Guiding you to new places you'll love


Research, Ideation, UX/UI, User Testing, Prototyping 


Sketch, Figma, Quant-UX, Framer, After Effects


Jan - Apr 2017 (4 months)


John Kowalski, Aaron Mohr & Gillian Wu 

How can we create more intimate and meaningful location reccomendations while connecting our friends to the city?


Defining the problem

With the increasing amount of new venues around the city, it can be difficult for people to keep track of all of them and figure out which places are worth checking out. Current applications provide crowd-sourced location reviews (i.e. Yelp) that rely on the opinion of strangers. This method can be inaccurate for certain users because each person is unique and has different likes/dislikes. How would someone know which ‘good’ reviews to trust and which ‘bad’ reviews not to trust?


Portr is an app that places recommendations in the hands of users instead of algorithms. It allows users to send and receive recommended locations from their friends and family. This will help the user build a more personalized directory that they can trust. It will provide people with intimate and insightful recommendations from their closest social network rather than having to rely on the ratings of strangers.  


During the initial phase of Portr, each one of us conducted an in-person interview using the questionnaire we created. We also wanted a broader range of data, so we used Google Form as a way to survey more people. From there, we created our PACT analysis and a system's requirements chart.

Google Form sample

Each member of the group interviewed two friends about their habits and motivation that caused them to seek new places. As well, I sought to understand their mindset in order to create an app that was humanistic and personal. Below is a sample of the results of my interview.


Identifying the User

Portr is designed to accommodate a wide range of users who like to explore new venues.


Adventurers and travellers who like to discover new places (i.e. restaurants, bars, landmarks, etc) around the city.


The app could be used at the user’s leisure, usually during the day or throughout the week.


Users could use the app during their down time, at home or on the go.


Individuals that are tech savvy and are familiar with visual displays and touch functions.


Everyone on our team created a user persona and developed three scenarios in which these users would come across while using Portr. 

Group 18

Lucy is a master's student and lifestyle blogger in her mid 20’s. She wants to expand her knowledge of new places around the city and find the best places to hang out with her friends, as well as places to go in the future for content on her blog.



Nate is your average father, married and has 2 kids. He uses Portr with his wife for date night when they want some time away from their kids as well as uses it with their other friends for recommendations.


photo-1474313438662-85ce389c174a copy

Liam is a 24-year-old creative professional who enjoys spending his free time with his friends and colleagues. He uses Portr as a way to connect with friends and find new locations in the city.


Key Features

Our group outlined key features for Portr using the MoSCoW method of prioritization. 

system requirement
Process & Ideation 

My group and I came up with a few rough iterations of the key features we wanted for Portr. From some of the rough sketches, we translated it onto the low-fidelity wireframes and constantly refined it.

User Testing

We used Quant-UX to test our prototype with three different participants. During our user testing sessions, we discovered a few flaws in the first version of our prototype. A major issue we came across was the lack of space the map had after the user tapped on the location icon. Furthermore, there were no street names on the map, which confused the participants. The open and closed locations were also not clear enough for the participants to understand. Check out the full details of our findings here.

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 9.56.30 PM
Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 9.58.50 PM
Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 10.00.18 PM

 During my user testing session with participant three, she found the calendar hard to use because it was small (17:39) and she had long nails. She also thought that instead of the map telling you the distance you are from the location, it should show you the amount of time it would take to get there from where you currently are. 



Location map

When the user taps on a location icon, an overview of the place pops up. The user can swipe upwards to view the location details. They can also choose to add the place to their wishlist.

Send an invite

Users can arrange a time and send an invite to all their friends.

Send a recomendation

Users can quickly send a location recommendation.

Alternative Time

Users can arrange an alternative time if the one they received does not work for them.


In total, our group put in more than 190 hours into the planning, designing, testing, and refinement of Portr. Throughout this project, I learned the importance of teamwork and how to challenge ideas that were not working. I discovered how crucial user testing was when it came to refining and improving the experience of our final product. Moreover, I gained a lot of knowledge using new platforms such as Figma and Quant-UX. To further improve upon our app, I would like to have tested it on a wider range of user groups in order to get a better understanding of user needs.

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