AfroTourism UX and Service Design Strategy

Project objectives Gain insights into underlying needs of travellers, their motivations for using Travel Platforms to explore new places; and identify with services developed by AfroTourism.

Approach Together with Kristina Moody at Value Added in Africa, Dublin with support from founding CEO Ayo Oyewole in Lagos and Adam Benjamin in London, we adopted contextual enquiry methods with a small group of culture consuming travellers located in Dublin, Johannesburg, London, Accra and Oslo. We asked them what they expected to do with services offered on a curated travel planning platform before we showed a few benchmark examples to them.

We referenced each traveller’s reactions and responses to the contextual enquiry. We then gathered and analyzed their expectations, requirements and motivations to generate live personas; model elaborate scenarios and determine user learning objectives.

This process allowed us to map each consumer’s goal with experience triggers on some existing travel platforms, four of which were primed for use as part of a short comparative survey. This survey was developed in partnership with Value Added in Africa, Dublin and Afro-Tourism, Lagos. We used this approach to inform how the product experience might offer meaning and value for users on one hand. On the other hand it served as a framework for validation with users and an internal governance model. This allowed us to prioritise UX components such as information architecture, associated services, primary content; their lifecycles, design for print assets, brand communication and operating models.

Ideation and Concept Development As we were geographically dispersed we adopted participatory prototyping methods that afforded us use of Skype and Facebook as research tools. With a better understanding (informed by analysis of feedback from Facebook based survey) of audience’s expertise, interests, motivations and attitudes, we were positioned to outline content lifecycles, features, service assets and associated products that would best meet target audiences’ needs.

We used outcomes of this research to think  through context – Where are Afro Tourism’s users located? How much of them are cultural nomads? What do they value about local knowledge about unexplored parts of the world, including Africa? Are there any external factors which may be distracting them venturing into unfamiliar places? On the four platforms adopted during research we looked at how users progressed across these platforms. We paid attention to how they preferred  to own experience that comes with exploring travel options? We looked at the type of devices and associated operating systems they use? Are they novices, fluent users or experts? What features do they need their devices to have to make up for face to face contact? What type of functionality are they expecting? What might their emotional state feel like during each step of their journey?

This approach has been critical to setting design development direction, providing insights into key traveller-types and framing an end to end UX Design.

Collaborative workshops with project team to develop and manage UX development process
As part of a collaborative  process we had informal workshops via  Skype focusing conversation around content requirements, desired visitor interactions, key features, business modelling rules, peculiar visitor behaviour to enable us understand  user interface elements that are relevant.  Re-iterative conversations between users, AfroTourism, OsanNimu and Concept-Maniax covered issues and scenarios such as:

1. How avid travellers might walk through critical pathways of the site to inspire others to travel?
2. Pathways across user generated content; vlogs, podcasts, interviews, first hand stories and interviews that inform content of physical travel guides.
3. How these pathways function seamlessly in useful and relevant ways?
4. Type of  rules that should govern key interactions, such as required logins across trans-media platforms, database infrastructure and perhaps associated products.
5.  kind of  primary content most critical to users and content playing a support role during the user journey.

We referenced these issues to co-create and simulate end to end service and digital content for validation with users, colleagues at AfroTourism and web developers Concept Maniax.

Underlying these activities were capacity building workshops with colleagues at AfroTourism to flesh out governance framework for maintenance and development of UX.



Project Team

Client and Project Lead: Founding CEO Ayo Oyewole, Project Co-ordinators, Lagos: Miriam Chiazor, Ladi Shekete, Kelechi Ordu, Research Advisory: Adam Benjamin and Conall O'Caoimh, Design Research Co-ordinator: Kristina Moody, UI & Interaction Design, Katrin Mehl & Norman Patenge, UX Research, UXD and Service Design: Ayodeji Alaka. Web Developers: Concept Maniax, Athens.

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