In-Flight
Experience

Project Intro

I worked on this project during my tenure @DesignLab, TCS. The project started with the customer proposal to redesign their In-Flight experience for ultra long flight journeys ( Services with 15+ flying hours). 

My Role

I led this design engagement from ideation to implementation. The design team consisted of 4 members including me. I played various roles during this engagement which includes the following: Design Strategist, User Researcher, Interaction Designer, Visual Designer. I also collaborated with the product manager and engineering team during this engagement. 

Outcome

We did extensive user research which helped us to identify the real problem. With the help of research data, we were able to state that an infotainment system alone will not suffice to mitigate the identified passenger's pain points. We adopted a service level design approach, where we placed two connected applications, a mobile and an infotainment system to cover the whole user journey. 

Redesigning In-flight Experience for Ultra Long flight Journeys

Goals of the Customer

Their primary goal was to increase their customer's satisfaction by retaining a higher customer satisfaction index (CSI). Towards that goal, their secondary goal was to improve their current in-flight experience by redesigning a better infotainment system. 

Goals of the Designer

This engagement was a typical scenario where a customer approaches you with a problem and a possible solution in hand. As a design team, it is our responsibility to ensure we are in the right direction.

Will redesigning in-flight experience improve customer satisfaction or not?

Discovery Phase

We adopted generative research methodologies like stakeholder interviews and document analysis to get to know our customer and keep us informed various processes involved around in-flight experience

User Interviews

The initial discovery phase generated relevant inputs to plan and structure the interviews well. This study was an evaluative approach towards measuring the passenger's degree of satisfaction and its relationship with the current infotainment system and other in-flight services.   

Users: Targets Users were screened based on the feeds back and reviews received by the company. 

Interview Structure: Funnel model was adopted starting with general subjective questions asking reasons, instances or examples for the lower rating of flight experience followed by specific questions on their in-flight and infotainment system. 

Outcome

  • The study reconfirmed that passengers were not satisfied with their previous flying experience and that has resulted in lower customer satisfaction.
  • The study reported that the current infotainment system is limited in supporting all the user goals with respect to the in-flight experience.
  • The study also reported that the overall passenger experience is not a sole reflection of the in-flight experience. It also depends on pre-flight and post-flight experience.

Research Question: Will redesigning in-flight experience improve customer satisfaction or not?

NO. Passenger experience is equally linked to all the three stages of the journey: Pre-flight, In-flight, Post-Flight.

How to keep passengers satisfied across all three stages?

 

User Interviews Phase 2

Based on the insights obtained from previous interviews we strategized another set of interviews to evaluate all the three identified stages of the passenger journey.  The goal was to complement the previous study by discovering all the passenger pain points involved in these three stages.    

Users: There were two sets of target users: Infrequent Flyers, Frequent Flyers. We choose to screen users from passengers who have completed trips recently as their ability to recollect specific instances and example seemed to diminish during the course of time.

Interview Structure: A Semistructured model was adopted with questions specific to each of the three phases. There was a mix of both subjective and objective questions. 

Outcome

  • Identified Goals passenger want to achieve during their user journey through the three stages.
  • Identified Tasks they perform to achieve these goals.
Affinity Diagram created based on the user interviews which maps the entire user journey

Identifying User Goals 

Based on the interview data and affinity mapping we generated specific user goals under each stage. 

Measuring User Experience

Each task under the user goal is measured based on time, task completion and user satisfaction. We calculated a severity score based on the inputs we obtained. Based on the severity and the feasibility we generated design opportunities. 

Outcome: 

  1. Time was a major factor than success: Tasks which took more time and failed contributed towards lower satisfaction.
  2.  Tasks that failed after repeated attempts and tasks that required users to access multiple platforms and services were also crucial.
Key Pain point: Disconnected Services

This is one of the crucial pain point faced by the user. Most of the tasks were performed with the aid of multiple platforms and services. Because of the disconnected nature of the services, there were data redundancy issues. for ex: "User has to provide all the journey details to authenticate his identity every time he connects to customer care". Here is a break down of the Pre-flight experience.

 

Design opportunity

To address the design opportunities we identified an actionable and feasible solution which is a companion mobile app which delivers Pre-flying and post-flying experiences to the passengers. Similarly to accommodate in-flight experience we proposed a new improved Infotainment system. 

Information architecture

Mobile application

 

Sketches

We started the design process with low fidelity sketches. This is the way we iterate through many design options quickly. 

Goal

  • The main purpose of sketches was to rapidly generate UI solutions, brainstorm and iterate on the same.
  • Three versions of the sketches were made and we choose to go with the final version.

Wireframes

Low fidelity

High fidelity

"Now our design was ready. Let's make sure it is implemented well."

Respect your developer, empathize with them and work together

Design handoff: Perfecting designer-developer collaboration

Problems with the old model

A typical day during the design implementation phase

Outcome

Apart from solving the problems faced by the previous model we were also able to attain these changes

  • Encourage developers to ask more questions
  • Encourage more healthy debates and discussions between designer and developers
  • Discourage developers to make weak assumptions on design documentation gaps
  • Encourage developers to take better design informed decisions
"Antony's work at in-flight experience project was highly impressive as it clearly reflected a professional UX designer in him. He took the courage to state that an infotainment system alone will not suffice to mitigate the passenger's pain points. Instead, he suggested a service level design where he placed two connected applications mobile and an infotainment system to cover the whole user journey."  - Head of DesignLab, TCS