Ground in needs of flight attendants

Ground in needs of flight attendants

This project began with a design workshop for Lufthansa, which identified various problems with flight attendants' working routines. The project aimed to develop a new working system for flight attendants to improve their performance.

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Ask Questions

During the design workshop, we ask about the details of some specific problems they mentioned, we found out some interesting points that even flight attendants did not recognised. Those findings lead us to frame some hypothesis as a design direction.

The Insights

PositionPain pointInsight
👩‍✈️ Flight attendant
“We need to submit a journey report after landing but we might have no chance for taking notes, so we need to remember everything in their head and fill in the report after the flight”
DocumentationRecommendation
👨‍✈️ Flight attendant
“We are using a paper list for any special note, and the list changes all the time but we can’t make sure if everyone got the updated note. Sometimes we made error because of it.”
CommunicationDocumentation
👩‍✈️ Flight attendant
“We need to submit a journey report after landing but we might have no chance for taking notes, so we need to remember everything in their head and fill in the report after the flight”
DocumentationRecommendation
👨‍💼 Passenger manager
“When passengers wanted to change their sit, we need to ask if there are any empty sit. But sometimes we are not sure about it because we don’t if other colleague had already take the sit.”
Communication
👨‍🔧 Cabin consultant
“We use walkie-talkie to communicate at the moment, but sometimes it is hard for flight attendants to spot out the technical issue specifically to the engineer team during the security check.”
Communication

Problem Statement

We decided that Communication is the prioritised issue that we are going to focus on. Flight attendants divided into groups to take care of passengers and aircraft components based on seats area. However, there is no specific communication system for them when they need to make requests or inform other groups. This causes unnecessary actions and time lost, as they need to keep running back and forward in the cabin.

Hypothesis

We believe by improving the information delivery (with visual appearance and user experience) will help flight attendants to communicate with different units effectively in working scenario.

We know this would be true when we see a decrease in case number from the flight journey report.

We learn from flight attendants about their work situations. We get some specific insights by analysing all steps and details from their work situations.

That leaded us to understand more about their behaviour when they are working in different scenario.

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Affordance and Control

The mapping between functions and affordances provide a right level of difficulty for flight attendants to take actions. That contribute the user experience of how they interact with their device in specific scenario.

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Action and Feedback

Communication is an issue when flight attendants delivered into groups (maximum in 6 groups) for working. A hierarchical structure can help them to prioritise a most direct way to send out different messages to the particular person, and getting feedback as quick as possible.

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Principal and Criteria

Flight attendants need to work on different things with their hands all the time. It is impossible for them to carry their iPad all the time, they need something which is,

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Easy to carry - They need a tool that they can carry around when they are working. Also their hands needed to be free so they can keep working on their stuffs.
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Easy to control - A complex control for them is a nightmare when they are busy. Therefore a minimum control for different actions is needed.
Provide quick information - A precise and specific information is needed when flight attendants are in particular situation. It’s painful for them to carry and use a paper list all the time.

Based on the suggestion from development team, we defined the basic design specification and some possible solution for improving above problems.

We made an MVP for flight attendants to demonstrate the design in a simulation from their base in Hamburg.

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Notification and Gesture

Simple notification with different taptic pattern enable flight attendants to get any messages directly and they can quickly make a respond without making complex actions. By using a specific gesture with physical button, they can also trigger a emergency notice in the right affordance level while device screen is no longer reliable.

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A Visual Journey

Showing the total flight hours with a journey break down help flight attendants to estimate and glance their working schedule, also the device would record all the actions they take in the section so they don’t they need to remember every detail for the flight report after landing.

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The Results

Based on the demonstration, we cannot see an huge percentage of improvement for the flight journey as it’s only a simulation. However there are obvious reductions on the following points to prove our hypothesis was true.

37% Faster

Tasks speed improved

There are tasks for flight attendants to complete with the prototype. They finished the task 37% faster compared to their original system.

2 Mistakes

Errors reduced

We cannot use this number as reference because it is only a demonstration. However based on the new functions, we capture only 2 mistakes for all tasks from flight attendants. That is a huge improvement specially in generate flight reports section.

What’s Next

We would like to know how the design work in real situation but it is impossible to test it in one of their existing flight journey as it is too risky. Therefore, cabin consultant team suggest us to do another Internal simulation with a shadowing, so we can evaluate the design based on,

If there are any technical issue in the cabin, which would affect the product performance.
If those functions work effectively in different scale of the flight, we might need to simplify it based on short flight hours, and smaller cabin with less flight attendant groups.
If there are any unseen error from the demonstration, which is out of the tasks and hidden in the flight journey.

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