Design tips for creating a travel app

Travel and tourism experiences are becoming increasingly personal. Travelers now want complete control over their flights, bookings, activities and experiences. More and more, they are looking for apps that help them travel in a holistic and totally customized way. 

If you run any kind of travel or tourism business, your next step towards digital transformation has to be a travel app. Likewise, if you are a UI and app designer, now is the perfect time to launch your travel app design business.

Here are some design tips for creating a user-friendly and stylish travel app. 

Think mobile

The first thing to keep in mind is that most users will access the app from their mobile devices. Design the app interface in a mobile format. You can transform it into a web version later so that travelers can also access it from their computers.

Designing for mobile first is not just good practice for mobile device applications. It is also best practice for web applications and even web pages. What is the reason behind this trend? More and more people are browsing the web and using apps on their phones. As of January 2022, global traffic on mobile devices topped the list with 55%!

That means this suggestion will be useful for every interface design you have to do – from a travel app to a retail website. Just wait and see how much easier the design will be when you do it this way.

Keep it simple

There is a term in the marketing world that goes “Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS)”. This slogan is a fun way of reminding you that simplicity is a must. Why should you think about keeping your design as simple as possible? 

Imagine that the app you are going to design will be used by all kinds of people, from those who use apps for everything to those who think they’re hopeless with technology. Design your app with those who are hopeless in mind!

Bear in mind that travelers want to enjoy their trip. If they use an app to resolve issues during their journey, they will obviously prefer to use apps that help them in a pleasant and agile way. During a trip, a lot of things are going on at the same time, and problems need to be solved quickly. Your app should support them positively and not lead to more frustration.

Take the Google Maps app as an example. It’s as simple as typing the destination into the search engine and asking for directions to get there. 

Create a travel app

Use icons to maintain visual unity

Icons are an essential tool in interface design. They serve to visualize navigation points, buttons, lists and content designations. By maintaining visual unity among all the icons you use, you will achieve a homogeneous and user-friendly interface.

To be on the safe side, use icons from Flaticon. 

In the UIcons gallery you’ll find a selection of interface icons for travel-related topics that can be used for your app. On the Flaticon homepage, you will also find a wide range of icons in many styles. Choose the style you like and use the search engine to find more icons in the same style. 

Choose the icons you are going to use for your app and put them together in a collection. Customize the color of the icons and download them as SVG or PNG. Include them in the UI design for your travel app.  

Combine colors with good contrast

Color contrast in your app is important for usability and visibility. At all times, the app should show the user the following statuses:

  • Which section of the app they are in
  • Where they navigated from
  • What they are doing
  • What is most important
  • What possibilities exist
  • Where they can go

These statuses are displayed with navigation buttons, text color and size and micro animations, all on a specific background. Contrasting colors are essential so that the statuses can be differentiated from each other, and the user knows which is which. 

Use color combinations that are easy to distinguish for people with visual impairments or color blindness. Consider also that users will look at the application in low-light mode, such as on planes and buses at night, but will also want to use it during the day in bright sunlight. Test on your phone to find the perfect color combination.

Don’t forget accessibility details

For it to be truly useful, you need to pay attention to the details of accessibility in your travel app. Incorporate features such as voice search and Alt tags for all graphics, including icons, images and videos. 

If you have come up with a simple and consistent design for the interface of your travel app, you have already taken several important steps towards good accessibility. For example:

  • Make sure that the steps to be taken are simple and that the most important things are the most noticeable.
  • Make sure that buttons have easily recognizable status differences.
  • Incorporate more than one state change for each action. For example, color and micro-animation or size and sound.
  • Ensure good contrast between text and background/button and background.
  • Always include placeholder texts on empty forms, and make sure they look different from completed cells.
  • Consider including confirmation windows for actions that have no return.

It’s your turn now

You’re now ready to embark on the road to designing a trend-setting and user-friendly travel application. If you follow the tips in this guide, you’ll find it easy to create an interface that helps travelers so much that they’ll want to recommend it to their friends. 

Good luck, and bon voyage!