Seekr is an experience driven travel platform that connects adventerous travelers with knowledgable locals. 

Co-Founder, UX Lead
Seekr was founded in April 2015 and we pitched the idea in August 2015 - it is an ongoing adventure.


See the Full Case Study 

Final animation by teammate Jeremy Tinianow

Context and Opportunity

A large part of the BDW Graduate Program is spent in a startup semester. Students form teams around ideas and at the end of four months pitch their product. 

The best travel experiences turn us all into storytellers, and those stories usually include the amazing people met along the way. Our team formed around the desire to make it easier for adventurous travelers to have authentic experiences, and connect with knowledgable locals around the world.  We are a team of 5 avid travelers - and all had run into the problem of trying to find a unique experience while traveling.  I joined team Seerk as the UX Lead. I lead my team through research, design ideation, and numerous sketching and prototyping sprints.  

The company was founded in April 2015, and we pitched our idea to a large crowd of industry professionals and investors in August 2015. Seekr was featured in Innovators Peak in an article about students and the next generation of tech. 

Read the Full Case Study

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Problem

Finding unique, off-the-beaten path experiences while you are traveling takes dedicated time and research.  Many places that are desirable to travel to do not have the technological infrastructure that the western world does, and many connections and experience are left to serendipitous meetings.  How can we reach with the 80% of the world that does not own a smart phone, or have access to internet - but does have a wealth of knowledge they are willing to share.

Our Mission 

Humans are better than search results.
And we believe that local people have unique knowledge and views on their culture, and are willing to share, they just need a platform to do so.

Hypothesis

If we build a platform that leverages the most basic communication technology available (SMS) to connect travelers  directly with locals, then we will be able to improve the users ability to find truly authentic travel experiences, regardless of where they are going.

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Animation by Jeremy Tinianow

Process: Discovery Phase

After defining our first hypotheses, we needed to develop a solid understanding of the travel space, what these type of experiences look like, as well as, gain an understanding of those seeking the experiences, and the individuals who provide them.

I developed a research plan to fill in the gaps between what we already knew. I developed goals and methods to get results and uncover insights we could act upon.

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Our Users

While there are many types of travelers seeking unique experiences. We wanted to hone in on travelers and guides who would be open to new ways of connecting. 

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Competitive Landscape

The travel space is crowded.  We spent a long time exploring what Seekr could offer that other platforms didn’t. We also explored ways we could live in parallel with some of these companies.

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Experience Opportunities

Using experience mapping and user scenarios, we visualized each step of the traveler and the guide, up until they met and then parted ways. This helped us to dive deeper into the pain points of each user and reiterated the emotional states we were aiming to design for.

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Insights: Prototype Testing

Determine the desirability and usability of a text-based communication platform that connects travelers with locals.

  • simplicity of texting to receive information and to connect was exciting for users
  • travelers would like to be presented with multiple choices of providers
  • travelers questioned safety and legitimacy of locals
  • slow response time of provider and Seekr resulted in traveler drop off.
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What Next?

Seekr was a 5 month sprint to finish, although our team believes it still has wings.  We concluded the 5 months by pitching our product to investors and the local design community.  It is an ongoing adventure, and I hope to share the rest of it.