In the modern world, everything we do can be shared with our friends, family, and acquaintances through the use of social media. This allows us to share ideas and thoughts seamlessly with those we care about. There currently is no good place, however, to discover, book, and share travel ideas. This is where Excursion finds its market. Creating a socially-interconnected travel platform would allow people to share their travel plans and ideas with their friends and family. Essential to such a system is an easy-to-use uploading feature and efficient backend. Thus, the true problem to be solved in this project is the creation and streamlining of a system that is friendly to users as well as quick and responsive.
For Excurvant, as with any social platform, one of the most important features is accessibility to its users. Even further, in the modern world, smartphones and laptops are ubiquitous. The one application that is common to all of these devices is the web browser. Because this is an application that will need to be accessible on all sorts of devices, the clear choice for a platform is a web app, allowing any browser to use the application (therefore gaining the largest possible audience). As has been seen with previous social applications, one of the hardest parts of such a platform is gaining users.
To make it as easy as possible for someone to sign up, the application will allow users to authenticate through common social accounts, such as their existing Google or Facebook account. This will make it easy for new members to join and begin sharing with their friends/family. To create the necessary infrastructure for such a web app, we will need to create a backend (Node.JS was specified) that includes a server for the application itself, as well as a database for any trips and sharing relationships created by the application. This will allow the application to manage and track relationships between its users, perhaps even suggesting who they might like to share trips with or create a feed of users who have shared similar trips. On the UI side, we will need to design an interface that is fast and easy to use – most likely meaning that we will have to make several iterations of the user interface to improve on each iteration.
The tasks involved with this project are certainly attainable, but it is by no means a minor project. The design of a user interface alone is no small feat, and there will need to be a significant infrastructure put in place to handle the requests associated with a reactive web application.
The project also calls for improving the user experience. Through classes we have taken at Bucknell (HCI, Mobile Development) and our own personal findings, we should be able to design a user interface that is practical, easy to use, and impactful.
Risks and Rewards
This is a unique application as there is currently no popular application that allows its users to plan and share trips with friends and family, which could aid people in the planning of future vacations and trips. On the other hand, as is true with any data-based application, it could open the users to potential theft if their trip data is gained by a malicious party, so any data must be kept securely wherever it is held, as well as transmitted in a secure fashion.
Another risk with this application that can be seen with essentially any social media app is that it would need to get a large following in order for it to have any value. This would involve large amounts of capital to fund marketing campaigns. While this is more of the customer’s problem, it is something to keep in mind when thinking about the viability and usefulness of what we build. If a working product is completed before the end of our senior year, the client might consider a closed test period with bucknell students.
This application could be absolutely revolutionary for the travel industry. It has become clear in recent years that there is a massive potential for any social application because it lets people integrate the platform into their lives, increasing its value to them. As such, the application has huge potential to gain a large following and user base, making it an extremely valuable idea.