It's no secret that many people are scared of traveling alone because of matters like safety, uncertainty or fear of discrimination in a foreign city. More specifically, the majority of these concerns come from women, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people, which is why we came up with the question: "How might we create an app to inspire and encourage women, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people traveling alone or who want to travel alone for the first time?

What it does

Buddy was created to provide safety information and women, LGBT and minority-specific tips for each city. Buddy aims to create a community that fosters mutual support through the selection of travel buddies, users who might be traveling to the same location for the first time, or who just need support from other Buddies. Also, by encouraging people to share their solo travel experience, Buddy aims to motivate other users to step out into the world of solo traveling.

How we built it

The first phase involved researching the current market for travel apps, and were happy to find a niche that we could cater to.

We managed to interview two people and obtained survey replies from three more, which was a fair amount considering the time limitations. One one of the interviewees was a cisgender woman who had previously traveled alone, whereas the other one was a member of the LGBTQ+ community who had concerns about traveling solo for the first time. We tailored the interview questions differently to each of them in order to to better understand their unique experiences. We made sure to ask non-leading, open-ended questions.

For people who had traveled alone:

  • Tell us about your experience traveling alone.
  • How did you feel before you travel?
  • What were your concerns about traveling as a woman?
  • What are some things you would have liked to know before you traveled?
  • How safe did you feel during your trip?
  • What resources did you use to get informed before traveling?

For people who had never traveled alone:

  • What are some concerns keeping you from traveling alone in general?
  • Do you have any concerns about traveling as a woman? If so, what are they?
  • Do you have any concerns about traveling as part of the LGBTQ community? If so, what are they?
  • If you were to travel alone, what resources would you like to have access to?
  • And if you were to travel alone, what would make you feel safer?

According to their responses, both were highly concerned about safety when traveling solo. More specifically, the LGBTQ+ person mentioned they were worried about having to use the bathroom as a trans person, as well as understanding gender-neutral pronouns in other languages. Also, the acceptance of trans people in other regions of the world varies from country to country. These were among some of the issues we highlighted in our user personas, which were designed to help us empathize with our prospective users.

Challenges we ran into

Since we didn't have enough time to conduct more in-depth interviews, it could be argued that time was definitely a constraint during this hackathon, but hey, that's what it's all about, right?

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We managed to create a functional prototype of an app previously not found in the market. We successfully addressed the users' concerns regarding solo travel, versus the more frivolous concerns like where to go and how much money to spend that general travel apps tend to address.

In addition to that, we managed to design an attractive user interface that's fun and engaging among young people, who are usually more inexperienced and reluctant to travel alone. We're also proud of having been able to complete the ideation of Buddy within the established timeframe. It taught us a lot about time management, quick thinking and even quicker designing!

What we learned

We got the chance to dive deep into the struggles women, LGBTQ and minorities face when traveling alone. All three of us encompass at least two of these categories, which is why it was so important for us to understand that the struggles people face when traveling should not be shrugged off, and instead, addressed through the power of design. We also enhanced our empathy by trying to understand the negative feelings experienced by young, solo travelers. The content we created in order to educate the community attempts to be engaging, colorful and fun, while answering the questions many people have.

What's next for Buddy?

Well, you never know! For now, we'd love to test our prototype with real users, get some good feedback and iterate, iterate iterate! The work of a designer is never done. Conducting interviews is also something all three of us found really interesting, so we wouldn't say no to continuing our research on the topic in order to strengthen our app and address any issues that it might still have. The more perspectives, the better!

We invite you to click on the Figma link below to take a look at our live prototype.

Built With

  • figma
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