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Vancouver, BC

Case Study

Access Outdoors

A community-based app designed to encourage all people to participate in outdoor recreation


UX/UI Designer



Oct 2022 - Dec 2022

Figma, InVision,


Mobile, iOS

The Challenge:

  • Understand and identify the barriers for marginalized groups (females, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, people of various physical size/ability, etc.) to participate in outdoor recreation.

  • Provide a way for marginalized communities to gain access and knowledge to outdoor recreation, lowering barriers and facilitating connection.


  • I identified trends in outdoor recreation and followed this with user interviews in order to build empathy and identify the true barriers to accessing the outdoors. 

  • After identifying the best opportunity for intervention, I created wireframes and prototypes, iterating designs based on user feedback.

The Solution:

  • Access Outdoors is based on a simple idea: bring people together in the outdoors by providing accessible ways to enter - through sharing skills, gear, transportation and connection, and encouraging diverse communities to participate. 

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As someone with a passion for outdoor recreation, I believe in the power these sports have to positively influence people's lives.

As I have immersed myself in these communities over the years I've noticed a significant lack of diversity and representation in these sports. Through further investigation, I discovered the experience is shared by many others.


Marginalized groups (females, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, people of various physical size/ability, etc.) are less likely to engage in outdoor sports due to social, historical and economic barriers. Accessibility and representation continue to be issue as minority groups feel unwelcome in outdoor spaces.


This project was designed to encourage access and lower barriers for under-represented groups to connect to outdoor spaces and each other. 



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A design thinking process allowed me to approached this problem space with a human-centered perspective - building empathy with users and their diverse experience, understanding real issues as well as ideating and iterating various solutions. 


Understand & Empathize
Secondary Research

70% of surveyed outdoor recreation participants in the US are white, while only comprising 60% of the population (Outdoor Foundation)

20% of 2021 participants reported participating more than twice a week in outdoor recreation compared to 24% in 2010 (Outdoor Foundation).

20% of women enjoy outdoor recreation by the time they are 66 compared to 40% of men (Sierra Club)

These articles and reports indicated that outdoor recreation is limited in terms of marginalized group participation. This led me to seek the root cause, which I explored through user interviews.

Understand & Empathize
Primary Research

Following my investigation of the problem space including secondary research, it was time to pivot towards collecting user data from my target demographic in order to validate my assumptions. Therefore I created a user test plan and conducted user interviews.


Theme 1: Ease of Access

Insight Statement #1:
Individuals enjoy outdoor recreation and would participate more often if there were more accessible options in terms of location/transportation, opportunities, and cost.

Theme 2: Comfortability

Insight Statement #2:

Individuals feel uneasy being an outlier in outdoor recreation but would be more comfortable if they had more knowledge around outdoor recreation and a supportive environment.

Theme 3: Community

Insight Statement #3:

Individuals feel it is difficult to connect to outdoor recreation communities but would participate more if they had opportunities to meet others and build community.




User Journey Map

User Journey Map.png

Opportunity for Design

Surveying the user journey map and reflecting on Camilla's needs, I saw the greatest opportunity when she was first inquiring about outdoor involvement and seeking companions.   

Design Process

After collecting data points and understanding the experience of users in this context it was time to transition to ideating and implementing solutions. This led me to my critical question:

How might we...

provide marginalized groups in North America a space to connect to outdoor recreation and knowledge, lowering barriers to entry, so that these groups feel comfortable and increase their participation?

User Stories & Chosen Epic

I next authored a set of user stories from Camilla's perspective to complete specific tasks with various beneficial outcomes. This helped me prioritize a specified solution to base my design around. Camilla's perspective was one of a "novice" to capture her beginner status and experience exploring this arena.

Chosen epic: Connect

"Connect" seemed to be the most common task and provided room for development, so I chose this as my core epic to base the user task flow.

User Task Flow V1

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I made considerations for the various functionality of the sub-tasks Camilla would wish to accomplish given the chosen epic. Based on this, I researched components that would help Camilla accomplish her goal. This can be seen through my UI Inspiration Board.

Combining the epic, task flow and UI research I created my first sketches - first exploring various components and pages, then creating solution sketches that would later become my prototype.

Navigation Bar

Home Page

Chat Inbox

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I ended up pivoting from an idea to match users based on background, to allowing them to connect specifically through user-lead trips.

I thought that would encourage connection through activity rather than the pressure of connecting to a specific individual. As well, it was more technologically feasible to allow users to sign up for trips than match and sort people based on a pre-selected questions + answers.

Low Fidelity Prototype V1

I then converted my solution sketches into a low fidelity prototype

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User Testing

Round 1

In order to evaluate my prototype and ensure a strong design centered around the user, I conducted user testing on V1 of my prototype. I standardized the approach through a user test plan and script, ensuring consistency for each test session. Each session was recorded and transcribed with and analyzed into a test output document. 

