SPRINT30 PORTFOLIO

Traverse

Streamlining international moves with clarity and confidence Traverse - the ultimate companion for anyone embarking on a global journey. Traverse is more than just a travel app; it's your go-to resource to seamlessly navigate the complexities of international relocation.

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Problem Statement  

As someone living abroad, I’m trying to efficiently manage my essential documentation and fulfill administrative tasks required in various countries so I can ensure legal compliance and maintain my mobility and flexibility across borders but I often encounter complex, varying legal systems which makes me feel overwhelmed and anxious about potential legal issues and administrative errors.

So, how might we simplify the management of essential documentation and administrative tasks for individuals living abroad to ensure legal compliance and maintain mobility across various countries?

Problem Background  

Navigating the myriad of financial and legal obligations in foreign lands presents a significant challenge for digital nomads, immigrants, and expatriates. This diverse group grapples with complex tax systems, differing insurance policies, and cumbersome legal documentation, which vary widely from one country to another. Additionally, the intricacies of visa requirements, setting up bank accounts, and dealing with foreign government systems can be daunting tasks that consume considerable time and effort. These issues are compounded by the transient nature of their lifestyles, where frequent moves necessitate a continual reassessment of their legal and financial standing. The lack of a centralized platform to streamline these processes often leads to confusion and potential non-compliance, which can have serious legal and financial repercussions. Addressing these challenges with tailored solutions that simplify the bureaucratic landscape across borders can significantly enhance the experience of living and working abroad.

Research Insights

Based on the problem space, my research objective was to understand people's experiences dealing with these complex systems. I also wanted to know how these users organized their documents and how they found reliable information. I did this through user interviews and surveys. I interviewed 8 users and there was 1 survey response.

From the user interviews, there were 4 key pain-points that were the most common among the interviewees. 

1.) There needs to be more reliable information. 75% of interviewees found it hard to locate reliable information online; 87% relied on community forums and word of mouth.

2.) Some countries need better administration processes. 50% of interviewees experienced delays and red tape due to unfamiliarity with local procedures and language.

3.) Tracking tasks and documents are done manually. 100% of interviewees said they do not use digital tools to organize documents and track administrative tasks. 62% hired expensive accountants or immigration consultants.

4.) Errors = Second-Class Treatment. 100% of interviewees reported feeling like a second-class citizen due to mistakes or missing documents caused by unreliable information. This happened regardless of their age, gender, or ethnicity. 

There were some great quotes from interviews:

“..coming from a third-world country and being female you just get like a f******  target on your back by immigration offices.”

“I actually brought my friend that [knew] German to come to the appointment otherwise I wouldn’t be able to communicate with them.”

“ I thought I had paid taxes correctly….. a year later, and so I ended up having to, like, pay more taxes…”

Solution

Based on our target users’ pain points, Traverse was born to address the problem statement. I wanted to envision a solution that did not require deep tech to create an mvp and had a clear MVP. 

Traverse is your essential companion for obtaining precise and trustworthy information tailored to your origin and destination countries. Seamlessly store and translate documentation into English, ensuring you're always prepared and well-informed. While some view this as a supplementary tool, Traverse serves as a crucial resource, liberating users from reliance on consultants and unreliable forums, and preparing for administrative hurdles alleviating the stress of administrative tasks. 

Future Steps

If I continue making Traverse, I will validate my assumptions through continual user interviews while iterating on an MVP.

Current assumptions are: 

  • Digital documents needed to store are in .pdf or .docx formats. 
  • Users have access to smartphones or computers with internet access. 
  • Users will stay engaged and use the task system. The task system is user-driven to get maximum value. 

Additional problems to address are:

How will Traverse ensure data security and privacy? 

  • Will Traverse be free to use or have a type of payment model? 
  • Will Traverse offer user support especially when navigating immigration and administrative requirements?
  • Will user adoption be slow? This seems similar to travel health insurance. You don’t know how valuable it is until you have to use it. 

Learnings

Product Manager Learnings:

Dylan Lee

Defining the problem space for Traverse underscored the critical importance of establishing a solid foundation by validating the problem thoroughly. Without a well-defined Problem Area and Problem Statement, you're like a ship adrift without a rudder. I've learned that crafting specific and clear user stories is crucial for guiding the development of features. Additionally, focusing on Jobs to Be Done ensures the product addresses the fundamental needs and goals of users, aligning features and user stories with real-world tasks and desired outcomes.

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