AirportNAV was my year long senior capstone project created while attending school at the University of Washington Bothell. I worked within a team of four students (pictured below) in a completely remote environment during COVID-19. I was the project lead, graphic designer, and illustrator. Our team goal was to improve the SeaTac Airport experience.
Guidance for the project was provided by our stakeholders, a team at Alaska Airlines. We met with the team on a bi-weekly basis. They gave us feedback on our work, suggestions for improvement, and gave us access to their user testing system for our desirability interviews and usability testing.
The process of navigating through SeaTac airport can be stressful for many individuals. Visitors need to get to their gate by a specific time and there are many obstacles that can affect the amount of time that it takes to get through the airport. For example:
Our primary user was Ellen Miller, who represents mothers, or primary care providers with young infants. We also created secondary personas based on users that needed other assistance within the airport such as accessible routes, access to pet relief areas, translation services, assistance with time management, and direction due to being a first-time flier.
We selected our primary user by creating a Persona Matrix where we illustrated the number of pain points in comparison to interest from faculty and stakeholders. New mothers had the most amount of pain points and interests, so we made them our project focus.
Our team worked together to brainstorm specific pain points for our audience. In addtion, we thought about the services within the airport that are difficult to locate and the services that our users often don't know about. Finally, we thought about ways that we could improve their airport experience and pain point solutions.
This storyboard for Ellen Miller illustrates what her experience was like as she was given turn-by-turn directions through SeaTac airport with AirportNAV. The app guided her on the quickest route through security, to the correct train, and to her desired destinations which included a coffee shop, nursing pod, restroom, and her gate.
My team and I conducted a competitive analysis with some other applications that would be used for travel. Delta Airlines and United Airlines where identified as our top competitors. All of the competing apps offered varying levels of interactive maps. However, we found that none of the apps offered maps with location-based wayfinding navigation. This then became our priority for our project.
We created a journey map that illustrates Ellen's emotions, thoughts, and questions as she progresses through her travel experience. Creating the journey map helped us identify several pain points and questions that we could anticipate as she packs her back, travels to the airport, and goes through security.
Our team conducted seven interviews within UserTesting.com. We filtered our participants using a screener. We interviewed mothers who had flown at least one time within the past year on a major airline that flies out of SeaTac Airport, has a smart phone, uses travel mobile apps, have at least one child, and have flown with children under the age of four.
Our team created a wireframe as we started to layout the interface for AirportNAV. Each screen illustrates what will show up when select the tabs on the lower navigation. This includes the home screen offering flight information, a map tab for navigation, a chat tab to call for assistance, an info tab that gives you useful information around the airport, and a general settings tab to adjust user preferences.
We researched the feasibility on creating an indoor GPS map for SeaTac by doing a small feasibility study within a local grocery store. During this piece of the process, I found that I could use the ArcGIS collector app on a mobile device to collect geographic information on routes and locations within the airport that users would want to stop at. At the grocery store I collected GNSS (global navigation satellite system) lines/routes down every aisle. Then, I collected GNSS point data within the different store sections and aisles. I tagged each point with photos and descriptions. Later I accessed the data within ArcGIS Pro where I was able to clean it up and develop routes. I then found that the map could be downloaded and integrated into an existing app, or an app could be developed around the map using ArcGIS Web App Builder.
We conducted five usability testing sessions within UserTesting.com using the same screener used during our desirability interviews. UserTesting.com. Our testing participants were mothers who had flown at least one time within the past year on a major airline that flies out of SeaTac Airport, has a smart phone, uses travel mobile apps, have at least one child, and have flown with children under the age of four. We created a usability script to maintain consistency between sessions.
View the interactive Adobe XD Prototype used in testing.
The project was completed in a remote environment during COVID-19. If the pandemic had not been an issue we would have been able to spend more time at SeaTac airport doing on-site research and could have worked together in person. Our team perservered through these challenges by using a variety of online collaborative tools, doing online research, and conducting remote interviews using Alaska Airlines usability testing system. I now have a lot of experience working in a remote environment and I would say that I am well adjusted. I look forward to having a flexible work experience that will allow me to come into the office and work from home one day.
I learned that I enjoy leading usability tests and interviews more than I thought I would. At first I found them incredibly intimidating and awkward but once I got a feel for what I was doing I really enjoyed speaking with the interviewees and uncovering information the team and I hadn't previously thought of.
I learned to not rush into prototyping and really embrace the research phases. Really diving deep into the research phase and learning everything you can will set a project up for success in later phases.
Yes, before working on this project I had not considered becoming a UX designer. When I was doing the work for the project I was surprised to find out that it could be something I would enjoy and possibly excel at with more experience.
If we were to continue working on the project we would expand on the map that was created in Adobe Illustrator by integrating the dining, shopping, and airport services that we had categorized during a map analysis. This would improve searching and navigating within the app.
Additionally, we would continue usability testing on the packing list to find out whether new moms would want suggestions on which items are TSA compliant or if they would prefer it to be a list they populate themselves.
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Copyright © 2021 - Jessica R. Price