Day Trip Creator for Your Family
Have you ever wanted to view events in your area that are perfect for your specific family structure? How about getting information that takes into account your young ones or even Grandma?
Day Out™ Day Trip Creator solves all of these issues and gives you up-to-date event info that caters to your family size and abilities.
Necessity is the Mother
(or in this case, Father) of invention
I'm a Dad. After a long week of Fatherly duties, Saturdays become sleep-in and family day. But after we get up and make breakfast together, we find ourselves asking "What's next today?"
As I scramble through Google searches and local app listings, many times we build an uninformed daily itinerary which leads us to wandering around all day and wasting our weekend. On those occasions when we actually do find something interesting and educational to do as a family, it can end up way over budget. Only 3 times out of 10, will I actually create a weekend plan that hits the sweet spot of, entertaining, educational, under budget and memorable.
Designed and built by Dads
Because I work as a designer, the solutions seemed apparent, since some of the patterns exist already inside of other travel and itinerary technology (TripIt, Red Rover, Applauze, Yelp, Urbanspoon, et al). But these only solved a part of the problem or didn't have conventions created to cover the technology hole. The other apps are either too shortsighted or too farsighted.
We needed an app that deals with single day agendas and itineraries, specifically for families on different types of budgets and accessibility needs. After all, if we leave on a day trip with our families, we might have any number of needs for our voyage which could be wheelchairs, strollers, toddler needs, Grandparent needs, religious or social considerations, just to name a few.
All of this scenario above becomes compounded when taking into account single Moms and/or Dads or families with limited time to spend together.
Stating the problem:
No Smart Phone helper app exists to aggregate a daily itinerary based upon these criteria:
- When we have limited funds, we need to know what options are cheaper
- Calculation of unexpected incidentals such as parking and entrance fees
- Aggregation of any coupons or special offers would be nice
- What if we want to plan a day of walking from place to place? How about bicycling?
- We need an itinerary that includes travel time back home
Family size and structure
- How many children and what are their ages?
- How many adults?
- Flexibility for more than one family
Family rating system of events
- No surprises when you show up to a questionable family event. No more guesswork.
- Crowd sourcing and rating of ongoing events
Level of activity/difficulty/effort/exercise
- Little kids can't (and won't) walk for long distances
- Neither can Grandma and/or Grandpa
- Type of terrain or accessible venues
- We should account for lazy activities as much as heavy activities and be able to mix and match
Aggregating and mixing and matching all of the above to produce very specific activity content that is auto-generated
Both myself and our lead engineer are technology Dads and building a better family app is a labor of love and passion. But confidently being able to visit events with a well informed notion of budget and accessibility is the true reward and the real reason for building this app.
Adjust your agenda according to your family size
Family size and structure is one of the main criteria of search for Day Out. Having the ability to gather points of data concerning age groups, mashed-up with difficulty levels for activities, such as those posted by the National Parks services, is crucial to begin to draw conclusions on what types of events are best suited for various family types.
Figuring out a solution to how a user could get results for events and activities that might change throughout the day was also tricky. Most apps make the assumption that you are looking for single events with a single purpose in mind. Most do not give very good information on what to expect once you arrive, let alone give suggestions on how to prepare for it.
In-page Filtering is the key
Creating an 'always-on' filtering system was key to the idea of having immediate feedback on zeroing-in on exactly what your family's needs for your trip might be. This means that web-service data needs to be pulled into the app at activation and be always available to the user while associated with saved user data and their profile information. By doing this, we can create a very simple user interface that essentially rates your activities for you as you build a daily itinerary, which can be crowd-sourced as it's saved.
The same methods are used when a user swipes away a particular event in the list. We collect the data from previous filtering and can then intelligently serve up alternative events to replace the rejected activity, based upon the users own tastes and needs.