The app for discovering hidden gems


Wander is an app that inspires people to the explore the urban environment around them. This treasure hunt will help users find an adventure and locate hidden gems in their city while connecting with a community of users sharing their favorite spots for others to experience. The overall goal of Wander is to encourage people to be more curious about the world around them.











Users need an engaging social way to interact with the world around them because it can create connection [to other people] and awareness [to landmarks, etc].


Wander’s site map went through a few iterations and each one became more simplified, I tried to focus on the parts of the user survey that showed me patterns. From those patterns I made the groupings. In the first iteration there was a Home screen and from there, three main features with sub features underneath. 

As I progressed through the project, it became apparent that some of the initial features I had in mind wouldn’t work and over complicated Wander. 


Since Wander is meant to be simple so that it doesn’t get in the way of the user’s experience I came up with the current site map. In the final iteration of the information architecture, I focused on keeping only the most important features that would be essential to the Wander experience. 


Working from my information architecture, I sketched out the first screens of Wander. They were designed to be simple and easily navigable. The following sketches demonstrate how one screen flows to the next.


Starting from the home map, users would tap 'New Adventure' from the options menu which would lead them to the 'Choose Adventure' screen. After an adventure is chosen, they would come to the 'Active Adventure' screen that would notify them when a location of interest is around. This notification would appear when the phone is locked as well. 


A key feature of Wander is the ability to review an adventure so users can be apart of a community. To access this feature, users would simply go to the options menu, tap 'Recent Adventure', which would lead to a map and the locations they Wandered to. Users would tap the review button, leading to a short review screen and they are done.


Wander is data based and tracks users adventures. The profile section notifies users how many places they've traveled to, the distance they've gone, and how often they've reviewed and rewards them for doing so. To get here, users tap the options menu and the 'Profile' icon.


I took the paper sketches and polished them to a mid-fidelity level in Figma, bringing in a bit of playfulness through Wander's images and UI. I began to envision the interactions each screen would have and chose to add in color and extra detail at this stage to save me time when it came to the fine tuning for the hi-fidelity

Active Adventure

Choose Adventure

Home Map

Review Screen

Options Menu


Review Adventure

After further user testing and data analysis the final form of Wander took shape.

Some suggestions that were incorporated after the mid-fi testing were adding in labels for Adventure options, differentiating colors for Adventure Types, updating stats and achievements for the Profile screen, adding in a bit more contrast for the buttons, and modifying the Explore screen to include actual images of potential spots nearby.


Ready for a new adventure or curious to see what’s nearby? The Home Map screen is your base and will be your go to when looking for an adventure.

During user testing, users couldn't tell the difference between location types so I gave each one a dedicated color and created a marking for the users current location.


Want a curated adventure? Simply tap the new adventure button from the Home Map, Select how you want to get around and adventure type, and you're off! Wander will notify you when something of interest is nearby.

Labels were requested during testing for some of the secondary features on the 'Active Adventure' screen. When a new location is suggested, the pin will have the name attached to it. 


Every suggestion that Wander makes has the option to learn more about the location. This empowers users to feel confident in their choice to explore while learning about what the community thinks as well.

From the user testing, users were interested in being a part of a community so adding in a comment section as well as options to check out other nearby places that users recommend were highly suggested and I chose to incorporate that into the Explore screen.


After completing an adventure, Wander gives users the option to review the places they checked out, keeping track of their wanderings.

The more users review, the better quality locations are recommended to users on curated adventures. Originally, the review screen had a few more questions for users to answer but during testing, users wanted to leave their review and move on so I simplified the screen to just a star rating and comment section.


Wander is data focused, keeping track of the types of adventures you go on and how far you travel and rewards you for doing so

Users were interested in knowing their stats from using the app so the profile section was a perfect place to display this information. They can become an Expert Wanderer by simply going on new adventures, finding new locations, and reviewing.


Wander is meant to be enjoyed by everyone so it's important to consider users with low-vision or color blindness.

Some features Wander could offer to accommodate these users I have created a greyscale screen setting for color blindness, options to adjust the vibrations for notifications, and outlines on forms to help users differentiate the background and answer space.





The story of Wander begins with a bit of research into the market seeing what treasure hunt type apps already existed.


I identified Goosechase and Social Scavenger as two potential competitors and proceeded to to a usability analysis to help create a benchmark for how my app could compete. This research helped inform the types of questions to ask during the user interviews.




After conducting the interviews, I went through the responses and see where people aligned and/or provided unique insight to their feelings towards travel, the use of apps, and augmented reality.

The interviews shaped my personas, Cami and Tyler. These two personas focused on two areas Wander could work in, a travellers perspective (Cami) and a local’s perspective (Tylers).


I chose to focus on Cami for the user flows since it allowed me the chance to see how Wander would react while a user is traveling a new city.

The goal of Wander is to be a guide to unique locations around the user and not be a distraction to a potential adventure so getting the flow of interactions right from the get go was very important.


Building Wander and working through each step of the Design Thinking process was extremely rewarding and allowed me the chance to create an experience for users to make their own adventures.

I loved interviewing users and learning what story the data told, what issues users faced while exploring new places, and taking that information and turning it into a fully functional prototype. Some room for improvement as Wander grows would include continuing to flesh out the interactive map for the adventure screens, creating events that Wander could partner with, and expanding accessibility to make the apps use an even better experience for low-vision users. 

©2020 by Ariel Blackman

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