My name is Sara Granados and I'm a designer based in Dublin but originally from Louisiana. My creative interests and experience range from marketing, brand strategy, visual design, user experience, web design, and animation. For my final year research project, I focused on a topic about which I am passionate – travel. Using an empowerment-focused design methodology and empowering design principles, I created an app for solo female travellers focusing on trip planning, safety, and community to investigate if the UX design of a mobile application can influence a user’s feeling of empowerment and help women have a more enriching and transformative solo travel experience.
Solo travel is a transformative experience for women, leading to self-discovery and feeling empowered, enriched, brave, free, and in control. Even still, the female solo travel experience has barriers and constraints. Loneliness, safety and security, lack of confidence, and fear of social stigma have been identified as barriers that keep women from fully enjoying, or even being completely deterred from, travelling alone. This study further explored the factors that enhance and hinder the female solo travel experience, as well as investigated if the UX design of a mobile application can influence a user’s feeling of empowerment and, more specifically, help women have a more enriching and transformative solo travel experience. A group of 62 participants completed usability testing to determine if implementing empowering UX principles into the design of a mobile application and giving users choice and control in the form of customisable onboarding affected their feeling of empowerment and their overall user experience.