Task Completion Analysis

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Most users performed well on each task, but there were still comments I wanted to address to ensure the best user experience. I implemented a design prioritization matrix in order to identify and implement the most important problems.

Design Prioritization Matrix 1

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Update 1

Users thought the home page was trips they had already signed up for.
Some users thought they’d be able to filter by sport or date.
All users were uncertain of what the icons represented (book icon particularly).

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User Testing

Round 2

I repeated testing on V2 in order to evaluate the strength of my design updates. I utilized the same script. Each session (transcript) was again recorded and transcribed with and analyzed into a test output document.

Task Completion Analysis

User Test Results R2.png

All users were able to complete each task, but there were still improvements to be made. I again implemented a design prioritization matrix and updated the prototype to reflect the feedback.

Design Prioritization Matrix 2

Update 1

Some users thought home was upcoming trips - trips they had already signed up for.

Users felt confusion around skill level required for each trip.


User Task Flow V2

I decided to modify the task flow and add several functions such as the ability to access group chats for trips. I saw this as a further opportunity to 'connect' and provide a welcoming experience for users.

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Brand Identity

Access Outdoors is: Inclusive, accessible, friendly, inviting, focused on community and togetherness, warm, fun, progressive, and adventurous.

I needed a brand and visual identity that reflected this, so I created a moodboard to capture the feeling I wanted to convey.


More A than B:

More follower than leader
More warm than cold
More camping than hotel
More exciting than mellow
More rainpants than sweatpants
More nature than city
More friendly than cold
More outgoing than reserved
More extrovert than introvert
More hiking boots than heels
More collectivist than individualist
More community than individual
More fuzzy than rough

From this moodboard I extracted the colors that best represented the Access Outdoors brand and infused my prototype with these brand and functional colors.

Brand Colors
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Functional Colors
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I also explored typography to align it to my brand and the mood that I wished to evoke. Therefore I created another moodboard to capture some potential typefaces.

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In the end I chose AirbnbCereal_W because it was designed to be a text face that is a “building block for creating meaningful connections around the world” (Airbnb Design Editorial), which aligned with the goal and feeling of this app. It's a sans serif text featuring taller x height and open apertures.


Naming and Wordmark

It was important to maintain brand cohesion and accessibility in the naming and wordmark of the app. After experimenting with various styles and selecting the Airbnb Cereal type, I adjusted the kerning and added a tree icon to capture and symbolize the outdoor nature of the app. As well, the name of the app captured all elements and goals, "ACCESS" embodying the goal of increasing access and inclusivity and "Outdoors" capturing the nature-focused themes. As well, I injected the brand colors that gave a warm and nature-focused feeling.

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As this was an app built around ideas of access and inclusivity, accessibility for colors were very important for my design. I utilized Github Accessible Color Palette Builder and Contrast plugin on Figma to make sure I met all WCAG AAA Accessibility Standards

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Final Prototype

Final Prototype

Marketing & Promotion

Responsive Website

To expand the project and create a potential first point of contact for users, I developed a responsive marketing website to promote Access Outdoors.

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Alternate Platform

I created an alternate platform for my mobile application in order to increase accessibility.

I selected the desktop format due to its frequent usage, readability, and consistency with booking sites which follows "consistency and standards" under the Nielson Normon principles for interaction design. Users are able to explore trips in broad format, viewing more content than what would be available through a mobile screen.

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Future Thinking:

Tarot Cards of Tech

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If 100 million people used my product, it would revolutionize the outdoor industry including national parks, outdoor gear companies, etc. There would be higher demand for access and products in order to access these spaces. Likely, it would lead to the need for greater education resources in order to ensure users are properly engaging with nature and the sports themselves. If users were my target audience it would close completely close the outdoor recreation diversity gap. It would demonstrate how critical these spaces are to people's health and wellbeing.

Key Learnings & Next Steps

This project taught me how to ideate and implement my own creations. It was exciting to build a product I am passionate about and to approach it methodologically - researching, iterating, pivoting and exploring until an appropriate solution was reached.

However, I certainly faced hurdles working my way through each step. I had to pivot and adjust based on feedback to maintain alignment with my users. This project forced me to be decisive under time constraints (10 weeks) and justify my design decisions while juggling multiple deadlines. 


In the future, I hope to build out more aspects of the app such as gear sharing and education. I had to consider and maintain the minimum viable product in order to effectively execute the critical elements of the product. However, there is much more that can be done, such as continued user testing, communicating with leaders in access, diversity and inclusion, and continue to iterate based on feedback I receive. 

Key Learnings
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