Most visa applications take place through travel agencies, take weeks to process and are unnecessarily expensive. Traversal aims to condense this process into a versatile, standalone travel app.
UX Designer, Visual Designer
The Challenge: How can we simplify the visa application process?
A frequent business trip flyer, the client had identified a problem with visa applications, both from personal experience and from interviewing people in her office. She had encountered instances where the visa application processes from agencies either A) took too long, or B) were unnecessarily expensive for the work that could have been simplified.
The Solution: A Simplified, In App Visa Application Process
Understanding the User
Based off client interviews, I drafted a persona to further solidify our target audience. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to personally interview, so I had to paint a picture based off client knowledge and personal experience.
Simplifying the Visa Application Process
Categorizing Visa Types
It’s well known that the visa application process for many countries is a convoluted and time consuming task. In Vietnam (our first visa application market), there are roughly 20 different visa types, most of which can be condensed into a few categories with tiers based on entry type, duration, and purpose. What I did to further simplify the decision process was categorize these visas into tiers based on time sensitivity and requirement uniqueness.
Condensing the Application
While working on the application flow, I condensed the process into 5 main steps based off commonalities. These steps were comprised of entry form sections that would be parsed into the actual application on the backend, and sent directly to the consulate.
Creating the User Flow
After coming up with all these features, we needed to organize everything in a way that the user would understand upon entering the app. Our main objective was to allow them to easily submit visas, with supporting features following suite.
Facilitators and Reminders
We added features centered around the Visa Application process, categorized into Facilitators and/or Reminders. Facilitators would help a user reduce the amount of time needed to complete an application, while Reminders would instigate repeated usage:
Notable Feature 1: Passport Scan (Via Camera and Photo Upload)
By implementing a Passport Scanner, we’re able to decrease the amount of time that a user needs to manually enter passport information needed for an application.
Our developers designed the scanner to incorporate as many “scannable” fields as possible. Using the two bars of information on the passport, they were able to import the majority of information needed to complete the passport information section.
For security purposes, we decided to retain passport information in our database for a week - after, it’s wiped from our system to give our users peace of mind.
Notable Feature 2: Country Visa Check
By creating a simple Visa Check feature, we allowed our users to see if their nationality requires a visa for entry. In the future, this will be an additional starting point in the application process.
Future Notable Feature: Itinerary Integration
We plan to roll out a feature that translates a user’s email confirmation into an item on an itinerary, which they can then use for trip management, as well as identifying potential opportunities to submit visa applications through our system.
Feedback and Testing
With a few rounds of individual testing, we were pleased to learn that our partners loved applying for visas on Traversal. Instead of having to pay an unnecessary amount of money (and time) by partnering with a travel agency, getting headshots, mailing out various forms, and waiting weeks for a status update, our partner’s employees were able to receive their visa approvals within a few days. I plan to continue testing and further optimizing the flow, as well as introduce more features to simplify the process so we can launch to the general public.