Unsolicited App Design

Launched in 2004, became the most popular crew- and boat-finding service within 12 months of its’ inception. Now, people from around the world utilize the service to find people to connect with. 

I was first introduced to while I was traveling full time. I was speaking with a friend about her time working on board and she was able to speak highly about her experience. Because I was traveling full-time, I accessed their service via their mobile site, and found it to be overwhelming, confusing, and overly complex.'s existing mobile interface is unnecessarily complex. emphasizes the percentage of compatibility between the boat owners and potential crew. Therefore, we can infer the following user goals: create a profile, find a good match based on their profile, message with them, decide to meet up and take off on your journey.

I mapped a traditional user journey based on steps condensed from the methodologies used in the mobile website. I then walked through the process with volunteers and identified potential pain points and places that specifically needed to be called out. There were three universal complaints:

Surveying Potential Users

A survey submitted to 20 solo travelers showed that most people thought that the prospect of the position being paid or unpaid was the most important factor in their decision, followed by compatibility with the boat owner, so I reorganized the automatic sorting of matches to be first by position availability and then by compatibility.

What would be the most important factor in your boat selection?

Findacrew Survey

Research indicates that survey information must be gathered in roughly 7-8 minutes in bouts of 16-25 questions before completion rates drop 5-10% per question. Findacrew currently presents 33 questions as their onboarding process, with each question often having subsections which require additional time. I reduced the number and streamlined this process to 13 questions with the possibility of contributing additional information later in order to increase user retention. 

Early sketches and low-fidelity mockups.

Sketching Low-Fidelity Prototypes

Drawing from these understandings, I sketched some very low-fidelity prototypes to better understand user flow and how we might separate relevant information and how it related to the needs of the user in each step.

Mid-Fidelity Prototype

To better understand functionality and relationships between pages, a mobile sitemap was created to illustrate user flow.

Upon testing the mid-fidelity prototype with users, it became apparent that some of the UI elements were incompatible with the function of the app. I reduced the size of the main navigation bar, in addition to the profile sizes in order to allow for more results to appear per page and reduce time scrolling through the application. I also changed the location of the boat’s departure from numbers of kilometers away to show an actual country, which allowed people a clearer idea of where they might be going.

Looking Forward

In the future, I would like to incorporate a map feature into the profile selection process to better indicate where users could potentially depart from rather than listing countries and showing a smaller map. Unsolicited App Design

I am not affiliated with in any way and they did not approve of this redesign exercise.


Sole designer

Project Length

2 weeks

Tools Used

Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Figma