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Posts Tagged with “UI”

Idea: Flight Status Update, Auto-SMS

The Problem

Last Sunday I took a flight from Brisbane to Melbourne with 3 friends. After we took off (and after I had turned my phone off), the pilot announced that due to wind conditions, the flight would be arriving 25 mins early at 12:50pm.

Normally this would be good news, however we had organised a car to pick us up at 1:45pm (allowing for a 1:15pm arrival and collecting our luggage). Because we were unable to use our phones during flight, we were unable to send a message to the person picking us up to let them know we were going to be early.

The result was that we ended up waiting at Melbourne airport for about 40mins.


The Solution?

As we landed, I thought a simple fix to this problem could be to add auto-sms update system. As you check in or book your flight, the customer is asked if there is someone picking you up at the other end who could benefit from know if the flight is early, on time or delayed.


Flight tracking apps already provide people with arrival time information, but they require the person picking you up to be proactive or have the app installed etc. An SMS (or I suppose email) is a very cheap and efficient way to keep everyone informed. Like any good relationship, communication is they key. The value to the person flying and the person picking you up is potentially very high.



Photo 24-09-2014 11 32 34 am

The Opportunity

A quick scan of the ‘Domestic airline on time performance’ stats for August 2014 (which is put out by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development in Australia), shows that:

  • 82.4% of flights departed on time
  • 83% of flights arrived on time
  • 1.8% of all flights were cancelled
  • Virgin Australia had the highest percentage of cancellations with  3.4%
  • Qantas had 1.1% cancellation rate
  • The Melbourne – Sydney route had the highest cancellation percentage 4.9%


Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 12.16.07 pm

Here are the definitions for on time departures and arrivals:

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 12.19.36 pm

It seems fair to say that there are not a huge amount of flights that are arriving early or late or being cancelled, but there are certainly some and for the cost and complexity to build this, it could be worth the investment.

Why this may not get built

This idea is likely 5-10 years too late. It also could exists (does it?). A number of flights in America now offer in flight WiFI which makes this service redundant. Although in flight WiFi typically has to be purchased, which could mean this idea has some legs left in it.

Post 42: Examples in the wild, Wilson Miner

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 2.04.09 pm

Browsing around today I found product designer, Wilson Miner’s personal site. Elements are very similar to the interface we’ve been working on.

At it’s simplest, there is a photo, a coloured background and some text. Some of the words in the text are links to projects or work or companies.

In a way, Wilson has chosen to tell his professional story in a similar way to how we are thinking others could tell their own story with our product.

CD_MVP_V6_Wilson_Text2Wilson had a lot more text that they 200 characters that are in the other examples so I put this quick scrolling mockup together to get a feel for the experience you could have if we allowed the text to scroll over the top.


Post 36: Learning From Launching

We’ve been working on an idea for an application that could help people tell their professional stories on mobiles devices in a more human and engaging way.

We actually launched the app a bit over a week ago, but we’ve been too busy testing and reporting bugs to do a blog post.

Our attitude to this product has been one of ‘launch and let customers tell us how they want to use the app.’

Today we have enough people signed up to start seeing some ways we might be able to improve the product.



The image on above to the left shows how the app currently looks. One of the requirements when you create an account is to list your ‘Position‘ and ‘Employer‘.

Our assumption was that our target market would have trouble with this because a lot of them are involved in multiple projects or work/freelance for themselves. We think we’re right about that assumption.

Today there are 30 accounts on that app, 12 of which look like Anna’s above. Notice how her position is ‘Designer’ at ‘Freelance…’. Then she mentions that she is a freelance designer again in her bio.

It’s messy and confusing.

Our of aims with the product is to make finding people, and learning about their professional lives a more human experience.

So I proposed the solution you see in the right image. We remove the requirement to have a ‘Position‘ at an ‘Employer‘ and let you just write your bio mentioning your position and employer if you have one. This will only work if we can build the app to recognise names of employers and job titles and then record them as tags allowing people to search for ‘all freelance designers’.

In the mock-up I’ve marked the tagged items with an underline.

We think that version give people a nicer more fluid reading experience.

Just before I save the image above, I put a line of text under the availability indicator giving more context to the sign. The more I look at it the more I like it.

And greetings from NYC. First time in The States. Here for another week and then off to SF to get some more critical feedback on the product. Follow along on Instagram.


Post 35: Build Video


Post 32: Design Update

We’re exploring a product idea that helps you tell your professional story and/or communicating your professional value on mobile devices. For a designer, this might include links to your work on services like Behance, Dribbble & The Loop, your Instagram account and work history etc. Obviously everyones value and story differs greatly.

3 months ago, the idea was that everyone’s story would be like a deck of cards with a ‘face card’ showing an overview of your profile and then you’d have a card for each job, or service you used etc. Something like this mockup.


Over the weekend I sat down to take a closer look at how we might design the product to give people the best browsing experience when looking through a collection of peoples stories.

The solution I came up with is below.

You would swipe left or right on your phone to change profiles and up and down to go deeper into their story.

The ‘card’ UI element has been semi-replaced by a ’tile’ type element, similar to Pinterest.

So far the feedback has been strongly in favour of this design, although there is a lot more testing to do.

We like the idea that a customer can drag tiles around to create their own hierarchy. We also like the idea that we can partner with services like Youtube or Behance or GitHub to create custom tiles that people can add to their profile.

We are hoping to get some version of this design into the build we launch with (end of May , 2014).




Post 16: Who buy’s your shit?

Defining Customer Profiles

Who are your customers? Knowing who your customers are and understanding the problems they have intimately is an important part of any business.

While exploring my new product idea, the customer(s) have been very roughly defined in my head, so this week I took some time to try and define, categorise and understand them better.


It can be difficult to find the natural categories that customers fit into. The process that I find most useful is spending 30min going through my Twitter and Facebook feeds and saving the profile pictures of anyone who I think could benefit from the product (I aim for 50-100).

Photo 5-03-2014 10 12 40 am

These get printed off on A4 paper, laminated and roughly cut out. Then it’s just a matter of moving faces and logos around on a table into defined groups until you find a natural fit.

I find the process very valuable because it can provide some much needed structure in the early product development phases, as well as giving you some indication of the type of people and companies and their behaviours and motivations which can inform early product feature decisions.


On my second attempt at rearranging the profile pictures, I landed on 4 mains categories of customers and I was able to represent them on a 4×4 quadrant diagram (above).

The 4 categories are:

  1. Service providers not buyers (individuals)
  2. Service providers and buyers (individuals & business)
  3. Service buyers not providers (individual & business)
  4. Neither buyers or providers of services (individual & business)

With some structure around the customers, it’s now easier to list out common attributes that each group has, as well as the pain points specific to each group. This information allows us to narrow in on features that will hopefully solve these problems.

After showing this to Tony (@adeperio) we’ve decided to build an minimal viable product (MVP) that focuses on solving 1 or 2 problems for the customers on the right hand side of the quadrant.

We’re hopping to have it live in 1 – 2 weeks.

(This is the 16th post in a series as I explore some digital product ideas for 30 days. All my work is being published here on my blog. Click here to read the other posts, scroll down.)