Storytelling tours about people left
out of the history books go digital
August 2020 – Present
Wireframing / Prototyping
Badass Tours tells the stories about the people who are left out of Amsterdam history books. Creating a self-guided tour app will provide a new level of flexibility and accessibility for tourists and locals alike.
We identified two primary challenges:
While there are no competitors covering these themes or using individual storytelling, analyzing other self-guided tour apps gave us insights.
We tested their tours, noting what worked well and where improvements could be made.
User reviews through the app stores, both positive and negative, also provided valuable information.
Using Notion, I tracked features and pricing models:
Interviews: Speaking with people who already knew Badass Tours allowed us to find out what they had connected with and what would make for a positive experience via a self-guided app.
Surveys: Feedback via questionnaires gave us details as to user habits and preferences. We learned that roughly 40% of travelers research tours before leaving home. At the same time, a significant majority only begin their search for a local tour just a couple days in advance. We also learned what users need to see before booking a tour: price, duration, distance covered, and a sense of what they’ll learn about.
Personas & Journey Mapping: Equipped with a wealth of knowledge, I crafted personas of our two primary users – the discerning tourist and the curious local. They have been great collaborators ever since. I also crafted a journey map for our tourist for a clearer picture of obstacles and opportunities.
Badass Tours already offered two options for guests: Women’s history & LGBT+ history. There were also plans to create additional walks to share the empowering history of more communities, adding to what we’ve come to call the “thematic walks”:
~ Women’s History
~ LGBT+ History
~ Black, Indigenous, People of Color History
~ Pre-WWII Jewish History
The app provided the catalyst to make all of them.
The big Aha Moment came as I was facing the challenge of how to give users the autonomy and flexibility that they desired.
We created four neighborhood-specific walks:
~ Historical Center
~ Western Canal Belt & Jordaan
~ Central Canal Belt & Museum Quarter
~ Plantage & Joodsebuurt
Each stop includes a bit of general history, and the user can then choose to discover additional nearby stories related to the four themes.
Users opt for a self-guided tour for reasons beyond personal preference.
To name a few:
~ Those that are hard of hearing may not understand a guide.
~ Physically disabled guests may have difficulty keeping up with a group.
~ Guests with a newborn, or a relative with an intellectual disability, may worry about distracting others on a tour.
There is still much work to be done in this regard, but here are a few steps I’ve taken:
Audio and text options for all stories
Microsoft’s Inclusivity Toolkit
WCAG 2.0’s AAA compliancy
Figma’s ‘Color Blind’ plug-in
As I developed as a designer, so did the design of the app.
We knew we wanted photos that captured the city with as few people in the shots as possible. There are also several locations whose historical significance doesn’t register with most. Because of the total number of locations, this meant mapping out several routes for photos and multiple pre-dawn mornings to get a head start.
User Research shows that there is a small but viable market for the Badass Tours app.
Defining the Problem helped frame the basic needs as well as uncover innovative solutions.
User Testing proves that we’re on the right track, but improvements can still be made.
Badass Tours was selected as part of the EU program Tourban to make the app a reality. In addition to further designing the app, new tours are also being created to add to it.
We aim for an official launch in 2023.