top of page
mockup w_clouds.png
Alaskan (full color).png

Transfer Flight Experience

How might we help young-adult travelers to utilize their transferring time?

Project Overview

Duration: Oct. 2018 - Mar. 2019 (Work in Progress)

Tag: Mobile APP, Web Design, End-to-end Experience 

Team: Amy Chen, Yahui Ma, Sami West, Mandy Xu (me)

​My Role: UX/UI Designer, User Research Assistant

Sponsor: Alaska Airline


cloud bg.png

This is my master's capstone project. We collaborate with Alaska Airline, aiming to provide a tool within Alaska's booking website and mobile APP for travelers to help with utilizing the transferring time. 

Solution Preview

flight info show.jpg

Flight Info Card of Different Legs

Instead of putting all flight information together on the same page, users can navigate through the tabs at different stages of their trip and check the information that they want.

Recommendation Based

on Time

The recommendation of places and activities at the airport is based on the time left before boarding. Users can make choices according to the walking time and waiting time.

layover screens show.jpg
flight delay show.jpg

Handling Flight Delay

Flight delay is a very big concern for travelers. Here we provide the cause of delay and the solutions of missing the connecting flight in order to provide information transparency.

Understanding User's Current Journey


In the survey, we asked 150 users to rate different aspects of their transfer experience, and what are some of their happy or unhappy experiences.

The key aspects that influence the experience are catching the flight, navigating and finding facilities at the airport.

survey diagram.png

Image Credit to Yahui Ma

Diary Study & Journey Map

diary study notes.png
Diary Entry

We recruited 9 participants who flew during December and asked them to take notes of their transferring experience using voice input on their phone

diary study notes.png
Analyze & Synthesize

We mapped out each participant's journey and discovered 10 common activities

10 common theme.png
Follow-up Interview
& Card Sort

In order to understand the motivation and emotion of the users more, we followed up with three participants. We interviewed about their trip, and also did a card sorting activity on the 10 main activities.


Gathering all the data from diary entry and follow-up interviews, we synthesized them into three journey maps of three typical types of travelers.


Now, I'll Introduce You to...

Joe pic.png

Joe the Average Traveler


who is running late and needs to quickly get from one gate to the next in order to catch his flight


Justin the Explorer


who is interested in venturing outside of the airport during his long layover

sara pic.png

Sara the Luxury Traveler


who has access to more amenities than others, including Airline Lounges and in-flight wifi

Sample User Journey Map of Average Joe

Average Joe journey map.png

Scoping the Project Based on Research Insights 

After getting the journey mapping and analyzing all other insights we got from user research phase, we had a group meeting to scope down our project to a design problem space that is impactful and feasible within one academic quarter. 


Supported with our key findings, one overarching theme that seems to expand over the entire journey is the concept of time utilization.

We believe that the combination of better time and option awareness will lead to a better time utilization of the flight transfer layover time.

time utilization.png

Image Credit to Amy Chen

Ideal User Journey

design requirements.jpg

Ideation & Sketching

We began ideation by brainstorming all of the possible features or functions that could live during each stage of the trip to support our identified design requirements, then grouped our ideas into themes, and finally decided on the most crucial design ideas to proceed with including features such as:

● Layover city information when booking

● Recommendations around the gate

● Maps and visualizations

● Time progress bar to stay on time


Next, we sketched the interfaces of the key features defined from our ideation, in order to explore the best format to display and interact.


Low Fi Interfaces & Cognitive Walkthrough

Booking Flow

  • Our cognitive walkthrough led us to the realization that the wording of the tabs we created needed to be clearer for users to navigate easier


  • We also came to an understanding that we will need to add in interactive elements on the web to make the booking features more discoverable and usable


1 Day Before Trip Flow

  • From critiques and our cognitive walkthrough, we found that the checklist feature that was aimed to help prepare travelers for their trip was a minor feature that had less relation to our overall theme of time utilization, so we chose to scope it out

  • The hierarchy of the boarding pass needs to be higher within the booking stage

low -1day before.png

During the Layover Flow

  • More informational labels, such as “Busy” or “A little busy”, “Fast Food” or “Comfort food”, should be added to the option listings card for each option

  • We tried a hidden time progress bar, but found that it can be hard to discover, so we chose to proceed with the design of the time progress bar that remain directly visible

low - duirng layover.png

Delay Scenario

  • The delay scenario interface should be consistent with the general flight status interface to avoid confusion

  • The abbreviation of both the airport and the city should be reconsidered because they might not be understandable for users (i.e. ORD means Chicago)

low - delay.png

From Low-fi to Hi-fi

  • Participants didn’t notice the layover time filter because it was hidden in the large group of filters without labels.

  • The meaning of the “Add to compare” button was very vague. Participants did not understand what they would be comparing if they clicked on this button.

  • Icons related to airport amenities not clear, for example, the wifi icon

    • P2 imagined seeing more information when hovering over.

  • Would like a city map showing locations of the airport and places to visit.

Check-in Flow

iphone frame.png
checkin low-hi.png

You might also want to check

bottom of page