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NetEase App Design Challenge



User Research, Competitive Analysis, 

Persona Building, Storyboard, Wireframe,

Prototyping, Usability Testing, Visual Design


5 Days, 2017


A mobile application designed for new visitors to quick explore Pittsburgh and find nearby hot spots


Design a mobile travel app for your city 


Designed a mobile app with four core functions aims to help tourists explore Pittsburgh quicker and understand the local culture better

Quickly Discovering Nearby Hotspots 

Don’t miss any hotspot nearby!

TriPitt uses a more interactive way to help you discover nearby hotspots. Drawing any area on the map in Pittsburgh, then it will show you all the hot spots within this area. Different colors of map pins stand for different levels of visitor traffic.

Auto-planning the Route/Tour    

Time to get rid of your paper city map!

Save your favorite spots and searches, choose the saved spots you want to go today, then TriPitt will auto plan the route for you.

Introducing TriPitt

A mobile application aims to help tourists explore Pittsburgh quicker and understand the local culture better.

Four Core Features:

  • Quickly Discovering Nearby Hotspots 

  • Providing Information of Weekly Top 5 Hotspots in Pittsburgh

  • Auto-planning the Route/tour 

  • AR Technology 

Augmented Reality 

Have you ever wondered what it would look like if a dinosaur escaped from the sculpture? It is not just a dinosaur, it can be anything!

It’s time to get moving - Your real life adventure await! Turn on your camera and moving around, and you will query the nearby hot spots more quickly by pinning categories to the screen.

Weekly Ranking System

TriPitts provides information of weekly Top 5 hotspots in Pittsburgh based on the traffic data. You won’t miss any information of what happens in Pittsburgh every week.


To seek for the opportunity gaps of the travel app and to improve the user experience of traveling service, I did primary research and secondary research.


Primary Research

Secondary Research

I interviewed 7 people who like travel and have experience of using travel app in order to better understand their needs and wants.

Key insights from interviews:

  • Many apps are similar and not creative

  • Most users (above 50%) have no idea about hotspots of the new city, so they have to read the online tour guides written by other tourists to get information

  • Most users think that travel planning costs lots of time

  • It is not necessary that one app meets all needs from the user, it can focus on a few aspects and make them better. 

  • Plans are always changing. Most users just make a general plan before they go to the new city. 

  • Users who have no knowledge about the transportation in the new city are always having trouble with schedule tours or plan routes.

  • Online tour guides or reviews are not totally trustful because of bias.

Data from the literature​:

  • In 2015, TripAdvisor Study Reveals 42% of Travelers Worldwide Use Smartphones to Plan or Book Their Trips.

  • In 2015, 28 percent of travelers overall use their smartphone to book things to do before a trip.

  • AYTM study shows that regular travelers are more likely to actually download travel related apps.

  • AYTM study shows that potential travel app users are most interested in apps that let them research and compare rates and deals, rather than ones that let them actually book their travels.


Competitive Analysis



Pittsburgh Travel Guide and Offline City Map

Pittsburgh Tourist Guide

Narrow Down to Main


Persona Building

Combined insights from interviews with the competitor analysis, mains problems narrowed down as below:

  • How to know the city quickly in a short time

  • How to find nearby hotspots easily in a new city 

  • How to quickly plan the route for tourists who have time management issues

  • How to make the app more fun and engaging 


  • Bad travel planner

  • Always being lost in a new city 

  • Have trouble with discovering hotspots as many as possible in a new city

Melissa, 23, student

Life Style

  • Full-time student majors in Photography 

  • Travel a lot because of her major and hobby


  • Travel and explore a lot

  • To be a professional photographer 

Define the

Opportunity Gap 

Based on the research and analysis, I found that there is a great gap of city exploring for people who travel in a new city and want to discover the hotspots. So I decided to create an easy use app to help tourists to explore the city quicker and understand the local culture better.




I drafted out the chosen design idea, and created low-fidelity prototype , which was supposed to show a flow of the four core functions of the app. Then I did 8 think-aloud with potential users. Based on the gathered usability feedback, I redesigned the AR interface and refined the auto-planning functionThis process helped me evaluate my final prototype.

Interactive Prototype

Play with it below or click

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