Project Info

Product design
Group of 4
8 weeks

My Contributions

Design of research protocol
Development of initial testing concept
UX testing and iterations
Mid-fi and final prototype user flows, branding, and UI
Sherpa is a matching service that ultimately keeps foreign travelers safe in the US, through local guides attuned to and experienced in their specifically personal concerns.
Trigger Warning: Disturbing headlines below
I'm an international student. I love the US. Studying in a countryside region, it's been wonderful, quaint and quiet.

But the US is big. As big as it is, there's huge cultural differences between the regions, states, and even cities. And recently, as politically polarized as it's been, there have been unmistakable incidents that signal to the outside world that the US can be...disorderly.

Tourism in the US is huge, and of course these presumptions can have an adverse effect on it. Traveling should be exciting, not anxiety-invoking.

International visitors have their reservations about travel safety in the US

A group of 25 international university students were interviewed about their travel planning process.

The uncertainty is distressing during the planning stage

The travel planning process always starts off exciting...
But things always take a turn.

This is because there are arguments about travel safety, but more specifically
whether the travel safety information is credible or sourced correctly.

US travel safety information is hard to find, and even harder to trust

Young, international visitors to the US often find it difficult looking for travel safety, food hygiene, cultural research to ensure their travel experience is safe and secure.
This is because:

- there is no centralized safety or security information platform
- it’s hard to trust anonymous reviews online.
How do we address this?
After exploring a bunch of possible solutions, the local-virtual tour guide was our chosen solution.

The other solutions provide a means to make users feel more safe, but do not address the root of the problem: the unfamiliarity of location, the need for a trustworthy source of information and, more importantly, guidance for the uncertainty.

Ideating a virtual travel companion and a preventative solution to travel safety

Link with local guides in the US

International travelers can chat with local guides who understand their concerns to figure out what specifically to look out for, what the customs are and where to avoid.
Subscriptions and commissions

Using sherpa, locals in the US can verify their identities to become sherpas (guides) on the platform to earn a commission for each satisfied traveler.

Paying a subscription fee, international visitors can interface with sherpa to receive travel safety information about their travel location in the US.
What is the advantage of using sherpa vs premade itineraries?

Package tours cannot be changed and must be taken as is. In the context of international visitor safety in the US, this means theres no curation to you, your background or your culture.

What might be a safe, comfortable trip in the US for person A might be completely different for person B.
The app's initial design included minimal onboarding with a map-view of local guides, an itinerary co-planner feature with the local guide, and matching manually from the traveler’s side.
Explore the initial user testing prototype diagram below:
However, user testing revealed that the app was losing its main focus: to increase trust-ability in the locals and efficiency of finding information.

The itinerary co-planner feature was removed, and the following was changed.
The latest redesign of the product focuses on making the process of finding a trustworthy sherpa streamlined.
Explore the latest prototype below:


1. B, C. (2022, May 11). How to plan the best American roadtrip in 3 Weeks across the Midwest and Western States - includes a detailed daily itinerary. Claire Pins | Travel Inspiration and Helpful Reviews.

2. Nabi, J. (2021, June 22). Opinion: Vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. is a peculiar privilege. NPR.

3. NBCUniversal News Group. (2022, February 14). Anti-asian hate crimes increased 339 percent nationwide last year, report says.

4. Richferrer. (2020, June 10). How should a Jewish newspaper respond to George Floyd’s killing? Richard Ferrer | The Blogs.

5. staff, A. (2022, May 25). In today’s AJC: A school shooting in Texas and the Big Election Day in Georgia. ajc.

6. Yahoo! (n.d.). Photos: How newspapers around the world covered the deadly riots at U.S. capitol. Yahoo! News.