A traveler has landed at San Francisco International Airport and needs to reconnect with her checked bag. Let's rethink their bag check experience.
Problems (and solutions) vary - depending on whom you ask. Perspective matters.
Accordingly, for context, I've approached the problem as if I'm a product designer for an airline. The final product will be integrated as a new feature within an existing mobile app.
My design process begins by asking questions - lots of 'em. And using those questions to truly understand the problem itself.
WHAT ALREADY WORKS? CAN SMALL CHANGES IMPROVE THE EXISTING BAGGAGE CHECK DESIGN? WHAT ARE THE CURRENT PAIN POINTS? WHO ARE THE CURRENT PLAYERS IN THE MARKET? WHAT ARE OUR CUSTOMERS SAYING? ARE WE PRODUCING A PRODUCT THAT CUSTOMERS WANT? WHAT ARE MY CONSTRAINTS? WHAT ARE THE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES? WHAT'S OUR BUSINESS STRATEGY? WHAT'S THE POTENTIAL VALUE FOR CONSUMERS? HOW MIGHT CONSUMERS REACT TO A NEW PRODUCT? WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE MARKET? WHERE WILL THIS BE USED? HOW WILL THIS BE USED? HOW DOES IT SCALE? HOW IS THIS PLATFORM AGNOSTIC? HOW CAN THIS BE TESTED? WHAT ABOUT PRIVACY? WHAT ABOUT SECURITY? WHAT TECHNOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE? HOW DO WE MAKE USE OF THESE TECHNOLOGIES? ARE PARTNERSHIPS AVAILABLE? IF SO, WHO? HOW DO WE PULL DATA? HOW DO USERS PUSH DATA? WHAT'S THE INTERACTION STYLE? HOW IS IT DELIGHTFUL? WHAT IS THE VISUAL STYLE? HOW WILL THIS BE MARKETED? WHAT'S OUR BUDGET? IS THIS EVEN THE RIGHT PROBLEM TO SOLVE? WHAT DOES RESEARCH SAY?
Sita (2016). Air Transport Industry Insight Report.
Sita (2016). Air Transport Industry Insight Report.
Research indicates that heightened passenger stress points occur during check-in (bag drop), security, and bag retrieval. Although there have been improvements in recent years, baggage handling continues to be a bottleneck to the air transport industry.
It's evident that the current bag handling process needs a collective end-to-end redesign.
• Check-In (Bag Drop): Passengers are eager for new self check-in and bag-drop methods. Current stress points include delays, and waiting in long lines.
• Bag Updates: Passengers are eager for new baggage information services on their mobile devices to relieve the stress associated with behind-the-scenes bag handling. Current stress points include lack of updated information and support.
• Bag Retrieval: Passengers are eager for new baggage information services on their mobile devices to relieve the stress associated with bag retrieval. Current stress points include long waits (average 10 - 30 min), large crowds, and theft.
The air transport community plans to alleviate the stress of baggage handling through new and innovative technologies including beacons, RFID tags, and sharing economy integrations.
These findings have allowed me to identify the industry, the passenger, and the problems associated with the baggage journey.
Designing a Solution
Conceptualization ranged from RFID driven chatbots to Uber integrated luggage delivery solutions. Due to time constraints only the final concept is discussed below.
This initial concept sketch may not look like much but it's an integral piece in my design process. Simple sketches allow flash ideas to be sealed in time for future reference.
The primary pain points associated with baggage handling all revolve around communication. This chatbot concept stuck due to its familiar, versatile, and intimate design.
• Familiar: The conversational interface acts as a natural extension of human customer service. It's familiar enough that airline passengers (of all ages) would understand how to interact with it.
• Versatile: In order to capture and respond to a wide audience, the experience must be platform agnostic. A conversational interface allows for flexibility across languages and devices. It also serves as a seamless transition for passengers to interact with real-time service agents.
• Intimate: The airline passenger experience can be stressful. An intimate and personable connection to the brand can be utilized to remove stress and strengthen brand engagement.
This flow allows me to visualize the baggage journey, RFID scanning points, and user experience in one consolidated map.
The Baggage Journey
This flow serves as a functional foundation for the baggage flow. RFID scan points and passenger push notifications are associated with the red notification dots.
I was attracted to the technology of RFID tags for the following reasons:
• RFID can be placed on luggage as a typical tag.
• RFID can be virtually updated if the traveler is rerouted.
• Automated RFID scanning makes the process more efficient and safe for employees.
• RFID can alert the airline and passengers if a bag is out of flow.
• RFID is affordable at approx .12 cents.
The journey map allows me to visualize pain points. It serves to spotlight unanswered questions.
Highlighted questions include:
• What if users don't have the app installed? What is the alternative?
• Does the experience require connectivity to WiFi? If so, how does this impact the experience?
• How does the RFID tag translate if passengers connect with another airline?
• What coordination / partnerships are required for this implementation?
• How are beacons coordinated with the RFID tags?
Wireframes serve as a visual framework for the mobile app. In this case, the app is chat based and therefore, has a fluid conversational flow.
The initial user experience points engaging with the chatbot.
The completed flight experience engagement with the chatbot.
User friendly brand experiences create trust. A strong visual personality builds a deep connection with consumers through a unique look and feel.
It's safe to assume that the airline would already have a brand identity. For sake of our design exercise, I created a simple visual identity.
• Color: Contemporary colors are strong and reliable - for a reason.
• Typography: San Francisco font was selected for its strength, focus, and visual clarity on mobile devices.
• Imagery: Playful Emoji and friendly GIFs lighten the passenger experience. In addition, our chatbot is reliable and engaging through the use of a real human profile.
Personable. Informative. Available. OnTrack, your personal flight assistant, is designed around 21st century travel. It communicates with you at meaningful times - to help you enjoy the journey.
Thank You for Flying with Me
I hope you enjoyed giving me your time as much as I enjoyed taking you for a ride.