Proof of concept for a mobile-only corporate travel booking and expense management application

T&E Management

About the project: A tier-one bank wanted to create their own internal, mobile-first T&E management tool for their business travelers. Much like their competitors and other Fortune 500 companies, they were contracted to the leader in the T&E management space. The contracts were costly, and most of all, the employees hated using this third party vendor. Despite its rather large size, the bank operated with a startup mentality. They invest heavily into the employee experience, from the architecture of the office space, perks, education, all the way to business travel.

For confidentiality reasons I’ve stripped the name of the client and its branding.

My role: On this internal incubator project, I led a team of 6 designers across UX and visual, and a researcher,. We worked closely with a corporate travel SME and a vast team of iOS and Android Developers


We all had our own gripes with the existing solution. However, we needed to hear from the other employees on their thoughts to validate our opinions. We identified a cross-section of employees varying in age groups and levels to interview: the road warriors, the travel and compliance managers, the approvers, the executive assistants, and even the infrequent traveler. In this exercise, we identified the three main users.

Key Personas

Major pain points:

-To no one's surprise, no one enjoyed doing expense reports. Booking travel, the actual travel, lodging, meals, and ground transportation were easy by comparison. It's the end of the trip, in which expenses needed to be filed, that was the most grueling in the user journey (literally, a journey.)

-Even road warriors did not understand firm compliance beyond the per diem

-Travelers loved loyalty points (hotel nights, miles, points, etc)

-The growing younger demographic at the firm wanted flexibility to book whatever lodging and airlines they wanted

-Everyone loses receipts

-Confusion as to who approved expenses

-Confusion as to who provided pre-trip approvals

-Current system did not allow for itinerary changes and rebooking. Travelers needed to receive firm approval prior to rebooking.

-No one knew when they get reimbursed for out of pocket expenses

-Travel managers often receive late and non-compliant expense reports

-Approvers are not aware they are approvers

Core Features:

The typical core experience of a T&E management tool consisted of ledgers, reports, history, project codes, receipt library, entitlements, approve/reject functions, manual overrides, corporate card integration, and logins

We layered feasible, quick-win features that the users (both admins and travelers) wanted and wanted now.

Features: MVP and possible future state

\While most of these can be solved with within the app, there are operational issues that cannot through an interface. Compliance, for example, requires a firm-wide change. There are also existing contracts with preferred airlines, car services, and hotels that cannot simply be ripped up by procurement teams.

Exploring Ideas

Sketches and paper prototypes

Site Map

Mapping out all the key screens helped us identify how large this application would be. As we continued designing, and business asks evolved, the map continued to grow.

High level site map

Snapshot of the wireframes

From the onboarding process to snapping photos of receipts, managing card charges, to creating the expense report, this is a task-oriented product with complex transactions.

Sample wireframes and visual design

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© 2020 Jonathan Chan