Travel Pals

UCSB PIXEL Designathon 3rd place winning submission 🥉


Travel Pal's is our team submission for UCSB's 2022 PIXEL Designathon, we designed and prototyped a travel app for the young adult audience emphasizing collaborative planning

Role & Team Info

Role  : Designer

Team : 2 other designers
Rachel Chan & Marissa Meng

Tools + Skills

Skills :

UX Research
UI Design
User Research

Duration : 72 hour Designathon


About the

Creative Lab @ University of California Santa Barbara is a club dedicated to cultivating a creative space that fosters opportunity and growth across various design disciplines within


Intermediate Track : Democratize the trip decisions, make trip planning a collaborative experience, streamline the process (storing flight info, packing lists, itinerary planning, etc.)


User Interviews & Surveys

With our limited 72 hr time frame we sent out a google survey. We collected data on users' last vacation trip details such how they chose the destination, their travel group, pain points, current travel apps, and other demographic information. We also had a section of the survey for impression testing of User Interfaces we found on Dribbble to serve as inspiration during our design process.

Each member did a user interview with an available friend, to ask more in-depth of their trip planning process. From the user interviews we were able to ask follow up questions to get more in depth answers on how users used existing apps for trip planning as well as their approaches to pain points in trip planning.

Affinity Map

We then came back together and affinity mapped our findings to find common themes across our survey responses, user interviews, and existing travel app features.

Research Findings

Compiling our research we gathered the following User Data : 
Our users had a mean age of 19.45 years old, often traveled with friends

When ranking from given pain points, users ranked the most stressful aspects of trip planning as

  • Itinerary Planning
  • Budgeting
  • Scheduling


User Audience

Narrowing down from our research we decided on our User Audience

Travel app with friends, for young adult aged 20 and up prioritizing budget and planning, utilizing reviews and distance

Site Map

With a userbase in mind to design for and research we decided on the following features :

  • Trip Dashboard :  trip overview, voting, to do lists, budget tracking
  • Map :  itinerary route, filtering, recommendations
  • Calendar : Itinerary calendar view, add activities
  • Shared Drive : share photos, videos, documents
  • Chat Sidebar : live chat with trip collaborators


Crazy 8s

Being the last design contest I'd do in college I hosted a design party @ my place!! It's always intimidating to turn written features into wireframes, so we did a few rounds of crazy 8s to visualize the different ideas we had for layouts.

It was interesting to see how each member interpreted our sitemap differently. Through our iterations I saw how my teammates came up with different ways to present the same information and new patterns to organize the page.

Overall for our design we wanted a very modular design since desktop resolution is so large. We took inspiration from notion because of the customizability and personalization that fit our theme of democratizing planning.

Combining aspects we liked from all of our crazy 8s, we started low fidelity wireframing. This stage helped to get more realistic to play around with sizing

UI Design

From the impression testing we did in the google survey, we found that users liked colorful, dynamic interfaces, that were organized but not overwhelming.

To choose our color scheme we used Adobe Color to extract color themes from UI from the impression test. We experimented a lot with different font faces, font weights, and colors. After experimenting we decided on a font face pairing and main color scheme for a finalized style guide.


My favorite part of projects is always prototyping and making products come to life. This designathon is another great example of my skills using smart animate. I'm really proud of the high fidelity interaction, it helps to show how the app would function and also demonstrates the affordances to our features.

Responsive Chat Sidebar

Nav Bar Hover States

Interactive Map Browsing

Drag-to-Add Calendar Events

Try Out the Prototype!


3rd Place!

My team and I achieved 3rd place for the intermediate track out of 20 teams and also scored best in UI!

As a result my team members and I each won a UCSB Creative Lab Sticker Pack and a $25 Figma Store Gift Card!

Video Demo


Best UI for a project I’ve done! I learned a lot about UI from my teammate Marissa! This was the most intense designathon I've ever done and it really paid off! I also think this was also the best designathon I've attended, I really enjoyed the concise prompt that makes it easier to learn from other submissions and get effective feedback.

If I could do anything differently I think I would try to get a usability test during the low fidelity stage. Our lowest category on our scorecard was for user experience, and also seeing other winning submissions I could see how the userflow could be simplified. To increase usability I think we could have run usability testing on a low fidelity prototype to see how users understood the flow and find gaps for understanding.