For this project, the challenge was to explore the future of air travel. We had to craft a vision for the future that could act as a north star for San Francisco International Airport to transition to over the next 5 years.
Our solution was the FlySmart Boarding Band, designed to reduce traveler anxiety. Using the band, the traveler does not have to use their phone, and can move efficiently and anxiety-free through the airport. Simplicity and affordability were the key design constraints.
Laura Sanford, Aditi Mathur
Service design, Usability testing
KEY INSIGHTS FROM RESEARCH
- Not knowing how long security lines will take is stressful
- Needing to be alert for announcements makes travelers anxious.
- It gets frustrating to carry your cabin baggage on you as move around.
We visited SFO Airport, talked to travelers, and studied the layout of the airport
We sent out a qualitative survey and studied over 30 responses from a wide demographic.
We conducted in-depth interviews with customer service staff of Virgin America and frequent air travelers.
Not knowing if you are going to make your flight while standing in the long security line is stressful.
-Jack, frequent flier
Good signage is a big deal when you’re running late and panicking— unclear announcements are very frustrating.
-Shilpi, mother of two
I do wish I had someone with me to watch over my luggage while I visited the restroom or just wanted to take a leisurely walk.
-Joan, solo traveler
How might we reduce traveler anxiety while moving through the airport?
We brainstormed and came up with a large pool of ideas. We then analyzed them for impact, technological and economic feasibility, and ingenuity. We chose the top ideas and sketched out storyboards for them. This helped us understand how each of them would function. This step helped us filter out our ideas and combine features. We then tested the design with users and improved it with the feedback received.
My key learning from this project was that when designing a service, one must consider all products, services, and people that interact with the system. Several features in our solution were informed by airline staff who intimately knew the system. I was also challenged when it came to creating a business plan, taking into account financial consideration and stakeholder buy in. I found this interesting, and after this project was inspired to learn more about creating a robust business plan to go along with the design solution.