Tour Savannah is a design research project, rooted in ethnographic research and Design Management methodology. Through collaboration and co-design with key stakeholders in the tourism industry of Savannah—including the tourists themselves—we were able to discover compelling insights about the needs and wishes of tourists. Then, based on the user needs we discovered, we developed and prototyped a large-scale interactive kiosk and various options for tourism services.
Before we began our Tour Savannah project, we took some time to align on the goals of the project, the anticipated deliverables and the structure of the team. Before we confirmed Savannah's tourism industry as the focus of our project, we brainstormed other interesting options. We ultimately chose tourism as our topic because of the access to an abundance of resources in Savannah...especially during the Spring season! Next, we developed a 10 step "Creative Brief" and Research Plan with questions to guide the direction of our project.
Roles + Responsibilities
Our team included various design backgrounds and nationalities, creating an extremely diverse set of skills and knowledge. I mainly served as the project manager, coordinating, planning and facilitating meetings. I also contributed my skills as a graphic designer, copywriter and editor.
Process: Secondary Research
In order to be informed researchers, we first had to build our understanding of the current tourist landscape in Savannah. We scoured the internet for information about Savannah's tourism offerings, as well as the local visitor centers and common tourist "hot spots". Our secondary research consisted mainly of hundreds of pamphlets about the endless activities and options for tourists in Savannah. We then developed a lengthy spreadsheet comparing all of the offerings in areas such as type, price, popularity, accessibility and pet friendliness. We also extensively researched "tourist cities", such as Charleston, that are comparable to Savannah.
Process: Primary Research
Our primary research methods included: Interviews, Surveys, Observations, Shadowing, Pathway Mapping and other techniques of gathering user research. This was arguably the most important part of our project. By immersing ourselves in the environment with the users, we were able to gain a firsthand understanding of their experiences.
Process: User Personas
In order to better understand the various groups of people we should target with our solutions, we categorized our interview participants (and other relevant data) into 5 distinct personas. Each persona is a fictional person that represents several REAL people that we interviewed and gathered data from.
Process: Data Synthesis
After affinitizing all of the data we collected, we also performed a SWOT analysis of Savannah's tourism industry. The findings are included in the diagram below:
After affinitizing and synthesizing ALL of our data into insights, we were able to reveal 4 core desires of tourists in Savannah. We also discovered some insights from our other user groups, but the most opportunity for impact seemed to be in the area of improving the experience for the tourists, so we shifted our focus mainly to the tourists for the remaining part of the project. Our tourist insights are below:
1. Tourists desire easy access to information and the ability to compare options
We discovered that with all the amazing options in Savannah (and hundreds of brochures at the
visitor center), tourists were overwhelmed trying to sort through all the offerings!
2. Tourists desire the ability to customize their tour experience
Everyone is different...you should be able to customize your vacation experience exactly the way YOU want it!
3. Tourists desire easier access to snacks and drinks
Despite all the restaurants and cafés, there isn't always a convenient location to get a drink or
snack while touring Savannah...especially if you have a pet with you!
4. Tourists desire shaded seating areas near tour bus stops
One of the most popular tourist activities in Savannah are the trolley tours. Unfortunately the joyous
experience of touring Savannah and hopping on and off at each trolley bus stop is often ruined by
the scorching Southern heat, and lack of shade!
Ideation + Prototyping
Focusing mainly on the tourists, we began to brainstorm possible solutions to their four main desires. After some consideration, we decided to solve the majority of the issues by designing an interactive kiosk that includes shaded seating, vending machines, a large-scale interactive map, emergency button, charging ports and more! We sketched several designs for the kiosk, and after choosing one, we developed detailed 3D renderings and a small scale prototype. We then took our prototype back to some of the interview participants to ask for feedback on our idea.
In addition to solving the needs of tourists that we discovered, we also realized a few opportunities for new offerings in the "tours of Savannah" space. We developed proposals for two new tours: the Art and Jewelry Tour and the Savannah Underground Tour. The Art and Jewelry Tour would take participants on a multi-destination shopping adventure of some of Savannah's premier locations to buy handmade, artisan-crafted jewelry, and artwork. The Savannah Underground Tour is a spooky, underground exploration of some of Savannah's historic hidden tunnels and passageways.
Interactive Kiosk Renderings
Want to read more about Tour Savannah? The Tour Savannah process book includes a detailed narrative of the process and methodology of the project. The book also includes models and synthesis of data, resulting in insights.