Jack Bowcott and David Lamyman contacted HatchingLab to help them initially update and then redesign their mobile app Tipi for the travel industry.

This is my story about how I redesigned the Tipi iOS app to help travellers/backpackers connect with each other while discovering new places.

My involvement with the Tipi project was after version 1.0 of the app had been released. The current state of the app wasn’t great; the overall user experience was confusing and cumbersome with some user flows being incomplete, and a few features yet to be implemented. The visual design and user interface was in need of attention to improve the usability throughout the app.

Team, Timeline & Deliverables

The team consisted of Arash Karimzadeh (CTO / Full Stack Developer) and find real time reviews from real people Christie Whitehill (CEO / Project Manager) and myself as UX/Product Designer. My responsibilities included; wire framing, prototyping, UX, UI and visual design.

The project spanned a few months, initially starting with minor change requests which gradually progressed into redesigning most of the app to better answer their user's goals;

1. Meet new people & share travel tips 
2. Discover new places & see what’s popular


For the initial change requests no research was carried out as the revisions were quite minor and mainly focused on visual design. However as version 1.0 of the app was now live and in the hands of users it became evident that the current user flows and interface would need to be redesigned based on poor user engagement and feedback.

To kickoff the redesign I began with a heuristic evaluation of the app which provided me with a list of quick fixes to the user interface and primary screen views. It also helped me determine which areas would require more time and exploration during the wire framing phase.


The navigation was in need of an overhaul, it was hidden behind a hamburger icon on the navigation bar. The primary features of the app weren’t immediately accessible and required multiple taps to find them.

To resolve this issue I introduced a tab bar to provide users immediate access to the following features;

1. Explore
A Google maps view of your current location that displays icons representing popular categories of places to explore. Alternatively users can view these places as a list view which displays a featured photo of the place, proximity and popularity amongst Tipi users.

2. Tipi
An activity feed displaying all Tipi users in close proximity to your current location. Activity items displayed within the feed include;
- Place checkins
- New user registration
- User profile updates
- User posts
- Place tips
- Meet people nearby
- Discover places nearby

3. Meet
Allows quick scanning of multiple profiles to provide possible friendship matches based on; age, location, favourite interests, mutual friends and visited places. A user can also instantly request contact to start messaging each other.

The top right corner was used to feature a secondary interaction for each of the above areas;
- Explore = Add new places to the map
- Tipi = Write a new post to the activity feed
- Meet = Search for a specific user or friend 

The new navigation restructure also help to reduce cognitive load when viewing the menu screen and increased exposure to the users personal features such as;
- My Profile
- Friends
- Conversations

Visual Design

The overall visual aesthetic was enhanced with a simplified colour palette, revised typographic styling and new icon system to ensure visual consistency throughout the app. 


Jack & David also wanted to explore an admin dashboard concept that would enable hostels, hotels, restaurants and bars to manage their own ad campaigns, communication with users and track performance analytics. After a quick discussion about the MVP requirements, I started working on rough sketches which were then translated into the visual mockups below. 

Project Status

Unfortunately due to circumstances outside my control the new designs for the Tipi app were not implemented and the app still remains in it’s v1.0 state :(

Further Improvements

In hindsight there are parts of the app that I would like to improve such as the Explore view, in particular the Map state. The addition of filtering options would definitely help to reduce visual noise/clutter when viewing too many places in a particular area.

Introducing time context sensitive recommendations such as breakfast places early in the morning, or popular restaurants and bars/clubs during the evening would help users find relevant content.  

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