Having done VR work for British Airways in the past, the client came to us with a request to create an immersive AR mobile app that brought to life their newly revamped mascots for younger flyers between the ages of 2-12. I led the team at Neutral from the initial discovery through to development with a vision to change up the young flyers segment of the market.
My Role in this project:
- Product Lead (Strategy & Design)
The Proof Of Concept
Initial AR Proposal
We believe that, having an app that is both informative and playful throughout the flying experience, For the entire family, Will achieve greater customer satisfaction which in turn will increase repeat family bookings, and an increase in younger customer engagement.
Getting Our Answers
We didn’t know a lot about children when kicking off the project, and neither did the client; My first initial response was to see what’s out there for kids, talk to parents and children to understand characteristics, habits, and interests.
We also needed to understand the context of which the app was mainly going to be used, so we spent a lot of time at Heathrow Terminal 5 to understand passengers’ pain points and experiences while traveling.
Methods used to gather insights:
- Parent & child interviews
- Airport Observation
- Parent Survey
- Market/Competitor Research
We learnt a lot about kids to design for them
*We have a purple goldfish*
Most apps kids play with have an education element tied together with their natural urge of creativity and curiosity, which doubles on parents’ desires.
Kids often like to mimic real-world activities such as role-playing, creating/building, and decision-making. They love to be the ‘know-it-all’ and have a sense of empowerment.
Kids are exceptionally digitally mature in this generation; they will often use their own iPads to look back at old memories, make new ones, ask google questions via voice and find things they’re interested in discovering.
Kids are driven by a sense of achievement and tend not to continue with activities if they feel like they are not achieving and progressing in an expected manner.
Parents express frustration that during short flights, there is nothing for the kids to do and feel the added pressure of making sure they will be entertained.
Parents find it challenging to relax prior to boarding and during flight as they feel like they have to keep the kids occupied and not disturb other travelers.
Kids have JTB too!
Kids, just like adults, have ‘Jobs to be done’ when they use products when traveling. These jobs consisted of keeping themselves entertained, learning new things, creating and storing memories etc…
Around these jobs, we created gain creators that help form the Skyflyers application, such as:
- Digital travel packs for all flights (including short-haul)
- Creatively led educational AR games
- Airport adventure quest
- Digital story books to teach kids about global topics
- Digital colouring packs
- Exchangeable in-flight currency to buy sweets, toys, etc.
- Travel logbook to store memories and collect stamps (physical copies to buy too!)
- AI travel buddy to answer questions, teach about flying and reassure them during times like turbulence & take-off…
How does it all fit together?
We Tested Many Prototype Variations With Users
*Intuitive & Adaptable *
Once we had a user flow, we were able to start testing flows with users in our target audience to ensure we had a strong & scaleable foundation to base our app.
From our testing, we learned that the initial onboarding experience was too long and we had to find alternative experiences to shorten it.
We also found that children needed more affordances to be able to figure out what they should do, to which we allowed the character to handhold them through spoken dialogue.
Enjoyment is the value
Letting our imagination run with games
I ran a workshop with the client to concept AR focused games that were driven with the insights we had gathered. We came up with loads of ideas in an initial crazy eight-session, which we cut out and themed (as we had a lot of similar ideas) and spent a day paper prototyping them to conceive a game structure for 3 MVP games.
- AR Airport Builder
- AR Draw and fly
- AR Gate treasure quest
- AR Destination drawing & colouring
- 2D Pack my bag challenge
Concepts illustrated by Vivian Truong
Molding Guidelines To Appeal To Newly Targeted Young Flyers
*the celebration of transparency*
British Airways had a robust design language in place but had it was very much designed for their adult customers. We took their guidelines and molded that look and feel to make it appropriate for their younger flyers.
We came up with the phrase – “the celebration of transparency” (credits to Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu here) as a motto during our design phase, which we found fitting for this AR project.
Another challenge we had was the accessibility with AR; As opposed to traditional screen design, we had to design for the user to move the camera over anything and still have vital interactive elements to be accessible.
The product roadmap
Our initial AR project was scoped out as a more significant staple digital product apart of British Airway’s flying experience, and with that came a plan on how to achieve that ‘north star’ vision. The development of the app did slow down due to Coronavirus. 🙁
For the Beta & MVP launch, we intend on giving user journals to the staff at BA who are traveling with their families so they can record the entire experience during a real holiday.
What was achieved…
We had a close relationship with the client for the duration of the project, which led us to successfully doing a large amount of work in a short amount of time. It was a lot of fun working with 3D artists, conceptual sketches, and game developers to bring this vision to life.