Brian O'Shea

UX Design and Information Architecture.
I ask lots of questions, love clean design, and I'm a whiteboard ninja. Let's collaborate.

REI: Endeavor (Concept)

Opportunity: Can a outdoor adventure trip planning and group organization tool help more people get into the outdoors, as well as offer business growth for an iconic outdoor gear brand?

Summary: Working the full UX cycle independently, I completed research, planning, design and testing singlehandedly on a website and new feature concept for REI. The project duration was 14 days total. Using both existing research datapoints and trend reporting, as well as user interviews I organized and administered - I constructed a prototype responsive web app (and accompanying iOS app) to enable people to plan, book, and organize their outdoor adventures. Special emphasis was placed on group outings - where organization of gear and supplies can become problematic.

Context: REI is famed for it's brick & mortar stores, and also has a large, but aging ecommerce website with tons of great content and advice hanging off the sides. Analyzing camping trend information, as well as conducting my own research - I was tasked with developing a new web app for REI that could help attract more new casual outdoor adventurers into the fold, as well as help 'upsell' products based upon recommendations or previous purchases.
I heard genuine interest amongst theose I spoke with for a tool like this. Read on to see what I designed, and how I got there:

  • Role: Research, Information Architecture, Design, Prototyping, Usability Testing, Branding
  • Client: REI (spec)
  • Agency: General Assembly
  • Year: 2015
  • Tools: Paper, Join.Me, Skype, Excel, Balsamiq
  • Prototype: view design prototype


Leveraging the data found within the American Camping Report, along with 11 user interviews I conducted myself - I constructed a prototype website offering trip planning guidance and group organization and gearlist functionality. Through the interviews I kept hearing from participants who wanted to go camping more, but were either frustrated by some element of inconvenience of the gear or process - and/or those who simply didn't know where to go. The good news is these are solvable problems! Based upon my persona and research into REI's existing busines units - it made sense to aim the product at both newbies and lapsed campers - with a special emphasis on the latter (those who have camped before but it has been at least 3 years since their last trip.) I leveraged a guided, wizard-like approach to trip building - and then implemented a central trip dashboard to keep everything in check.

REI Endeavor mockup
A central dashboard helps the user oversee the key elements of their trip, participants, and gear in one spot.
REI Endeavor mockup
A guided, wizard-like process helps keep newbies on track towards trip planning.


Early draft of user flow for REI Endeavor
Early draft of user flow possibilities for REI Endeavor
Early storyboard of REI Endeavor
Storyboarding helped inform the user scenario, tasks, and persona. In this exercept - our persona "Brad" is daydreaming of how to escape the city with his family, but doesn't know where to go. REI Endeavor to the rescue!
Page layout ideas for REI Endeavor
Page layout ideas for trip profile page for REI Endeavor - winner is on the right.

Retrospective and Next Steps:

Based upon early usability feedback (and news of a seed round of fundraising for a startup tackling issues) - there seems some potential here. Planning outdoor adventures - can and should be easier. I'd like to develop more angles on this and try testing completely alternative ways of guiding people through the process. It's still unclear to me if there is indeed a standard way of planning a trip - some do plan around specific dates --- while others are more interested in getting an amazing place. Further interviews, design iterations, and usability testing could help me focus this product concept even further.