Jasmin Plouffe


How to make a tourist feel more like a local?


During brunch one day, my friends and I were talking about our travel planning for an upcoming trip. Based on our experiences, TRUST seemed to be a big part of how enjoyable and memorable the trip was.

I wanted to create a travel app to help plan and organize a trip. But as I continued to do more research, TRUST and LOCAL EXPERIENCES appeared to be the recurring themes. I was intrigued by my findings and wanted to explore them further to create a travel app based on community.



Independent Project


UX/UI Designer


User Interviews
User Flows



Tourists want more than cookie cutter experiences. Following guidebooks feels too commercialized and packaged deals are not trustworthy. How might we create an experience that makes a user feel less like a tourist and more like a local?


Travel Gem is a mobile app that provides local experiences without the use of a generic guidebook. Users can easily find hidden gems, chat with locals and give their own local recommendations while keeping everything organized and easily accessible.


How might we create an experience that makes a user feel less like a tourist and more like a local?


The User Interviews

Out of 15 user interviews both male and female professionals, I learned interviewees:

  • wanted spontaneity to a degree

  • like having control over where they were going but open to having loose plans upon arrival

  • got recommendations from trusted sources (friends or family that have already been there)

  • would trust a local who lives there for recommendations



The User Flows

Initial user flow.

Expanded on "Happy Path" with more detailed steps.

User flow of other features in app.

User flow with minor revisions.

What I learned:

I questioned when login should happen. I finally decided that the user should login in immediately; therefore, they won't be disturbed when completing other tasks in the app.I also decided that logging in with Facebook would be essential. Users will be able to see if their family/friends use Travel Gem too which adds to the trust factor.



The Sketches

Sketches - Round 1

Background Photo by Tim Arterbury on Unsplash

Sketches - Round 2

What I learned:

With my initial sketches, I learned I have to draw my pen and paper sketches clearer. Users commented that the icons were difficult to understand. I think adding annotations would have also solved this problem.

Another big observation was the user kept stalling when looking at each screen. When asked why, the user responded that they were looking for the back button which was non existent in my sketches. Although quite obvious, I need to remember to add the back button.

With the second round of user testing, I wanted to find out if all the icons and copy were understandable to the user. By simplifying the icons and the copy, the user was able to make sense of everything.



The Wireframes



The Conclusion

If I had more time, I would develop Travel Gem even further. I think adding a "locals" persona would also be beneficial since Travel Gem is based on a community. I would want to build out more of the features, especially the organizing feature and continue with the high fidelity prototype. I also need to go back and add the login in with Facebook option.


My First Attempt To Address The Challenge:

Was only provided a general solution. I definitely need more rounds of user testing and iterations to really understand if users really need the product and why they would need it.

The Major Challenge:

During the interviews, I  struggled with coming off script when the interviewees could not express their pain points more elaborately. I would rephrase some of my interview questions to be more open-ended, pushing for the "why".

I Realized I Didn’t Understand:

how important user testing is. I'm still unsure about how the icons read, specifically the active and relaxing icons and if the size of the icons are too big or too small. But doing more user testing, I will have actual data to validate my design decisions for this specific task.