Let's Go
Master’s Project | 5 weeks
Designed for people to build connection with a new city through moving their bodies and beyond, Let’s Go supports a holistic urban hiking experience spanning from planning, undertaking, to reflecting after the hike.
It’s difficult to feel at home in a new city...
How might we connect people with their urban environment in an engaging and meaningful way?
Why Is This Important
“People who have experienced relocation depression have described this time as feeling like a loss of control...or even a loss of confidence.
In the past 3 years, over 26 - 30 million Americans moved to a different place. Relocation causes a lot of stress and can even lead to transitional trauma.
Relocation Depression: How To Manage Sadness With Moving
But Why Urban Hiking?
“The simple act of going for a walk can help to reduce stress...and help you to feel more positive about the world around you.”
The incredible mental health benefits of walking and hiking
It’s the slowest way to transport. You don’t need to worry about anything besides moving your legs...you can take in more of the moment.
It’s part of the process of getting to know the city...you really get to slow down and analyze your surroundings
Design a holistic urban hiking experience that focuses on immersion and meaning before, during and after the hike.
Let's Go
Multi-modal app supporting a holistic urban hiking experience from planning, undertaking, to commemorating and sharing after.

Through physically immersing in a space and finding meaning at different stages, people can finally build connection with a new city.
Explore Mode
Free-from route for spontaneity
The adventurous spirits can generate hikes based on points of interest instead of following a pre-curated route
Related Insight
An ideal urban hike should allow time and space for in-the-moment decisions
En Route Notification
You won't miss what might interest you
Turn on hidden gem and add stop notifications, and you will know when you approach a potential point of interest
Related Finding
Users want to be notified of Gems and other points of interest
Multi-modal Navigation
Nothing between you and the world
As an alternative to mobile navigation, watch-based navigation allow user to detach from the screen while receiving haptic guidance if needed.
Related Insight
People enjoy being fully present, but some technology are welcomed to make the physical experience richer
Memory Stamp
Remember and share the good moments
User can add text, image, video and playlist attached to their hike route. Memory stamp is an easy way to create, store and share digital memorabilia
Related Insight
Commemorating and sharing makes an experience more meaningful
Concept Video
Connect with your city, one hike at a time
Preliminary Research
Analyzing current urban hikers' POV and experience
Research Questions
How do urban hikes help people feel connected with a city?
1. What do people look for in an urban hike experience?
2. How do people go through an urban hike from planning to finish?
3. What are some challenges people face in an urban hike experience?
4. How do people remember an urban hike?
View full study plan
Interview + Design Activity
I drafted the interview protocol and design activity, and conducted 3 (out of 7) interviews. Participants were selected based on their time spent at a city and experience in urban hiking.
I led the research synthesis workshop where we clustered 260+ raw data chunks, distilled 16 themes and eventually 9 insights that directly informed design decisions:
Key Insights

Relevant info is reassuring

People want to plan for transportation, intensity and attractions en route

Flexibility allows serendipity

An ideal urban hike should allow time and space for in-the-moment decisions

Digital experience can intrude or enhance physical experience

People enjoy being fully present, but some technology are welcomed to make the physical experience richer

