Mackinac Island Experience

A mobile application aimed to help people plan their next visit to Mackinac Island, MI.


Gabriel Castro (Me)
Francisco Lebron
Bryonna Martin
Maria Zuniga-Chavez


UX Design
Usability Testing




Apr 2022 - Jun 2022


This project was designed over the course of ten weeks during my second quarter at DePaul University. The goal of the course was to understand the user-centered design approach to ux design by researching and designing an integrated experience application. The solution we came up with was a mobile application that aims to help users on their trip to the historical island of Mackinac Island in Michigan.

Having never been to Michigan, I saw it as a challenge to try to design a product for a place/business I have never heard of. It was exciting to conduct research in a subject area and a target audience that I was unfamiliar with.

My Contribution

I was the team leader for this project. My contributions included leading group meetings and discussions for every step of the process. I played the leading role in the development of all deliverables in the project including:
-Contextual Inquiry Survey
-Affinity Diagram
-User Journey Map
-Concept Diagram
-System Concept Model
-User Stories
-Interface Metaphors

My contributions for the mid-fidelity prototype include:
-Browsing attractions flow
-Adding attractions to planner flow

As the team leader, I was also project manager for this project. I made the plans for project strategy, organized tasks, and fostered a collaborative and honest environment for all team members.

This was an exciting project for me, because it was the first UX project I led with a team. It was challenging to learn how to manage and organize a UX project while also balancing working with a diverse group of team members with varying interests, backgrounds, and skills.

Problem and Solution


Mackinac Island is the historic island in Michigan known for its natural landmarks and its unique shopping, and dining experience. Although the island has its own website, it lacks a platform that could help users research, plan, and organize their visit.

How can we help people who are organizing a trip feel prepared, secure, and excited for their visit to an unfamiliar area?

  1. Allow users to learn what the island has to offer before their visit
  2. Offer users a way to navigate around the island
  3. Provide structure to a user’s trip plan
  4. Give users a single product to research, plan, and execute their visit
  5. Make their trip memorable

We designed a mobile app companion that people can take with them along their trip based on insights found from user research conducted on people who like to plan trips/events. Our product provides a way for people to have a memorable experience.


Before we understood the problems we wanted to solve, we first needed to understand our target users, their goals, and their pain points. We interviewed eight people who were seen as the planners in their own social circles. This helped give us a better understanding of the insights and themes of our user.

Affinity Diagram


Defining the User

Once we had a better understanding of our users, we were able to define two key types of users based on the insights found from our contextual inquiry. We defined two personas: a heavy planner and a light planner. From there we developed a user journey map to help understand the emotional journey through the current experience.


User Journey Map

Defining the System

Before we could begin defining a product, we had an initial meeting brainstorming what the system should be. This led to an analysis of concepts, a map of our conceptual model, and a list of user requirements.

Concept Analysis

Concept Map Diagram



Once we had a better understanding who our users are, what our system needs to be, and what problem our system needs to solve gave us a chance to redefine and solidify our understanding of the vision of our product. We developed a system concept statement and defined conceptual task scenarios to help us understand what a solution would look like.

Conceptual Task Scenarios

Focus Scenarios

For the focus scenarios, we decided to focus on our light planner persona during their visit and our heavy planner before their visit to the island. We defined interface metaphors to help us understand interfaces that were familiar to our users and as well as the constraints of these metaphors



When we came to an agreement on the concept for our product, we developed a mid-fidelity prototype to conceptualize our product. This gave us a prototype that can be tested by users for feedback.

Home screen, map, and trip planner
Browsing attractions
Adding attractions to planner

A link to our mid-fidelity prototype can be found here:

Mid-fidelity Prototype


Data Interpretation

From our usability evaluation we found common themes in the usability of our prototype.

Future Design Changes

The results from our usability testing led us to the prescribed design changes for a future iteration.


About design process...

Each step gets us closer towards the solution

It was exciting to see how each phase in the process brought us closer and closer to a solution. During each discussion I was eager to see how our initial thoughts on a solution would change from the insights drawn from user research. It highlighted the iterative nature of ux.

Start with sketches

Due to time constraints in the course, we needed to jump straight into developing a mid-fidelity prototype after our ideation phase. This caused issues because we were forced to make assumptions about our interface and our team ended up with vastly different levels of fidelity for our prototype. Starting with low-fidelity prototypes would have let us communicate design decisions early and rapidly.

Build a better foundation with strong information architecture and design standards

A major difficulty came from the lack of establishing a solid architecture of information when developing our prototype. We initially struggled to figure out the hierarchy of navigating labels. Participating in a card sort would have given us a better understanding of these.

Document everything

This being my first ux project done for a university course, the documentation I had done was for deliverables for the course. It would have been helpful to document the process of creating these to help visualize our work.

About team leading...

Leading a project is challenging, yet rewarding

One of my goals going into this project as a leader was to not only manage the project, but to lead. I wanted to ensure that our team worked in an honest and equal environment. It was definitely a challenge trying to juggle research and design, organizing teamwork, and maneuvering team relations for this project. But I felt accomplished about what we were able to achieve. Leading this project taught me the importance that.