Southwest Airlines is trying to improve their boarding process through a new mobile app. My goal was to examine the pain points in the current process, innovate and create a more efficient strategy, and test these ideas on potential users.
Currently, printed documents are provided by airlines when checking in for a flight. They are accessible by mobile app or browser on smartphones, as well. QR codes can also be emailed to passengers and can then be scanned by attendants. I found that more people use their smartphones because it’s easier to access, and one less thing to worry about when traveling.
Inexperienced fliers are prone to getting lost and not being prepared for each stage in the process. The objective of the redesign is to help non-frequent travelers successfully navigate through an airport by creating a mobile app that guides users through every step.
Through research and user interviews, I created an app that provides a personalized step-by-step experience for each traveler. The main feature is the checklist and progress bar, which shows which step you’re on and what to expect in the near future.
I found standard printed boarding passes run into accessibility problems, so I focused on making the content big and clear on the screens so there aren’t any readability issues.
Airport kiosks help users print their boarding pass if they prefer a physical ticket. These screens follow clear, user-friendly instructions to assist the passenger obtain their pass.
While waiting in line, you can view what to expect once its your turn, which will ultimately reduce stress in nervous fliers. Step 3 helps the user navigate to their gate, shows the passenger where they are in the airport and gives directions on how to get to their gate.
Other features help ease the boarding and baggage claim process, which I found are high-stress moments in the overall flying process.
Through user testing the app, I found what things were working and others that weren’t. The progress bar was a popular feature. The user liked being able to see what step they’re on, what’s next, and how many are left. The user also liked the detailed steps outlining what to expect when it’s your turn. Overall, the user liked the look and feel of the experience.
I found from user interviews that people with anxiety don’t like asking people for help in airports. They get nervous and would rather figure it out themselves. I asked if a live chat feature where you could speak to an airline representative over text message would help that. They liked the idea and said it would be helpful.
Lastly, I integrated a feature for viewing your personal health records from within the app. You would be able to upload your health records to view everything in one convenient spot.
Overall, my solution has several benefits: It reduces stress levels in travelers by preparing them with everything they need beforehand. It also gives them a step-by-step guide showing them where they are in the process. They are able to chat with an airline representative and ask questions, as well as view their health records all in one place. Airports are already a stressful place. A more user-friendly, personalized boarding pass will give travelers a greater peace of mind and make flying a more enjoyable experience.