In 2016, Alaska Airlines rolled out a new class of seating between first class and coach. This was called Premium Class, and it afforded passengers some unique privileges. Alaska needed a platform to instruct their employees on the nature of these privileges.
I designed an application to help their employees learn the new operations and procedures required for passengers in Premium Class-- how much extra leg room is there? What kinds of in-flight snacks are offered?
Alaska Airlines uses an iOS standard for their employees. We needed to develop a platform that would allow call center agents, customer service agents, and flight attendants to easily digest instructional content for Premium Class on their work-issued devices. This meant our solution must be compatible with iPhone, iPad, and web. Three form factors in just a few weeks is a challenge for a small team of two designers, which meant some features had to be triaged. Not everything was going to make the cut.
Alaska Airlines' headquarter is conveniently positioned just south of Seattle, so we were able to have local access to the client and their employees. We hoped we could use this to do some user research.
Going into the project we had to consider how the content would be consumed. We wanted to make sure the material was presented in a way that was interesting. We decided that our three core design foundations were that the content needed to be Quick, Lively, and Snackable. This meant we couldn’t have long, cumbersome, videos, and the tone needed to stay playful. Users would constantly need to be pointed to the next piece of content to eliminate excessive downtime.
We also considered gamification and leaderboard features, but seeing as this was a short-term MVP, those ended up being cut out by the client.
Additionally, flight attendants would have limited internet access in the air, which precluded streaming videos to the device. They had to be stored locally.
We designed the system to be as intuitive as possible by borrowing common design patterns from well-known educational sites, like Khan Academy and Udemy.
We also ran a focus group with several Alaska Airlines employees with a fully functional prototype experience to get a truly data-driven result. Additionally, we issued an online survey to Alaska flight attendants asking them to run through the same experience.
My primary efforts were designing the web experience, though I did provide heavy input into the design of the iOS and iPhone visuals as well.