WHAT IS SPRINGSHOT?
To help explain what we do and who we serve, think about a time you took a flight. Maybe you’ll be flying somewhere for vacation in a couple of weeks. As you embark on that journey, you’re being aided every step of the way in ways you might not even think about. Your bags are checked through to the proper gate, loaded and scanned by baggage agents. You are greeted at the ticketing counter and gate by agents, and these services are audited by the airline to maintain quality control. Your plane has been cleaned, fueled, and catered to ensure a good experience. Ramp agents make sure the plane is safely taxied in and out of the gate. If you require a wheelchair, a porter helps bring you to and from each destination.
Springshot is a holistic operations platform across both web and mobile designed to bring operations into the digital age and improve workforce productivity, we have a primary focus on the airline industry. Springshot sets itself apart from other work optimization platforms by offering a product that infuses with compassion and respect for foundational workforce. Springshot gives this group of workers a better way to communicate, collaborate and feel appreciated.
When it comes to the Springshot mobile app, these are our primary users: the agents who cater, clean, handle baggage, audits and more. The main function of the mobile app is enable workers to receive and perform missions efficiently while providing real time location tracking and performance insights to managers.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Until Springshot, the airport service industry technology stuck in 1980s. These agents were performing their jobs with minimal information, provided in ancient ways. Agents would visit a central hub to print their next few assignments - what we call “missions.” They’d take that piece of paper and head to the gate to perform those missions. But if the flight they were servicing switched gates, or was delayed, they would often find themselves stuck on the tarmac, unaware of what was happening, unless a call came down from the tower with the update. The only way to get a new assignment was to return to the main office, print a new document, and start the process again. This result in extra labor-related costs, very inefficient workflow and extra service failures and defects. In the US alone, over 25 million workers perform repetitive physical tasks in dispersed work environments. While the world is caring for machine learning, AI, self-driving car, who is caring those vulnerable people who are surrounded by the technology beast?
People communicate via Walkie-Talkie
Task recorded via pen & paper
Work assigned via whiteboard & mark pen
hIGH LEVEL PROBLEM
Springshot simplifies that by serving as the central hub for all mission-related information, provided to both workers on the ground and dispatchers in the tower. We import flight feeds directly from each airline we work with, and display that information in both the mobile app and web dispatch platform. Assignments are then made through our platform, and processed to our users on the ground in real time.
However, our previous mobile app’s outdated UX and design was difficult for many of these users to adopt, especially workers who may not own or be familiar with smartphones. It included too much information, making it difficult for users to parse and identify the key details. And the workflow itself was over-complicated, requiring too many actions to complete a mission. We can imagine as company grow and serve for more airlines, there are more new features and information need to be added, the previous structure is certainly impossible to satisfy users’ needs. Besides, the outdated design looked unreliable and had performance issues , this became a barrier for Springshot to acquire new user.
Below are some old design
I like to think of the product hierarchy as follows: above all, a product must be useful. If it’s useful, it then needs to be usable, and once it fulfills both of those, it can be made beautiful. Our previous app was useful in ways - it provided information that had been burdensome for the user to access - but it was difficult to use, and certainly not beautiful.
This led to what I do and our high level goals :
Powerful - Optimize the mission workflow leveraging Springshot's intelligence and technology.
Helpful - Create a seamless user experience and hugely improve productivity for users.
Beautiful - Design a stylish mobile app to improve the company impact and image.
Meaningful - Enhance individual wellbeing and sense of purpose.
I led the UX and visual redesign of mobile workflow from February 2017 and collaborated with 1 another designer on delivering all the design results. In addition, I worked with our CEO, 2 Product Managers, a researcher from customer success team to brainstorm and iterate solutions.
I submit this project in to UX AWARDS in 2017, worked with our product manager Brian to write the case study, make presentation and video, and we won a “Honorable Mention Award” for “Best Interaction Design for Team Collaboration“
We always begin with a kickoff meeting to align the team around our vision. Our CEO gave us background and the vision. We identified the answers to the most important questions whenever designing a new product - for example, who are the users, and what are their pain points? What problem are we trying to solve? What benefits this change could bring to users and business goal? What timeline looks like for this project? What platform this new app will be built on?
