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Product Design

Design Challenge: Seaboard

Cbord... Seaboard, get it?

Ha! I try not to pass up an opportunity for puns around here. This was a take-home whiteboard challenge from an interview. The timebox was 4-6 hours, but I got carried away. The project was so much fun that I lost track of time and viola, Seabord was born!

The ask: Create wireframes and at least 1 hi-fi mock up for a kiosk for a Cruise Line that allows new guests to manage their accounts, book activities, order room service, and learn about ports of call. The system also needs to enable the primary accountholder to be able to review the accounts of family members, deposit money, book activities, and set nutritional restrictions for them.

TLDR; I put a survey on Reddit and interviewed people I had been on cruises with to idealize a persona, gage interest and product features. I built wireframes and got carried away on what was supposed to be a 4 hour challenge. When I presented to the design team, I was scrutinized for my use of text colors and accessibility, but ended up landing the role. I try to never make that mistake again.

16 hours
Tools Used
Sketch, Photoshop, Reddit
Morgan Breier - Researcher, Designer

Seaboard was a take home design challenge

Discovery & Research

Word cloud based on survey answers describing their cruise

With only a few hours to research and create, I turned to my most trusted assistants -- Google and Reddit. While running on the treadmill, I looked through old pictures of my past cruise vacations trying to jog old memories.  I googled everything there is to know about cruise ships: emergencies, destinations, weather, luxuries, price points and packages, various cruise lines, assumptions, frustrations, need and wants.

I made notes of everything I could find and jotted down questions for a survey. As soon as I got home, I put all the questions I had into Google Forums Survey, posted to the internet and waited. Though the challenge prompt gave an idea of a user base, I used a survey to gather a better sense of who this product would be for.

Survey results determined the ideal user would be

  • Single, young - middle aged woman
  • Income of $100,000+
  • Veteran Cruiser (4+ cruises) frequenting Mid - Luxury Cruise lines
  • Traveling with family
  • Someone looking for a fun, relaxing vacation, food, and an endless drink package.

Instead of a kiosk, users wanted a phone app or a tablet in their room.


MVP based on survey responses

Survey results also showed what was most important to cruisers. With a tight timeline, I compared the responses with the Cbord's ask, The MVP was determined to give both parties what they needed.

Anyway, I lost track of time and ended up doing majority of the features.

User Needs

  • Reserve dining tables
  • Manage accounts of
  • Order Food
  • Book activities on and off the ship
  • Navigate the ship floors

User Goals

  • Enjoy their vacation
  • Personal experience
  • Worry and stress free
  • Avoid lines at Information Desk


  • This is wanted/needed and will improve guests' experiences
  • Accurate representation of population
  • Tech in each passenger cabin
  • More affordable than passenger phone app
  • Easy to reset for next cruise


  • Little to no internet access
  • Satellite internet is expensive
  • Database access
  • Too much tech can disconnect from experience
  • Time

Ideations & Opportunity

Top: Ports of Call screen where sailors can view information and book excursions for their destination
Bottom from left to right: Manage accounts of the party, view menus and order room service, home screen with schedule of events with main menu

According to user research, people aren't on cruises to sit on tablets the whole time. In fact, many go to escape from technology. Who would have thought!

Information First

To help cruisers reach their goal of having a fun, relaxing vacation, I wanted to create a product that was informative, easy to use, and was able to get users to their goals quickly without being too distracting. After all, ~30% of passenger spending comes from onboard, so we would want cruisers to go out of their cabin and spending money, er I mean, having fun. Designs consist of information first to get users what they need.


Use of dark, ocean blue color brings consistency to the designs and the brand. With lots of white space, content has room to breathe and tell a story.

Smiling faces, fun with friends, and delicious food help cruisers see what is possible on board. The use of happy people in pictures helps guests envision themselves as the happy person in the picture doing something fun or relaxing.

Escaping Reality

Many cruise lines want guests to truly escape from everyday life, so much so that there are no prices, dates, or cell service on ships. Staying true to their methods, I imitated similar concepts. If guests don't have a care in the world, they are likely to spend more. With the pre-purchased packages, they will feel like they didn't spend anything and increase their vacation budget. Most guests don't consider cruise fare booked months in advance part of the budget.


Though the design challenge only asked for wireframes with 1 or 2 mockups, I included a few more. Screens shown include:

  • Home screen which features a schedule of events, weather, time, and a menu
  • Account Management
  • Explore Onboard
  • Destination Information
  • View and book onshore activities
From left to right: View Ports of Call information, view on shore activities, book excursions
From left to right: Manage account of those in the party, order room service from a menu, home screen with schedule of events


Moving Forward with Accessibility

During my interview, the Design Team grilled me for lack of enough accessible design. This was my first run in with accessibility. I knew font had to be bigger for folks with different vision needs, and buttons should have a minimum size, but I had no clue how to design for accessibility. From that moment, I started avoiding text that is not contrasting enough in my work. I  learned there are so many forms of disabilities that might make certain products difficult to use.  Little did I know this topic would be a huge part of the job and my life.

As the interview went on, I learned the design team is pushing for more inclusive design in future products. Up until recently, the company did not have a design team so all the products were created without design considerations. With a large presence in the Healthcare and Education market, it is crucial that everyone can use their products regardless of any differences in ability. When the interview was over, I went home to explore more about inclusive design. Over a year later, it's now a topic that is very close to me.  It has given me more insight, empathy, and consideration; no case is too granular or the same. As a designer, it's important to create inclusive products so no one is left out.

And, I got the job!


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