grpit – Zoe’s WINNING Lonely Planet App


Speak to goals not features: My experience of an apprentice style workshop at London’s Generate conference and how I learned to concept, create and sell in a day!


Glacier Slide 3

“Which group wants to go first” said Irene, one half of the designer duo “Anton and Irene” . Without hesitation “We Do” I said. Standing in front of a room full of peers, my group and I were about to present a concept that was born just 5 hours earlier.

Anton and Irene, our mentors for the day, are a confident, sub-zero duo of Designers based in Brooklyn who’s design style I’m currently obsessed with. They present the brief/itinerary and we all introduce ourselves. The task is to conceptualise an app for Lonely Planet, the travel guide company who provide trusted content for print and digital. Part of the brief is to create wireframes/supporting graphics and present our findings to the audience as though they are the client. With a lot of research to catch up on, Irene advises the room “You gotta know your stuff. Don’t come up here without doing your research”.

After a run through of the brief, teams are created and that’s when Glacier is formed. A UK wide network of professionals; Jake Sharpe a UX/UI Designer at Metail , Liz Parham, Lead UX Researcher & UXer at Oxford Computer Consultants , Damian James a Digital Design & UX Lead at RPM and myself Zoe Spence, Senior Designer at Adeo Group. The name Glacier derives from the brainstorming session for our app. We base our concept on a particular pain point a member of our target market has faced. Travelling to Reykjavik with a group of friends and disagreeing on what activities to take part in –

“It was chaos” Glacier team member Jake exclaimed.

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With the ideas flowing and a heaped pile of post it notes we begin our process. What are the most successful/current apps that relate to our product? What’s missing from the tourist industry market? Should we target 24-35 year olds (the flatpacker) or the younger 18-24 market (the backpacker)? Do we create an app for a mature person travelling alone, looking for likeminded people and new cultures or the young social butterfly who travels in a group looking for spontaneous new experiences. We decided on the latter and called him ‘Steve’.

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With the concept well underway, our app grpit (which I proudly got to name and design the logo for) would enable travellers to arrange activities and organise group trips. Members would sign up/log in, choose their location, swipe left or right on activities and down or up vote the events they want to take part in. Our fictitious Sigma Foam Party at Sigma Nightclub in Jatte Vagn was the winning activity with 7 votes.

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The app would also give users access to curated quality content in real time. Receiving tailored recommendations to their interests would give the team the ability to improvise on the go. This in turn may provide a diplomatic solution to group decisions.

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Future possibilities for grpit include being able to upload your snapshots of the trip to a photo sharing site with the added ability to order a photo album online. This album would promote Lonely Planet by featuring their logo and branding. The product could pull in memorable quotes uploaded from Steve or other members of the group and add them to the album. This would take pride and place on a bookshelf and provide a talking point when looking back on at a later date.

So with the concept and graphics locked down we had to prepare for the pitch. Taking Irene’s advice “It’s not a real estate tour, speak to goals not features. We were conscious not to point out the obvious UI with no talk of solutions. We scrambled to find a quiet space in the historic Royal Institution  where we could prepare. With five minutes to showdown we were informed that we couldn’t use notes or cue cards. Once prepped there was no time to lose. The groups filtered through the door for the 4pm deadline.

Kicking of the pitches Glacier described the task we set out to do, our challenges and solutions while showcasing the UI for the app. Every team member took part in the presentation. The pitch took 15 minutes and ended with questions from the client/audience. After listening to the other pitches and the day drew to a close, a winning group was chosen which resulted in a tiebreak.

I’m proud to say that we were one of the winning teams

Go Glacier!

I learned a lot from the workshop and being able to create a credible app that I could present in a day to a client was in fact plausible. If I could do this here at the Generate Conference then I can do this anywhere with all my projects. One thing is for certain, it was an adventure that Glacier had indeed taken together.

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