Explore The Mourne Mountain

App Design, Ul Design, Concepting  and Prototyping

Background

Explore the Mourne Mountains is a Travel App that allows users to discover the beautiful outdoors and especially the Mourne Mountains.
Due to Covid19, lockdown resulted in gyms and sport centers closing their doors. A lot of people including young people began to discover and benefit from Mountain Walking. As a young person living close to the Mourne Mountains I wanted to design an app to encourage other people particularly young people to get outdoors, to get active and explore the beauty and benefits of the Mourne Mountains. This App was designed to encourage people to find out information about walking in the Mourne Mountains and include some additional information they may find helpful.

Problem

I decided to design a travel App to make it easy for complete beginners to have everything they need to go into the Mournes and connect with their local environment. I particularly had a target audience of young people in mind, as due to the many newspaper articles and news reporter’s young people were feeling they were losing out on Life’s experiences so Instead of focusing on what young people were missing out on, I wanted to show the positively of taking up a new hobby during the pandemic and discovering the great outdoors at the same time. There was no app available, so I wanted to create an app which provided all the necessary information to encourage young people to take that leap and go into their local Mournes and explore. Who knows where it might lead? Perhaps some may develop a passion for Hiking which may last a life time.

Researching

I began to research my chosen topic. I gathered plenty of research from various websites on the internet and I also looked up a pocketbook on ‘The Mourne Mountains’ belonging to my dad.  There was a huge amount of information available. This included the history of the Mournes, safety advice, maps, routes, what you need, what to take with you, peaks, route descriptions, distances for various walks, height of each mountain, details on wildlife and rocks. I also decided to walk various mountains, take photographs, and reflect what information young people would like to see in an app for mountain walking. My aim was to ensure mountain walking was appealing to young people during this period when gyms, sports events and sports centres remained closed. Basically, young people very rarely use a paper map these days, however they often use GPS or Google Maps on their phones. I wanted to design a physical app for young people to use on their phones, to take to as opposed to using a book to encourage exploring the Mournes. This will be convenient to use as it will allow users to explore the Mournes on the go.

Planning


Using my research & discovery I was able to decide what relevant content I should include in my own App. I reflected on what information would appeal to my target audience young people in their 20’s, 30’s to encourage them to go walking in the Mournes.

I started off Brainstorming my ideas for my Travel App which was in a form of a mind map. I also made some rough sketches on paper for my Icons. I drew wireframes for my site layout. These sketches were the basis of the content and layout I wanted to have in my final app. Before I started to digitalize these drawings in more details using Ninja Mock. (creating storyboards.) I received feedback from Lecturer and reviewed my content. I decided to include the gradient, distance and starting location at each mountain. I also reflected on information I felt young people might also like included for example places of interest, places to stay, places to grab a celebratory bite to eat or place to have a celebratory pint after a great day’s hike.  I didn't want to overload the user with too info.

Outcome

Below is image of final Outcome. It took some here but I eventually build this app. I am pleased how it turned out in the end. I felt I worked hard to come to this solution. Therefore by using this app users can locate their way throughout the Mournes and find out more information when visiting.
This app is fully interactive and allows users to click on a specific section to find out more about different peaks, points of interest, things to do, places to visit, etc. Although I produced my final outcome I still feel there is plenty of room to improve. Through my research and development, I came up with this Interactive App which allows users to click on a specific section to find out further information about the different peaks and walks, points of interest things to do, places to stay, etc. I included information about what you need to hike and advice for hikers under the hiker symbol. So if you want to know what to wear. check it out here. What advice to bring on a hike, check it out here. What to do if you have an emergency on a hike, check it out here. Included my own photographs on the app. On my map when you hovered over the mountain, the name of the mountain will appear on scene and the mountain appeared the colour red if it was considered a hard trail, amber if the mountain was a medium grade and green if it is considered an easy grade. Young people are used to information being processed quickly that way the user can see instantly which grade a particular mountain is. So, my app Exploring the Mournes contains essential information, short descriptions of each mountain, main attractions for each mountain keeping the young person interested in exploring mountains, see their points of interest and of course capture it with the all-important spectacular selfie!!! Been there!! Done that!! Taken the selfie!! And don’t forget they have at their finger tips where they can reward themselves with a bite to eat or a drink to sip. CHEERS!!! Here is my outcome as seen in the below image.

Reflection

I am pleased how my app turned out in the end. I felt I worked hard to come up with this solution. It took some time, but I eventually build this app. I included my own photographs which I was proud of. I tried to appeal to my target audience at a time when young people more than anyone needed some positivity in their lives, what better than taking up a new hobby. Through this app I wanted to show that Hiking is not only for mature, retired people but is an activity for young vibrant people so why not get outdoors, get exploring all in the safety of your own local area. Therefore, by using this app users can explore their way safely through the Mournes and who knows they may be bitten by the hiking Bug. Looking back on this I feel there is always room to improve my App. I would have made changes and added much more interactive features.