Jacob Lindström

Trails of Southern Sweden

2016 – 2018

Trails of Southern Sweden is a collection of hiking and bicycling trails, each with its own website and domain. Some trails are as long as 1200 km with several sub trails. My main responsibility were user experience design, including interaction design, and information architecture.

  1. Introduction & Goals →
  2. Process & Experience →
  3. Outcome →
  4. My Role & Credits →

Page for a place following my original layout.

Some articles contain trail segments.

Have you seen Skåneledens site? It’s really really great!

—One of my best friends unaware of my contributions.

Introduction & Goals

Summary: our aim was to build a scalable platform and business model to enable a consistent user experience across many different trails.

Goals

Align all trails with a consistent user experience across the websites despite different (and non existent) graphic profiles. We were redesigning three existing trail websites along with launching a new one. They were built to increase tourism on all trails and to the participating regions.

At Hoodin we wanted to build a scaleable platform and a sustainable business model which allowed any trail to easily join in the future. We set out to give the users all the points of interest along the tracks by improving our technology to search and find places within a small geographical area. We built a custom made CMS to support this.

Context

The main context we worked with was for planing and inspiring visits to the trail. This would be built as a website and contain information such as getting to the trails. We wanted to build an app as a companion to the user. It would support the user on the actual trail, using the users’ location and nearby point of interests. It was, however, never built.

Audience

The audience were mainly people looking for an adventure, either from the regions close to the trail or tourists coming from other parts of Sweden or Northern Europe. We wanted to make the trails available to all, novice to experienced hikers.

Process & Experience

Summary: I worked with user journeys and wireframes to design a new consistent experience across all the different trails.

Unfortunately I had a computer crash where I lost a lot of documented work. I’ve manage to find bits and pieces here and there.😵

Preparations & pitching

To prepare for the presentation I tried to learn as much as possible about the existing sites. I was looking at how our technology could benefit the user experience. At Hoodin we were good at finding places in small geographical areas (as we spent a couple of years doing that). It was a good fit, it could benefit the user experience as well as helping our clients to (re)discover their trails, some as long as 1200 km.

At the presentation we emphasized on highlighting content (such as hiking suggestions, and tips) as well as the importance of everything around the trails. We had a concept of making places a core part of the experience (all places would have a unique page and be present on the map). The websites would focus on getting people to the trails and an app would support the user on site.

Creating wireframes to describe our idea at pitching while having ice coffee . The map interaction on the wireframes made it into the product (and later replaced with an image to limit API calls).

Design Research

I used an activity-centered design process to identified the most important pages through stakeholder interviews, and analytics. The results led us to slightly redefine the concept and reframing the user needs. We decided, together with the clients to empathize on inspire.

I continued to research content strategy and information on the different trails - which was very inconsistent in quality, quantity, and actual trail structure. The bicycling trails had a half dozen of track segments while the hiking trails had three to five sub trails each with up to 25 track segments.

Quickly iterate with pen and papper to visualize flows and page structures.

We held a user study group to verify the needs and problems. Unfortunately I was left out of this session. In hindsight, I probably should have persuaded them to let me attend.

Design Work

I began working on the information architecture and user flows using user journeys, service blueprints, and wireframes. It took several iterations and explorations before the experience worked consistently across all trails.

After a reconciliation meeting I transformed the low-fidelity wireframes into more detailed mock ups that better describe functionality and content on various screen sizes. I worked in Sketch which has a simple prototyping tool that enables me to do early user testing.

I spent most of my time designing interactions and flows. Connecting pages and features. I’m proud of that work, however, today I would be much comfortable with the visual design. The clients expected an airier visual design but we decided to launch a beta version.

Beta and Launch

A beta version of the Sydostleden trail launched 2016. The beta validated that most of our information architecture, interaction design, and user flow worked in the wild. However, the visual design wasn’t good enough. We were too small of a team to handle all aspects of the design at this point (we had also built and designed a custom CMS). Luckily Odd Hill and Nils Leckström helped us out and created a visual identity. Without it we never could have fulfilled our goal to inspire.

The new visual design was implemented and launched 2017 on all trails. Since then we’ve done continuously improvements based on user feedback. For example performance, typography, and accessibility have been improved.

An example of an improvement (left: before, right: after). An obvious fix which gave us the chance to explain the action (report problem) and at the same time tell the user that there’re no issues on the trail.

Page for a place following my original layout.

Some articles contain trail segments.

Have you seen Skåneledens site? It’s really really great!

—One of my best friends unaware of my contributions.

Outcome

It was a successful project for all parties. We managed to build a platform for onboarding new trails and a sustainable business model. I improved in communication, negotiation, and project management as I worked with many stakeholders. I became more confident when presenting design and in my choices.

We run seven different trails from Skåneleden and Sydkustleden in the south to Bohusleden in the north. They help around 75 000 people to find new adventures every month.

Check them out 👇

My Role & Credits

My main responsibilities were user experience design, including interaction design, information architecture, and front-end development. I was also leading ideation and concept for scaling the Hoodin platform to handle multiple projects. Together with Marcus Emne (CEO) I presented our idea.

Looking back, I've since tweaked my design process to include high level visual design earlier - grids, type scales etc. In this case I was designing the websites, managing the project, designing the CMS, and writing code. It made visual design and other things suffering in quality.

I enjoyed working close together with the clients. It was challenging and fun to align the clients similar but different needs and goals.

Core Team at Hoodin:

Malin Berg, Anton Bergenudd, Ron Florax, Simon Almcrantz, Mikael Eriksson, Sigrid Storck, Isac Ljung, Marcus Emne

External Contributions:

Visual/UI design and Interaction Design: Nils Leckström (Odd Hill).
Nils created the graphic profile, visual user interface design, and interaction design. He successfully put the clients high quality content in focus.

Original Clients:

Region Skåne, Region Kronoberg, Region Halland