Hike and Seek
User Research, UX/UI Design
For | At:
Personal Project | Viget
Even though Boulder, CO is full of trails, there is no good way for casual hikers to find trails that match their preferences or find trail information. Most veteran Boulder hikers know everything they want to know about the trails around them through years of exploration. But for casual hikers who are visiting or have just moved to the city, finding the right trail is no easy task.
I designed a trail finder app for non-local/newly local, casual hikers in Boulder. It helps them find trails that match their goals and access information about those trails. Users can easily filter trails based on their preferences (trail distance, difficulty, scenery, etc.), download trail maps, get directions to trails, view the weather forecast, save hikes for future reference, and more.
I interviewed hikers in Boulder about their hiking habits and distributed surveys to get more detailed insights about how Boulder hikers choose trails. My research influenced my design in two ways: first, it helped me understand the habits and motivations of my casual hiker audience. I discovered that the casual hiker actually prefers not to know every detail about a hike before setting out – only key details. Secondly, I used my findings to compile a list of the top challenges casual hikers face with Boulder trails and the key categories of information they seek when setting out for a hike. This helped me determine which trail filters and trail details to include in the site and how to make the most important information the most accessible.
I also conducted a competitor analysis of trail finder sites in order to identify strategies for improvement. I focused my analysis on AllTrails, which I discovered from my research is the most popular trail finding site among casual hikers. I identified two main aspects of AllTrails I wanted to try and improve according to the needs of this target demographic: information prioritization and trail map functionality.
After I finished my low-fidelity designs and rough prototype, I conducted several rounds of first-click tests and moderated usability tests. I discovered several major usability concerns that I addressed in subsequent rounds of design revisions:
It needed to be easier for users to find their Saved Trails.
The trail map and the map showing directions to the trail needed to be more clearly differentiated
Users needed more granular weather information.
Trail type terminology (e.g., “out-and-back”) needed to be clearer.
Users wanted to see their current location on the map.
After usability tests were complete, I spent several days refining the aesthetics of the site. With the help of a graphic designer on the Viget team, I designed a Hike & Seek logo, compiled a style guide detailing my color and font directions, and refined key UI elements.