UX/UI Design | August, 2020


The History of Surfing, A Collective

Case Study

My Role
User Research, Definition & Ideation,
Wireframing & Prototyping,
Usability Testing
Figma, Miro, Google Docs
Sulki Kim, User Research,
Definition & Ideation
4 Weeks
Our goal was to imagine we had just been hired as a Product Designers by a new travel startup company to build a mobile app within four weeks to help modern travelers plan their next trip, giving them options for authentic cultural activities to help them connect with local people to better understand their culture and customs.


Travelers want to learn about the local culture on their trips, not just visit the popular tourist traps.


Sonder is a mobile app that helps users learn about the local culture of their travel destination so they can connect with local people to better understand their customs and become a well-rounded global citizen.
Our initial travel industry research revealed that "Cultural Tourism" is on the rise. Based on this, we developed the hypothesis that travelers enjoy learning about the cultures of the locations they visit.
Who is it for?
  • Traveler’s who love to learn about local cultures
  • Adventurers looking for hidden gem locations
  • Food lovers keen on finding the latest hot dish
  • Fans of location history and architecture

User Research

We created a proto-persona to establish initial assumptions about our potential users. Then through interview and survey analysis, we refined this into our final User Persona.
We then interviewed six people to understand the following research objectives:
  • Understand what travelers like to learn about the local cultures they visit.
  • Assess how users organize their trip activities while at their destination.
  • Understand the users pain points when traveling to a location they’ve never been to.
  • Empathize with the user’s pain points when traveling to a location they’ve never been to.
“I love to learn about local cultures - how they live, what they eat, the local language, local places, non-touristic, off the beaten path locations that allow me to become immersed in an authentic local experience.” - Juliana C.
All of the responses to our interview questions were separated by interviewee and tags were added to indicate which category each response could belong to.

Once categorized, we discovered more about what our travelers wanted to learn on their trips and empathized with the pain points they experienced while traveling.
The main takeaways from our interviewees when asked about their experiences learning new cultures of the locations they visit:
Top Areas of Interest:
  • Lifestyle, language, secret local places
  • See the real day-today of locals
  • Examples of cultural architecture
  • Food, restaurants, cafes, scenery, festivals
Pain Points:
  • Language barrier
  • Packing, bringing everything
  • Local corruption
  • Dealing with airlines
  • Not getting lost
  • Not knowing local transportation system
A survey based on our interview questions was also sent out via Slack. Eleven participants - 54.5% Female, 45.5% Male - ranging from 21-35 years of age who travel an average of 2-3 times per year responded to our survey.
Results showed that 90% of respondents felt that learning about a new culture was significantly important to them while traveling. The top three categories they were interested in learning about were: local food, the local lifestyle, and local architecture.


Problem Statement:
How might we improve the authenticity and increase the variety of local cultural activities shown to users so they feel successful in planning their trips based on an increase in return visits to the “Sonder” app over a six month period?
Feature Prioritization
App Features:
  • Ability to find local cultural activities
  • Easily plan trips
  • Use the app to find hidden gem locations

  • All necessary info can be saved offline
  • Local cultural activities are well listed
  • All travel info in one place
User Scenario: