(Mom and Pop Stops)

An app to find & save collections of local small businesses for travelers exploring new areas!


Co-UX researcher
UI Designer




Figma, unDraw, Illustrator, Zoom, Google Drive


5 weeks

Project Overview

For the first project of the UX/UI Design Bootcamp, designers were assigned to find a problem among travelers through UX research and design a solution in the form of a mobile app to address the issue. 

User research, research insights, competitive analysis

User persona, storyboard, problem statement, feature prioritization matrix, user flow

Sketching, wireframing, mock ups

User tasks, usability testing, iterations

High fidelity mock ups

Lessons learned & next steps


User Research

My research partner (William Cawley) and I paired up for this phase of the process to obtain data through user interviews, a survey, and online research. We set out to gain a greater understanding of the experience, pain points, and motivations of people who travel for periods of one week or longer.

How do they decide where to go? What motivates them to travel? What activities do they like to do while they travel? What has been their favorite experience traveling? What has been their least favorite experience? If they could have made one improvement to that experience, what would it have been? These were a few of the questions we discussed with our users and used to create the survey.

5 User Interviews

2 male, 2 female, and 1 non-binary ages 26-41

Google Survey

30 responses
Link sent to bootcamp cohort, family, and networks

“The best part of traveling is the culture of the destination - part of that is local businesses and cuisine!”

– User Interview quote

Research Insights

The survey and user interviews revealed several key findings: 


of survey respondents identified motivation to travel as the exploration of new places, followed by 73% motivated to visit friends & family


of survey respondents use Google Maps and Word of Mouth from friends, family, and colleagues as their means of finding niche spots in a new location

Travelers are motivated to travel by the exploration of new places.

Travelers will go out of their way to find locally owned small businesses while traveling but they are difficult to find.

Food plays a prominent role in the experience of traveling.

Competitive Analysis

With these findings in mind, I conducted a competitive analysis to determine the areas of improvement for TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Maps (direct competitors) and analyzed the shortcomings associated with the system of getting travel recommendations through word of mouth (indirect competitor.)

Ultimately, the greatest drawback to using direct competitors on the market today is an inability to filter or distinguish businesses exclusive to a location and considered a small business versus a corporation. Word of mouth requires users to put in the extra effort of remembering a recommendation and writing it down or looking it up manually and saving it somehow. Users find this inconvenient and time-consuming!

Definition & Ideation

Using the qualitative and quantitative data from our research, my research partner and I diverged into our own paths to create our own user personas to represent a user who may benefit from our solutions. A storyboard of what their journey might look like and an empathy map were constructed in order to keep their needs and frustrations at the forefront of my mind as I designed a solution.

Next an I Like I Wish What If design sprint was conducted and, using the most promising ideas, utilized to create a Feature Prioritization Matrix to serve as a guide for which features the app could offer to address user pain points.

Due to the brevity of the established timeline, I decided to focus on the most promising features to prioritize.


Users grant app access to their location and notifications to alert when that user is physically near activities or food that match the set preferences on their user profile.


Search a destination in the app and obtain a results list of locally owned and operated, non-corporate businesses to patron while traveling that area.


Add the business to a collection or itinerary to remember to visit if the user is planning a trip, or to remember to go back to if the user discovered it through a notification.

The Problem

Travelers prioritize participating in local culture by supporting small businesses wherever possible. This is a difficult task for users, as Google Maps and Yelp tend to showcase large corporations and chains on results pages. Travelers need a means of finding local businesses that offer activities, events, and food rather than corporate establishments they can find back home.

The Solution

An app that helps travelers find small businesses that are exclusive to an area by search and location alerts.


Sketching & Wireframing

Sketching each frame helped to be sure I considered every step a user would take and every screen they would interact with, from start to finish. I used my own experiences with mobile apps to see what processes I could improve for end users. 


Personally, I dislike when I open a new app and cannot preview the functionality until an account is created. Based on discussion and echoed frustrations from designers within my bootcamp cohort, the decision was made to include an option to continue as a guest user and test if this was an option users enjoy.

Grant Permissions

The process of allowing the app to track a user’s location and send alerts to them.

Preference Selection

I originally thought to include the selection of preferences on the home page of the app.

Usability Testing

Testing was performed over Zoom with two users. One of the participants in this testing was a participant in the user interviews who provided research data, one was not. I sought specific feedback from this user, as their interview helped define the pain points the product was designed to address.

Task 1

Create an account and grant app permissions for location tracking & alerts.

This had some hurdles in general due to not rigging the prototype to actually allow an email to be entered, but users were able to figure out they could create an account using Apple ID or Facebook to create an account. 

Task 2

Create a new itinerary and search and add "Cherrywood Coffee House" to it.

This task showed me how users navigated the optional routes (there were several) and what was most intuitive to them. It showed there was a lot of value in creating these multiple routes to accomplish the task because every user thinks differently. 

Results & Insights

Both of the users participating in testing were able to complete the tasks and gave great feedback:

• The collections page should have a clear heading so they understand immediately what they have navigated to without having to decipher for themselves. 

• A separate preferences selection process should occur before the home screen, as it was overwhelming to navigate the task and easy to navigate away from when they got frustrated.

• They liked the option to continue as a guest user, although it was not the task, because it made them trust the platform more. Why? They like to evaluate an app and how it can help them before committing to giving away their information.


High Fidelity Mock Ups

High Fidelity Prototype


Next Steps

If I had more time to go back and improve on this project, I would get into the nitty gritty small details that occasionally tripped me up during this process. One example is the wording of "collections" versus "itineraries." In the end, I used collections as a high level term that encompassed itineraries users could make as well as a list of favorites and stops they have reviewed. However, I was not able to test this with users to see if this was effective language.

Additionally, I would create an option for small business owners to make an account to advertise their business and see how many users have viewed, saved, and reviewed it. This data could be used to inform them of how well they are marketing themselves and reaching potential customers.

Lessons Learned

I learned so much creating this first project. Beyond the learning curve of using new software, I developed a deeper understanding of how to troubleshoot issues. While the project began with a partner to share the research load, I was on my own for the definition, ideation, design, testing, and prototyping.

I began with big dreams of speaking to a specific audience of travelers who live full-time in vehicles (“van-lifers”) but quickly learned that the scope was too narrow to compile enough research in my timeline. To combat this issue, I broadened the demographic of users and found an issue that could apply to travelers of all duration, whether they live on the road or take occasional trips.
One of the greatest lessons this challenge taught me was to prioritize the organization of my time, files, and workspace. It is easy to get lost in all of the data and ideation; keeping everything neat is essential to ensuring deliverables are created on time.

I am proud of the project I created and it is one I hope to revisit in the future to continue improving.

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