Code for Miami
Carole Larson , Stephanie Vore Apple and Sandra Romero
We were tasked with creating a concept out of the many needs that could be found in the traveling space with an added requirement: the proposed solution, while digital, needed to include a tangible component.
As any good UX team, we brainstormed a lot and bounced ideas off each other until we narrowed it down to two core principles. Our product will be around families, more specifically a mom and it will involve a smart band to help navigate through the different events families are faced with when making it through the airport.
During our need-finding phase, I set out to MIA airport to observe traveling families, took a lot of notes and pictures which later helped us define that families just don't have enough hands. They carry luggage, strollers, cellphones, baby bags in addition to paperwork.
Our product's concept developed into a name: We called it Flyband. Our concept would comprise an entire implementation of beacons around the airport, receptacles for recycling of the bands, a desktop interface, and we were allowed to assume participation from the airport administration.
We created our persona through the analysis of the experiences told by our friends and families, as a common theme started to emerge: While at the airport, people feel more at ease if they feel in control, if they have a good handle of time and their families whereabouts while they make it through the maze to the security gate knowing they did not forget those ever important boarding passes.
With Claire in mind, FlyBand was then born. After looking at many existing bands in the market, we set out to create our 3-D prototype which I molded out of play-dough and other materials found at a party supply store. Below are the original band's face buttons on our play-dough prototype. We envisioned it to have a one size fits-all, to have a hypoallergenic slap-on wrist strap that people could put on easily and we verified that, in theory, with plastic materials, the overall idea might work when I road-tested it, wearing it around for half a day.
Our first tester, a 36 year old tech savvy mom revealed issues identifying the hour-glass function and confusion with the bathroom icon being apart from the other directional feature to find other things. This was found as we directed her to perform 3 tasks while thinking out-loud
Through several group design sessions we refined and refined. We went from 6 functions on the main screen to 4 functions and we brainstormed about the best meaningful affordances to represent such functions.
We settled on the simple luggage icon, but iterated a few times until we settled on the boarding pass, the directional arrows and the assistance icons. We also replaced the hour-glass which originally meant 'check for gate' to a more salient countdown clock now placed above the other controls.
Different icons we considered
Our refined prototype
But FlyBand couldn't exist in a vacuum, a complete system of beacons around the airport, recycle receptacles that would wipe out information, a desktop interface for people to reserve their FlyBands and a kiosk to receive their FlyBand upon arrival at the airport were also designed.
While Stephanie and Carol researched the feasibility of the different technology components I took all of their feedback and created this scenario map to tie it all together and a prototype for the desktop component.
With FlyBand is was our goal to significantly change the time-sensitive in-airport experience for families.
Family group leaders like Claire, will feel the transformative effects of being in control while in the airport. Stress is reduced. Decisions are easier to make. When key information is given back to the user, including the ability to find out how long it will take to get through security, how long to the gate with helpful directions, and food court locations, Claire is empowered, confident and happier.
Our hands-free, platform independent FlyBand has the power to alter the airport experience from a high stress event to a low stress, enjoyable time that becomes a positive part of the entire travel adventure*.