Commemorating and sharing makes an experience more meaningful

People want to document and share, but are mindful about privacy and safety

User Journey Map
Need for a consolidated solution for the whole experience
To put insights to context, I created a user journey map of the current urban hiking experience, which revealed a significant design opportunity: there isn't an existing solution where people's needs are cared for at all stages of a hike.
Design Principles
Digital experience should enhance physical experience
Facilitate connections throughout the entire journey
Care for people’s natural desire to wander and be spontaneous
Ideation + Downselection
How might we redesign the urban hiking experience to facilitate connection between people and their city?
I led team ideation workshop where we used experience storytelling, user scenario and dot-voting to down-select 60+ initial idea sketches. Notably, it was very effective to incorporate higher level experience goals and value proposition to down-select in the final rounds.
Final Idea
Mapping the hero journey
We landed on the most versatile and expandable idea -- a collection of service integrated in a digital interface, i.e. Let's Go. I started conceptualizing the product by mapping an ideal user journey, which inspired us to incorporate some initial concepts that addressed certain touch points well, but fell short to cater for the whole experience as features.
There wasn't enough time!
Due to limited capacity during the project, I collaborated with 2 designers to scope MVP version to only the "Create new hike" flow and a few key screens.
Landing Page
Create Hike
Hike Card
Memory Stamp Home
Memory Stamp Example
Evaluation Studies
Prioritizing user feedback
As the project manager, I prioritized concept validation with users over a bigger scope of design. Knowing there were 2 weeks left and team's narrowing bandwidth, I divided the team up to design, business strategy and video production, and I led evaluation studies and synthesis. I made sure to be part of every task team and aligned everyone at all times.
1. Concept Validation
- Experience Prototyping
- Structured De-brief
2. Feature Testing
- Card sorting
- Walkthrough
- Think-aloud Protocol
3. Usability Testing
- Walkthrough
- Think-aloud Protocol
Key Findings
1. Users want Let’s Go to cater for a LOT of  in-the-moment changes
3. Users want to be notified of Gems and other points of interest
4. Users only want to share the stamps and route with people they know and trust
5. Visual system was not accessible across all screens
Information Architecture + Interaction Flow
After the team project wrapped up, I independently built out the full flow of Let's Go's key features. I started by creating an information architecture and interaction flow.
Search for Hikes
Layering information by importance
From research insights, I understand user wants to know the hike difficulty, ways to get there and attractions en route. But how to present this information along with other personalization metrics? I conducted heuristic evaluation to understand industry best practice, which led to my decision to put the primary filters on 1st UI later and detailed filters on 2nd to achieve efficiency and avoid clutter.
Landing Page
Hierarchy over uniformity
Hearing from users that the initial landing page lacked information, I developed 2 versions of V2 based on user feedback and industry convention, and conducted a/b testing to see which one more effectively helps user discover a hike.
Landing Page V2. (a)
Lists of routes organized by category, button more accessible
Landing Page V2. (b)
Alternative list view, similar to some competitors' presentation
Final Version
Reflected user preference on the visual hierarchy in V2(a); unified top list to hike card to indicate interactivity
Hike Card
Essential info + an element of delight
Hike card is the single source of truth for people to set the right expectations. To find out what information is the most relevant, I conducted a version of closed card sorting with 5 users. Participants unanimously ranked metadata (e.g. hike description, stats) highest; Some expressed that complementary info like seasonal events and pro tips makes them more excited for the hike, which I incorporated in the final design.
Hike Card V1
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Hike Card V2
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Visual System
Creating an inclusive brand
The team aligned on a vibrant orange as our primary color to convey the friendly and playful tone of the Let's Go brand. However, usability testing revealed that the original usage of it was not visually accessible, so I independently designed and implemented V2.
Visual System V2.
‍click to enlarge
Competitive Analysis + Lean Canvas
Our unique value and business strategy
I conducted competitive analysis to identify gaps and opportunities in the current market, to inform our own design with the strengths and weaknesses of our competitors. I collaborated with 2 teammates to showcase our business model and value proposition in a lean canvas.
What did I learn?
Project Management is Key
The biggest take-away I had as the project ended was the importance of project management. I was proud of the team's work, and my role that not only ensured product delivery at a ludicrous timeline of 5 weeks, but also constantly kept the team's mental models in sync and the morale high.

But as I went on to build out the full flow of the product, and thought through technological hurdles of implementation, I realized the amount of issues that we did not even begin to think about (and any of them could tumble the product).

While it was humbling and to be honest, a little vibe-killing, I stand by the experience we designed for. Let's Go may be another student project that will never come to life, but it wasn't created in a sandbox. I have learned the user needs and wants of navigational, physical experience-centric product, which are not going to change regardless of the implementation mechanisms.