Kin Trip planner that generates suggestions to urge people to go out
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Overview
Curating activities and suggestions so families engage more 14 Week – Team Project – Worked as interaction and UI designer Kin is an app that crawls the web to find local events, points of interests, and activities happening nearby. It curates and presents these as ideas throughout the week for both family members to decide on later. By simplifying decision making, Kin makes it easier and less stressful for families to go out.
Problem
Pressure of planning and initiating keeps single parent families from trying new experiences or engaging With search tools like Google Maps and Yelp easily available to everyone, people have no problem finding places to go, restaurants to eat, and events to attend. However, parents’ busy schedules and responsibilities leave them very little time to engage with their children. When parents do have time to spend, the pressure of planning and initiating becomes another awkward and pressuring barrier that keeps children from following through.
Michael C. Senior at ACCD
“I don’t want to bother others because I know they’re busy; I wait for them to bother me.”
Connie B. Student at PCC
“We always talk about doing things, but we never end up doing them.”
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Field Research: Observation We conducted interviews with both single parents as well as students who were raised by single parents, and recorded their responses in affinity diagrams
Michael C.
"My parent needed to play the role of both mom and dad."
Critical User Journey We synthesized our learnings from our interviews and constructed a critical user scenario documenting a typical day of parent and child
Kristy L.
"Most of the decision making happens in the car, right before we are about to go out"
Product Landscape We looked at current products on the market that allowed people to search for places or experiences and accessed their strengths and weaknesses.
Connie C.
"You end up just Yelping in the car and not wanting to do anything at all."
Prototyping and Storyboarding From our scenario, we developed logic flows, paper prototypes, and mid-fi screens to test and refine the concepts
Vincent Z.
"Facilitate the process of decision making by presenting options depending on whether people are in motion or when they are idle."
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Observation
Passivity is a culmination of emotional distance and lack of past interactions After talking to both single parents and people who were raised in single households, we learned that awkwardness and emotional distances between some children and their parents come from lack of engagement over an extended period of time. When families do find time to engage, because of the lack of engagement, both parent and child have no idea what to do together.
Observation
Above is a user journey we drew after our second week of research. We learned about a day in the life of a household and learned about the concept of emotional distance and how it accumulates over the weeks.
Observation
A lack of motivation to experience new things leads repetitive routines Because of this "gridlock of silence" between parent and child, families fall into routines. For some, it's frequenting the same restaurant year after year. For others, it's doing activities that either the parent or the child do not wish to participate but are forced to, putting strain on the relationship.
Observation
Through testing our concepts with our interviewees, we learned that motivation to initiate is the main driver that leads to families going out or staying in. We learned that solving for that barrier to initiate can overcome repetitive routines for families over time.
Observation
While they provide suggestions, search products do not push for decision making The top products that come to mind for places are Yelp, Google Maps, and Foursquare. While these products make activities and locations more accessible, it creates the problem of overwhelming people with too many suggestions, making deciding and committing difficult.
Observation
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yelp are specialized at returning results that are relevant to the person's search, which requires people to already have decided on what they wish to do.
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Opportunity
How might we make planning trips less daunting and more delightful between busy single parents and child? As a team, we found a gap in current search products. While options and location information are now more accessible than ever, the results are not catered towards people’s preferences, making decisions and initiating a pain point. For parent and child, making a decision without confrontation and pressure could be the difference between breaking or continuing the cycle of repetitive routines.
Lo-fi Iteration
I played around with the idea of "Tinder dating" suggestions. Everyday, people will be prompted with a selected set of suggestions for places to go or activities to do. People can either say yes or no to events, which are saved in a planning phase.
Lo-fi Iteration
In this iteration, I experimented with creating urgency for both parent and child. A "chat head" that shows a count down will float at user's phone screen. People can drag those suggestion to save them for later decision.
Lo-fi Iteration
I also wanted to try out incorporating voting into suggestions. Because both parent and child have to agree upon a destination, using votes as a way to decide which ones to attend.
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Learning
Describing an experience is more captivating than listing a destination From our experiments, we found that the way our app presents information is just as important as the content it brings. People resonate with experiences, not another location to checked off the box. Using stories, snippets, descriptions, or images is more effective in captivating and bringing interest than simply showing a destination.
Learning
Deciding over an interface is less demanding and pressuring than in person One strength of using an interface for deciding is that people don't feel confronted. Casting a vote, thumbing up an image, or commenting on a post is a lot less stressful because it doesn't have the added pressure of seeing emotions from the other individual. This feature makes timid people a lot more active and willing to participate in deciding or suggesting.
Learning
Using image feed to present suggestions invokes the sense of spontaneity Another insight we found was the power of images in capturing a location or activity. Using images as an entry point better captures peoples attention and communicates what they might experience should they decide to go to that destination.
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Mid-fi Iteration
In this iteration, I tried the idea of having different "themes" every week. Each theme will have a package of ideas from which can be saved into a shared "idea pouch," from which both parent and child can see new activities proposed by each other.
Mid-fi Iteration
In this iteration, I adopted the Tinder model of saving ideas. Each day, a set of suggestions will populate in the user's feed. User's can save it or discard it. All saved ideas are put into a saved space where both parent and child can vote on the one's they want to do together.
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Learning
Voting on ideas remotely allows family members to better understanding each other's preferences Voting is the most familiar form of consensus. Using this form of decision making allows both parent and child to remotely agree on suggestions, have a safe space to proposed places they want to go, and learn about each other's interests, all without the need to sit down at a table or in person.
Learning
One of the main challenges is when people do not agree on the proposed suggestions Although our iterations received positive feedback in terms of driving engagement, the suggestion model presents the risk of not delivering any suggestions that interests people or can agreed upon. We recognize that this is a big constraint that depends heavily on how preferences are calculated and how the service adapts overtime to peoples interests.
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Hi-fi Wireframe
Explore and save ideas for activities, places, or events throughout the week Kin searches in the background and presents its findings in a curated feed like Pinterest. Suggestions are relevant to both parent and child because it accounts for their preferences and calculates interest overlaps. Kin turns the searching experience into a discovery one, building engagement and excitement.
Hi-fi Wireframe
See why a suggestion is shown, what’s fun to do, and how to get there Suggestions are shown with descriptions of what it is, why it is relevant based on people’s preferences, what activities to do, and how to get to the destination. Kin provides all this information so that people can just focus on choosing which activity they want to do together without the hassle of figuring out logistics and navigation.
Hi-fi Wireframe
Vote on ideas to decide on which ones to attend together Voting on ideas is a main difference between Kin and other search products. This feature takes away the pressure of deciding face to face or last minute, and allows people to decide through the week. Seeing ideas other’s have voted helps people learn more about each other’s interests.
Hi-fi Wireframe
If there is a tie among suggestions, Kin can distribute them for the future In the rare case of a tie among suggestions, Kin randomizes and distributes them into upcoming weeks. This feature removes the awkward situation of having to choose one idea over the other, as well as builds anticipation for future activities.
Hi-fi Wireframe
Saves photos and videos into chapters based on the places visited All photos and videos taken are automatically saved into different “chapters” in Kin. Albums are created based on the different places visited. This feature keeps all memories centralized, shows the journey people got to experience together, and helps people better share stories of their bonding experiences.
Next Steps
Create Kin prototype and conduct concept validation One of the main challenges we faced was deciding on how to execute the final prototype. While the final scope of the project proposes a physical device that people interact with, we later found that the same features can be achieved through a mobile app. Our next step is to create a higher fidelity prototype and followup with our interviewees for validation.

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