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Dtours (design-Tours) is a personalized travel app for a travel company to foster familiarity amongst strangers before they travel together.

July 2021 


User research, User Interviews, Research synthesis, User story, How Might We Activity, User Story, MoSCoW prioritization, Information architecture, Prototype, Design system, High-Fidelity designs

Individuals who have signed up for a group tour with dtours

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Why this Matters

As a project manager for dtoursIndia (2017- 2019), I have curated over 10 international tours. After understanding people's mindset while travelling with stranger, I decided to create an app that facilitates positive travel stories.

You can check out my experience here.


Fear of the Unknown

When it comes to travel, people are afraid of letting go of control and are apprehensive of being around strangers while on a vacation.


Embrace collective Experiences

To foster familiarity and reduce travel anxiety within people traveling together as a group.


Build Trust and Comfort

Dtours is an app to bring people together with shared travel bucket lists, helping them explore new places, make friends and create memories.


User- Centered Approach

The concept for Dtours originated from my desire to create a platform for strangers to become friends while they travel. Through research, discovery, and synthesis, my goals narrowed to become: enhancing users' travel experiences and communicating their needs, or making recommendations in advance. My design process includes:

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User Research

I created a research plan to decide upon the functionality of my app. My goal was to learn the following:

What motivates people to use personalized travel services?

What are people’s pain points when planning and managing a trip?

What features would they expect when booking a vacation online with a travel company?

User Interview

Based on the research plan, product goal, and company vision, I conduced user interviews with 6 users aged between 20- 45 years to understand users' pain points. The interviews were conducted with people who had travelled with dtours in the past.

What would be your reservations regarding traveling with a group of complete strangers?

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Participant #1  | Male | 29 years old

"I do consider travel to be a great way to forge stronger connections and establish bonds. My main reservation with traveling with a group of complete strangers is that I may not be able to find sufficient common ground with them to make long-lasting friendships or relationships"

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Participant #2  | Male | 32 years old

"Exposure to Covid; a platform through which these strangers signed up: if they had to verify their identity, then I'm fine, but if they just joined anonymously, I'm not comfortable with their history/background and intentions"

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Participant #3  | Female | 23 years old

"My biggest reservations would be safety. As a woman, traveling with a group of strangers can be a daunting experience. If I could maybe view their social profile and see their travel experiences, I would feel better as then they might not seem like a complete stranger to me"

Do you think you would enjoy the experience of having a travel expert plan an entire trip for you? Why or why not? 

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Participant #1  | 29 years old

"I would enjoy the experience. While I do value the personal touch of planning, I would also be down for the occasional feeling of 'completely letting go', and putting my faith in the hands of experts. If they are reputable, I can be assured to get a more comprehensive local experience".

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Participant #4  | Female | 35 years old

"No, because I have preferences for activities (like chilling, bars, adventure sports with no interest in hiking or historical museums). So if my preferences are not accounted for, I'd rather plan my own itinerary."

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Participant #6  | Male | 33 years old

"Yes, I would since I would feel safer knowing someone with more experience in planning trips is doing it for me and that I can reach out to them in case of emergency. since they have the experience they would be able to help me out the best"

I defined the target user as: young people from 18 to 38 years old, who are not afraid of "new experiences" and are only afraid of "waiting", hating having to waste time. They love technology, internet, travel experience, and have high community cohesion.

Want to use time and budget effectively throughout the journey from scheduling to the end of their trip.


User Scenario


Winter break is coming, Kevin wants to travel somewhere to unwind and take a break from his hectic schedule. He invited a few friends to join to Japan but they were all busy. Kevin does not like to travel solo and starts looking for group tours. He has heard mixed reviews about traveling with strangers but decides to take the risk and books a trip with dtours. He then installs their app and is impressed with how experienced their tour guide is. He connects with people he is going to travel with and feels less anxious about being uncomfortable. He takes the trip and fosters deep bonds, shared memories and some great perspectives.

Desk Research

In order to understand the scale and user of my app, I decided to study the travel industry and get a business perspective for my product.

  • Americans spend $ 101.1 Billion on summer vacations (Travel agent central)

  • More than 60% of travelers would consider an impulse trip based on a good hotel or flight deal (Think with google)

  • 25% of families had used a travel agent for their family vacations in the past 5 years (NYU)

  • Travel planning takes a long time. Usually 10-30+ hours.




  • Easy for the tour operator to manage trips with organized information and meaningful communication.

  • Create new trips based on bucket lists.Create a platform for travelers to share images that can contribute towards marketing collaterals.

  • Running ads for good deals and places.

  • Transparency in services to build customer trust.


  • Access to a community with shared travel interests. Gain knowledge, experience, and exposure.

  • Saving time spent on scheduling a trip.

  • Prevent issues while on the trip.

  • Plan extra events in advance.

  • Get to know people before traveling together.

  • A place to store and organize travel stories with an interactive map.

  • Seek advice from fellow travelers to explore more places.


Research Synthesis

The idea was to understand the issues and benefits of traveling with strangers and ways to maximize the experience. This helped me identify and prioritize the features of my app.


Understanding various steps involved in planning a trip helped to identify the steps where dtours app can facilitate communication and ease of planning & documentation.

Traveling with
known people

Traveling with
unknown people



How Might We help strangers become friends, inspire travel and create successful travel stories





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Based on research insights and business needs, I wanted to identify the most important features and solve them using app features. I used the MoSCoW method to prioritize features that would benefit users the most.
I decided this method against "I like, I wish, What If" and "How, Now, Wow" method because of the structured decision-making this method supports.


Information Architecture

I created the information architecture to illustrate and better understand the design's navigational structure and flow. This guided the design further by determining the user flow.

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Gathering all insights from our user research, market research & Information Architecture, a quick iteration of ideas through sketches helped shape the further steps. High-fidelity prototypes are heavily influenced from Initial sketches.

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Mid- fidelity Prototype

I created mid-fidelity prototypes using figma to build upon the grid, app interactions, and functionality. I also took upon the opportunity to get some expert reviews at this stage that helped me create my final screens

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Visual design guide

While deciding on the color scheme, it was interesting to find that red is the most dominating flag color in the world. For typeface, I picked Bauhaus 93 and Rajdhani because their letters are made out of squares an circles, and represent symmetry. It reminded me of cities and architecture.


Most dominating flag colors

in the world

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Component Library

After deciding the visual design of the app, I built a design system with reusable components to maintain consistency in the design, and stay organized while building the product. 

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Dtours App Design

In order to ensure user comfort and promote traveling, the app creates a fun and inspirational onboarding experience.


  • Home page with interesting categories

  • Full trip details

  • Contact with the travel guide 

  • Meeting the group

  • Exploring interests through the profile

Chat feature in the app enables people to interact and explore shared interests. This creates excitement in people for their trip and also prevents awkward introductions at the airport or destination.

Discussion & Next Steps

I have personal experience of traveling with strangers, as well as managing groups of travelers. Designing the Dtours app was a lesson about how to separate myself from the experiences and think like a Product Designer. 

'I am not the User' was my constant mantra.

As the next steps, Dtours App can have the following features:

  • A bucket list matching feature for users to have more conversation ground, and business to curate relevant tours.

  • Safety feature to store documents like Insurance, Passport, Visa copy digitally in one place.

  • Space to create personal blog to create meaningful travel stories with time.

  • Improved interactive map.

  • Calendar to manage trip through the app.

Thanks for stopping by

Let's Catch up!

Designed & Built by Sanchita Chugh

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