My role: Designer
Space: Toronto
Time: September 2019

Download the guide.
Pinterest board.
Read the full process on Medium.

Brief Description

A 2 day Toronto summer itinerary I created incorporating data visualization. It shows some of the best places to visit on a weekend.

Design Problem

I was planning a trip a couple months ago and struggled to plan it by myself. Trying to work within a budget, I did a lot of research on things to do, places to stay, and ways to get around. I had to consider many aspects planning this trip and it was very stressful. With the vast amount of resources available online, I still needed to do so much research. A study done in 2012 reported that pre-trip planning produced more stress than the actually going on the trip. This is not surprising because planning a trip requires us to piece together a lot of information from many places. The key variables I was working around was time, money, and degree of customization. If I wanted lots of choice in what I was going to do, I needed to spend a lot of time to do research. However, if I just wanted to go somewhere and have all my needs taken care of, I could spend a little more money and buy a travel package. But in this process, I lose the freedom to choose what to do. I summarize this below:

 

 

A quick search on Toronto itineraries on Google bring up various travel sites and blogs that highlight key places to visit in the city. Looking at the guides I found online, they are text-heavy. As a designer, I can’t help but see opportunities in how these guides could have better ways to show the information. Although there is a lot of information listed, there is still a lot of context missing.

Design Solution

When I was planning my own travel, I really wanted to have a travel guide that was thoroughly made with details like budget, context of destinations, transportation, and some details/history on each destination. I decided to take this on as a challenge and create this. My overall goal is to target people who wants a mix of both customization and structure. I want to reduce the time for research and help them make choices on what to do.The idea was to balance all aspects of planning travel into something like below:

Design Research

Design research is a very crucial step, it involves understanding what has already been done and learning why it works. I pulled out some guides I collected in the past and borrowed some from the library. I also had a field day at Union Station in Toronto.

Toronto Nuit Blanche 2018: the roads in the maps were muted and as a result served a secondary function to finding key points of interest. The main roads were wider than the smaller roads. The road names show hierarchy by having main roads in bold.
Toronto Map: The way this scale was made is easy to relate to. The scale not only shows distance, it also shows time.
Toronto Map: these were super interesting. It shows information beyond the edge.
Toronto Map: highlighting downtown area.
The National Gallery in London UK Plan: the way the buildings are highlighted to show where each floor sits is very easy to read. Great way to provide context.
Lonely Planet The Netherlands 2019: looking for content inspiration. Highlighting peak season is very useful.
Lonely Planet The Netherlands 2019: breaking down the costs by budget, midrange, and top end is a good way to help people plan their finances.
Union Station in Toronto: heading towards Vaughan terminal stop.
Union Station in Toronto: heading towards Finch terminal stop.