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Alaska Airlines Roomie Mobile App

Alaska Airlines Roomie Mobile App

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Overview

One of Alaska Airlines' enterprise dev manager approached me asking if I would be willing to help build out a proof of concept for an upcoming developer hackathon he was setting up. The basic concept was to build out a cross-platform mobile app that would allow users to quickly find and book an open meeting room at that specific time. I proposed that doing some user research to verify and validate this concept and to help us prioritize what data and features would be useful to end users.

Results

A productive and fun hackathon, which resulted in putting together a team to build out the proposed app. 

The app was pushed to production to all internal Alaska, Horizon, and Virgin America employees, who were pleased with the new found simplicity and ease in finding and booking meeting rooms.

Role

Research, UX/UI design, User testing


The research began with a short brainstorming session with the dev manager to get a better understanding of his vision of what he wanted to get out of the hackathon, as well as explore other potential solutions to the problem he was aiming to solve. 

The next step was to gather some contextual data from who would eventually be the end users of this solution. I created a interview script for of questions for myself to help keep the conversations focused on finding the answers we needed to move forward. I paired the interviews with a card sorting exercise to determine what people’s priorities are when it comes to meeting room amenities.

After gathering this feedback and data from users I was able to build out an initial information architecture and flow of the mobile app. With the goal to keep the interface and data simple and easily digestible at each screen, I began sketching out possibilities of how the pertinent data could be displayed at each screen. And, then, putting the pieces together into more complete sketched wireframe.

As a starting point for building out the UI, I utilized a UI kit I had put together specifically for enterprise mobile applications. The original purpose of the UI kit was to have some common design guidelines laid out and ready to share with other teams throughout the ITS group at Alaska that had, more often than not, very little or no design resources. 

Again, after gathering feedback on the sketches from users I started applying the visual elements to the refined design digitally. I put together annotated designs, along with specs and assets, in a downloadable packet that was then used by developers in the hackathon. Throughout the day of the hackathon the participants referred to these designs as guidelines as they built out their prototypes.

With a lot of interest from many of the developers to continue working on this product after the hackathon, a team was put together to do just that. The partial builds from the hackathon from different teams were combined, pulling the best aspects from each. Using this as a testing prototype, we gathered more feedback from users and applied that to a more refined design.

Since this product was going to be available to all Alaska Airlines employee’s personal smart phones, and Android counterpart was also created. Following the same architecture and flow, I adjusted the design for the Android platform.

To help get the word out of the initial release, I created some in-office "ads" that were displayed around the building. After some quick and fun brainstorming we came up with an ideal using a picture of the enterprise dev manager who ran the hackathon. We then toned it back a bit for the final version.

The team received great feedback from users about how much easier it was to find and book meeting rooms using this app. Every so often, I have the pleasure of hear co-workers praise and mention of the app in passing as they are talking with others in the office.