This post was written as an assignment for the DesignLab UX Academy. The assignment prompts students to reflect on a product that they use frequently, the design patterns used, and the task flows that they follow.
It’s not about the destination but about the journey, so they say. But in the context of preparing for a flight, the journey is hardly ever what this fantasied quote implies. When we book a flight, much of our time and efforts (and worries!) is spent on checking in and making it to the gate, and then possibly repeating if a flight connection is needed. No airline is perfect, however, I’d like to point out how the design of the United Airlines mobile app simplifies how I work my way from checking in for a flight to actually getting to the flight.
Task Flows Simplified
With push notifications, SMS and/or E-mails, the United App communicates the convenience of checking in, confirming travel documents and uploading any necessary paperwork needed for an upcoming trip. Through the app, the task flow is simple if you are logged in with your email or with your booking confirmation code. Below are task flows of how a passenger would typically check-in up 72 days prior to the flight and drop off their baggage, all by using the United App.
72 Hours Before Flight
The United App simplifies the task of printing out baggage tags and verifying details by having your booking confirmation accessible through a scannable QR code within the app.
Day of Flight at the Kiosk
Design Patterns Used
Air travel is complex, but the United App uses the following design patterns to address some issues that arise from bumps in the system.
Bottom navigation is an ideal spot on the screen to provide easy access to important booking information because it is an easy-to-reach thumb zone. For this reason, the United App keeps commonly used features like Flight Status or notifications through the Inbox at the bottom navigation. For anyone who has had to rush to a gate or check on a flight status while juggling baggage, this design pattern makes all the difference.
Cards and Carrousels
The United App is filled with information for users, thus does a great job tucking away content that is not necessary while keeping them accessible with thoughtfully designed cards.