If you could travel back in time, where would you go?
Zeit is the first and only company to commodotize and make time travel tourism available to all.
A total of 289 destinations all over the world, from prehistoric times through today, have been approved and finalized for travel.
Research, UX / UI Design, IA, Visual Design
Sketch, InVision, OptimalSort, & Illustrator
Self-directed with feedback from mentors and peers
8 weeks - 20 hours per week
Create a logo that is both modern & alludes to historical times
Design a site that allows users to browse through trip packages
Determine the overall look and direction of Zeit’s branding
Because Zeit is a unique product with no direct competition, conducting research for this project seemed tricky at first. If Zeit were to be the first company to commoditize time travel, it’s possible they could be a major disrupter and game-changer in the travel & entertainment industries.
Still, if I had to compare Zeit to any other product, travel booking websites seemed the most similar to what Zeit offered. People using Zeit’s product would still need to plan for their trips and book them through Zeit’s website; which doesn’t seem all that different than planning a regular vacation. With this reasoning in mind, I planned my research around understanding the travel industry and the travelers themselves.
What makes taking a trip fun? What motivates people to travel? Why would someone travel back in time? Would there be any reservations or fears regarding time travel? Which companies and industries might be considered competitors of commercialized time travel? These are the main questions I wanted to answer through user and market research.
Since time travel isn’t actually a thing, I spent time researching Zeit’s indirect competitors; companies and brands within the travel industry. I wanted to learn how they were different, how they were unique, and what things they had in common that helped make them successful.
Identify potential competitors
Identify any obstacles, fears, or issues around time travel that might discourage potential customers from participating in a trip
Learn more about how people currently plan and book vacations
Find out what kinds of people are likely to use Zeit to travel
After spending time looking at Zeit’s competitors, I discovered that there were a wide range of strengths, weaknesses, services, and offerings within the travel industry. However, there were a few things that all competitors did that made them successful:
✓ Strong visuals and storytelling deliver a more impactful message
✓ Unique value propositions help customers understand a company’s value
✓ A seamless experience across platforms helps build customer trust and loyalty
✓ Good visual design conveys a lot and is something that users find comforting, engaging, and desirable.
I inteviewed 4 participants to try to better understand how people plan their trips, what resources they currently use online for researching trip destinations, and things they find frustrating when trying to research, plan, and book trips online. Partipicants that were interviewed were frequent travelers who often use online resources to plan & book trips.
Summary of User Interview Findings:
Based on my user interviews and research, I ended up creating a persona for George Davis—intellectual and history buff. George would be likely able to afford time travel, and is especially interested in history. He would jump at the chance to be able to time travel!
Once I knew who Zeit’s archetypical user was, it seemed only natural to start trying to figure out how the structure and functionality of the site would work while keeping George’s needs, frustrations, and motivations in mind.
To get started, I created a few sketches to explore different ideas for the home, search results, and trip detail pages.
After I completed the sketches, it was time to start wireframing, and get a bit more specific with how different elements would work and be defined on each page.
Based on my user research and what I gleaned in user interviews, photographs and videos were really important when trying to decide where to travel to. Especially if the user has never visited a place before (and the photographs and videos they find online are all they have to go off of) - which would absolutely be the case for Zeit. With that in mind, I decided to be very liberal with the use of photography and imagery in my wireframes, using light grays and dark navy to denote where photos and videos would be.
To help build trust (as untrustworthy travel websites are one of the things George finds frustrating), I also included testimonials, user reviews, and user ratings.
Along with figuring out layout and functionality of the site, it was equally important to determine the direction for the branding. One of the frustrations that our user persona George had was coming across untrustworthy sites, so it was important that Zeit’s branding came across as professional and trustworthy.
Since Zeit is an agency that specializes in time travel, it was important to create a logo that felt both modern and historical at the same time. I thought it would be neat to include a more old-fashioned way of keeping track of time within the logo, and explored options such as grandfather clocks, obelisks, hourglasses, and sundials. Eventually, I settled on a sundial design which seemed iconic and fun.
I created this initial prototype, applying the visual elements from the style tile to the wireframes. Once that was done, I did some usability testing with 6 participants, who were asked to complete 2 different scenarios. Their first task was to explore trips related to ancient history, starting from the home page. Their second task involved finding a trip that seemed interesting and learning more about it.
Overall, the feedback I got from participants was positive. Completing scenarios were simple and straightforward, the CTA buttons on different pages were obvious, and users felt that there was enough information on trips and time travel to know what to expect. Others said that the testimonials and user reviews also helped build trust.
However, the search bar was confusing, and it confused the majority of participants during usability testing. There were 3 dropdown filters, an option for people to click on the magnifying glass icon and do a custom search, and there was also an “explore” button that some mistook for two buttons due to the vertical divider between “explore” and the arrow icon. The magnifying glass icon was supposed to expand when clicked on - but a lot of users found it confusing and didn't understand its purpose.
Original Search Bar Design:
Updated Search Bar Design:
Below are the final iterations of the design, based on the feedback I received from participants during user testing!
This project was a journey in developing my user research and usability testing skills. I also learned the process of deeply understanding people through persona creation, interviews, and user testing.