Texas Highways

A travel mobile application design for Texas official travels magazine



This is a side project that cooperated with Texas Highways magazine to produce a mobile application and give them further suggestions.


Texas Highways is an official monthly travel magazine in Texas with launched by the Texas Department of Transportation. It provides articles and photography both in magazine and website to promote travel and tourism to Texas.

Project type

2 members' team project

My role

UX researcher
UX designer


3 months



Client demands

We went to the Texas Department of Transportation to meet the team of Texas Highways. During the meeting, we understood they had several demands about the application.


Goal setting

We set up the goals of the application according to the client demands. It helps us to have a direction when designing our application.

Be the best and credible travel application in Texas. 

Be accessible to every user.

Create trip planning function.

Form a community.



Since we didn't have experience in the travel industry, collecting information was an important process to realize it.  In later user interviews, we could interview with limited people, so more data from the literature reviews enhanced our confidence about user' behavior when traveling. 

Key takeaways 

  • 89% of people usually do research on activities and restaurants before travel. (Source: TripBarometer Global Report.)

  • 74% of travels begin by researching and choosing their destination(Source: TripBarometer Global Report.)

  • Information Quality predicts source credibility, customer satisfaction, and website quality.(Source: Why people trust TripAdvisor?)



We chose several competitors to discover their strengths and weaknesses and see what are Texas Highways' opportunities. There are six direct competitors and two indirect competitors. Four out of five direct competitors mentioned by our clients in kickoff were Expedia, Tripadvisor, google map and Yelp. We also added two competitive applications ─ Airbnb and OpenTable for studying.  Besides, Pokemon Go and Geocaching were indirect competitors which we expected could bring inspirations to us from other industries.

Key takeaways 

Direct competitor

Indirect competitor

Gamification and Community are the key factors what we found can increase user' engagement.



To understand what user want when they using travel application and how they interacting with it, we conducted user interviews. We recruited 7 users who have a different background. 

Participant demographics

In Texas

Out of Texas

The users included people grew up in Texas or other states and out of America. Besides, they have different financial conditions: part-time employer, full-time employer, and full-time students, but most important, all of them have interests in traveling in Texas.


User interview consists of 27 questions, divided into four sections: personal information,  pre-warm-up, general overview, and further information. In personal information, we asked questions about age, location and yearly salary, and there are several examples in the following sessions.

​In the warm-up session:

  • When was your last trip? How was it??

  • How do you collect travel information before you go?

In the general overview session:

  • Which are your favorite travel applications on your smartphone?

  • What made you want to download the application?

In further information session:​

  • What did you expect on your trip to Texas and how’s the experience?

Then we used the excel spreadsheet to help us analyze the answers.


interview results.png


From user interview, we found there are basically sperate into two travel styles which are by public transportation and self-driving. However, since our client mainly focuses on people who drive by themselves when traveling in Texas, we only kept the self-driving style for studying. As a result, based our secondary research and interview results, we produced the persona which helps us pay emphasis on the specific prototype when we designed the application.


User Journey Map


When we created the persona, we realized the scenario of using a travel application were much complex than we thought. Therefore, we decided to create a user journey map based on the persona to analyze the timeline of all touch points between users and travel application. 


Key takeaways

  • It is always hard to start planning the trip.

  • Price reference is highly needed.

  • Pushing notifications of upcoming events raises the opportunity to make users keep the application.



Ideation helped us to inspire and clarify which features are easy and necessary to have in the application immediately and which features need more supports and studies in long-term planning. 


We collected all the information from secondary research and our research and set up different stages the application can achieve. Tier 1 means features we will include into the application right away. Tier 2 means features probably have technical difficulties but the Texas Highways better to have for standing out from their competitors. Long-term recommendations mean features reflected from our users' feedback but the Texas Highways might be hard to execute immediately and better to have more studies about it.


Tier 1 :

  1. Construct a filter system includes cost, distance, number of travelers, and trip period.

  2. Change the layout of information. 

  3. Build a community through gamification and interaction within users.

  4. Create travel packages as the recommendation and the price preference.

  5. Send events and discounts notifications.

Tier 2 :

  1. Providing a rating system and comments functions.

  2. Supporting the multi-language menus.

  3. An online wait in line system.

Long-term recommendation :

  1. Provide short videos.

  2. Increase message function with restaurant hosts or event organizers.

  3. Lift up the fame of the Texas Highways magazine. 

  4. Improve search system such as tag function.


Wireframes helped us to plan the functionalities of every page, and manage risk by catching design flaws early and changing direction without waste time and effort. It also allowed my user to focus on the workflow of the application without being distracted by color and graphic of pages.

Start &Toturing

Search &Filter

Route recommendation


Save & Profile





We conducted usability testing after wireframe creating. It helped us to understand the ​problem in our design, and revised it before creating a high-fidelity prototype. 


We produced a prototype according to our wireframe and recruited three people to complete 6 tasks in usability. These 6 tasks were designed for testing the functionalities of 5 navigations and filter system.


We produced a prototype according to our wireframe and recruited three people to complete 6 tasks in usability. These 6 tasks were designed for testing the functionalities of 5 navigations and filter system.

Naming and icon in Navigation.


Route sharing.



After we revised the wireframe design based on usability testing results, we started to add colors, UI components, and content into our low-fidelity prototype. The high-fidelity prototype is a good example which saved time and effort when we delivered design to clients.


Try by yourself? Please visit: ​https://invis.io/CNRY2G44ZVX

What I learned?

Secondary research is important.

Working in an unfamiliar industry, collecting secondary research is a critical first step. It provides an objective method to realize the industry and reliable data to support project direction. 

The user journey map helps us to focus on detail.

The user journey map can analyze every touch points might happen between user and application. Listing pain points and opportunities guilds us toward a preliminary design blueprint.

The user interface needs repeatedly testing.

In the project, we only iterated the design once, however, the high-fidelity prototyping still needs testing. We can repeatedly design different scenarios and test usability to perfect our design in the future.