visit new places. 

Through these conversations, we also discovered three problems when it comes to senior travel.

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Traveling and visiting new places can be a great experience, however when information and accessibility is lacking it can be limiting and frustrating for anyone, most especially for seniors.

We discovered that these roadblocks are experienced by seniors and it’s important that these needs be addressed.

 

Why Seniors?

From our secondary research with travel trends, we discovered that seniors are the biggest age group that travel locally and internationally. In addition, more than half of seniors living in America are tech savvy and knows how to use a digital device, and mainly use it to view maps online and plan their travels.

 

 

How might we provide a richer visiting experience for senior travelers?

 

 

What was our solution?

 
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Build

We designed an online platform that provides custom maps for senior travelers focusing on the learning and accessibility experience.

 

Existing Solutions

We analyzed the market and looked into four other online platforms and apps that provide maps and travel information. We found that none of them focus on providing learning and accessibility information on specific places that seniors can visit, such as parks and garden.

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Market Analysis

With Paveline, we wanted to gear towards simpler platform that provided the right accessible information for seniors. With that, our design principle focused on the Learning Experience by providing them information on the places they visit, and Accessibility Experience by providing them the flexibility to customise their own route based on their interests and needs.

 

User Journey

We create a user journey map to determine which part of the experience we intended to change. With this, we were able to clarify our goal when it came to the user experience. By changing the way seniors get accessible information, we wanted to create a unique and better visiting experience for them.

 

Identifying Location Attributes

During our site-investigation process, we found out that not every place will be suitable for us to map.

We visited three tourist spots around The Bay Area. As a team, we identified our location attributes that lived to our Design Principles and we used The Japanese Tea Garden as our reference point.

We came up with a list of attributes and decided that we want to places that have unclear accessibility information, nature or outdoor activities, uneven paths or ground texture, different elevations, such as hills, scenic spots to learn about, resting areas, such as benches.

 

Challenges

We had to make a decision: Do we provide our users a digital platform or a printed map?

Throughout our journey, we held late night discussions on what our final product would be. As we continued to build, validate and experiment our Minimum Viable Product, we were faced in a crossfire between wanting to address our users’ needs but also build a viable and sustainable startup business. From research, where we showed up with maps we designed and printed ourselves, we learned that seniors value the physicality of things and they like maps that are printed as opposed to digital but product scalability was extremely difficult, in terms of production and acquisition.

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Solution

We solved the problem by handing the choice to our users.

We asked ourselves: Why not give them both? Instead of printing the maps ourselves, we decided on providing a digital platform that gives users the option to print their map from home.

Below, we sketched a storyboard to determine how we want to show our product demo to users. This helped us visualize how we want our product to be and how it might be used by senior travelers.

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Designing For Accessibility

One of the biggest challenges we also faced was how can we make our product accessible and user friendly for seniors?

There were a lot of factors we had to consider such as — clickable buttons, large text, simple and straightforward language, and the hierarchy of information. We admit that we weren’t able to address much of the UI challenges as we became more focused on addressing the business side of our project. But upon 2 iterations of our Digital MVP, we learned a lot when it comes to designing a more accessible interface.

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Iterations

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Website Demo

User Flow

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Key Features

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Customizing Route Information

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Selecting Accessibility Options

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Adding Scenic Spots To Route

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Displaying Customized Route

 

Final Map Design

 
 

Is it a viable business?

 
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MEasure

We wanted to see if there was a potential market.

 

Business Model

As a team, we developed a Business Model Canvas to create structure for our startup.

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Financial Model

We created a Financial Model to see wether or not we will make profit as a business. With our model, we get revenue by offering premium maps, seasonal passes and having value-adding advertisements on our maps.

 

Market Opportunity

Our target market is the Senior Population who uses technology. Aside from secondary research the CMO of our team, Jie Mi, reached out to experts and organizations to ask about the market size of our users.

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Customer Acquisition

At the end of our project, we conducted 2 user experiences with our physical map, 2 beta testings with our digital map, and acquired 5 signups.

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Insights

Building a startup has become an incredible and fulfilling experience for me. Through consistent user research, interviews and validating our product, I learned how to truly listen and constantly drive back to our user’s needs; through team leadership and weekly presentations that led up to a final pitch day, I learned how to step out of my comfort zone and build my storytelling and public speaking skills; through constant iteration and questioning of our business structure and people, I learned how to let go of assumptions, especially when it came to generalizing a group of people and their needs.

We tackled a sensitive topic that in itself has been a difficult journey for us as a team, but we worked together to make things work and happen. In the end, it’s not just key learnings about how to build a startup or develop business and financial models that I took away with me, but also how to be a better human, designer, listener and teammate.

I wrote more in-depth about my experience and learning with Paveline on Medium.