In this case, we wanted to improve the app user experience for blue collar workers on the ground who keep the airport functioning and improve operational efficiency with greater speed and reliability. Also, we decided early to build our app using React Native, which let us unify our android and iOS apps under the same design.
2. User Research
Then, we moved to user research, I travelled to SFO with our product manager and a custom success team member who doing the on-site training and transform job at there. We tried to follow our users through a typical workday, watched them use our previous app. And then we had the chance to talk with 2 cabin cleaners and 1 manager there. We asked questions like what motivates them in their jobs, as well as what drives them crazy, how do they feel about Springshot app, do they think it’s helping them etc… We also have our other team members worked in ATL and OGG to follow users daily work and gave us report.
In addition, we hired a video producer to film our users in OGG and Costa Rice to understand our users and do some business advertising work. I watched those videos over and over trying to understand their thoughts, life and needs.
These are our real users, I synthesis what they said in the video and made some hypotheses for their needs based on who they are and what they are doing:
Role: Plane Service Staff work for US Aviation at OGG
About Him: 40+ father, single parent of a son.
Location: Live in Maui with his families.
“ The good thing about them being a mess is as long as they are messy, we have the job. We are the ones who get on the plane to make sure all the seats are looking the same, all the seat belts are folded nice and crisp, we fill the plane with water and we dump the waste.”
• See all the assignments on his shift
• Get notice if flight delayed, gate changed or anything important related to work
• Report a problem if something bad happen
Role: Station Manager at OGG
About Him: 50+, manage 69 employees in his team
Location: Live in Maui
“ A good day is the planes actually land as they appear on the schedule that we have, I got no equipment issues, that's a good day! I don’t remember the last time I had one of those days.”
• Know all flights assigned to his team and those flights’ schedule.
• Manage his team members, track each worker’s progress, know what tasks they are doing and where they are.
• Make adjustment for his team members’ assignments. contact with any employee regarding to a task or issue.
Role: Hotel Room Cleaner at Hotel El Mangroove in Costa Rica
About Her: 20+
Location: Costa Rica
“ For me all of the spaces are important, but the rooms are sacred, it's as if it is a room in your home. when I leave the room, and I review everything, I know that every detail is well done, and to know the guests know it too.”
• Get notified when guests check in and check out
• Know how much time she gets to clean a room
• Know when she needs to start clean the next room
3. Identify Problems of Previous App
We went over the research results, playing and testing with our previous app, and make some hypotheses for users’ needs, I summarized the problems that the previous app has as below:
The workflow is complicated and require at least 4 clicks to start a mission!
The information displayed on the mission list is overwhelmed and not helpful!
Users want to see more detailed information before starting a mission (some of users work in multi-people team mentioned they want to see who they work with, what tasks they are performing before mission starts)
Users want more flexibility when they performing the mission ( for multi-people team, they mentioned they wanted to start mission without waiting for other team members, they want to perform mission in any order.
They complained they can’t find where to report an issue and communicate with manager in tower.
The collaboration function is missing even though we emphasize on that!
4. Get start on Design
So we had insights into our users, now where to start? This is a huge and complex project, we need to make priority plan.
First, the design principle was:
Focus on creating a clear hierarchy and embrace minimalism.
We’ve focused on minimalism so that this design can be extended and modified easily according to customer needs. Then evaluated our engineers workload on their hands at that time and estimate the time we had before we need to deliver the change, we make the plan to designing core components and followed by all other secondary functions.
Tons of Iterations Over Time
Mission List is the first screen users will see after login. It shows all the missions that users have been assigned.
Users can also search the upcoming flights to create missions for themselves.
This shows all info about a mission. As we grow our product, there’re la lot of changes around it.
Performing Mission - Cabin Cleaning
Springshot is trying to cover different mission types, the design is different based on company, mission type. This is an example of cabin cleaning.
Missions are consist of tasks. As a highly requested functions, we were trying hard to design a reasonable place for task lists and give users the option to start tasks in any order.
Performing Mission - Audits
A very different design for mission screen is audits and observations. They are like questionnaires with a bunch of other options.
This is where users can find all other things they may need for a mission. Like details, maintenance request, lost & found, mission notes etc.