There’s a tremendous breakdown in our flight travel experience that we don’t even realize — carrying our luggage. It's time consuming for waiting in the carousel and inflexible for your vocation because you always need to check-in at the hotel first, especially you are going in a family trip.
Some airlines provide baggage delivery service partnered with major carriers like UPS. However, to use these services, you need to manually input and schedule everything before head. And most importantly, they are expensive for the majority of travelers!
The price of this service is high because delivering the baggage is the only profit point! With its high price, the volume of requests can’t be scaled up as well. To break this dilemma, we have to make the business model more dynamic by introducing more players in the game.
An idea arrives after a brainstorming section: what if our baggage is not delivered by carrier, but instead, a Uber driver who would like to go to a similar destination? In this case, the baggage delivery will be an additional profit point for the Uber driver.
The next question was how the Uber driver would be willing to take the orders? After interviewing a couple of them, I found that as long as the system kept them busy, they didn't care if they were carrying people or baggage. Therefore, I decided that the system should still assign ride requests for the drivers depending on the destination of the baggage.
It takes four main steps to complete the whole journey: 1) confirming information before a request; 2) entering destination; 3) checking status; 4) Baggage delivered. While the first two steps require active action from the users, the last two serve more like a passive interaction.
With the blue print in mind, I started to think of possible concerns people might run into. Therefore, I conducted several interviews and contextual inquiries with travelers at the San Francisco International Airport.
There is one question that caught my eye: "Do I need to wait for the driver picking up my bag and then leave the airport? What if no one picks it up?"
In fact, none of the steps shown above need to be taken at the airport. So how do we communicate the credibility of the system?
To address the above question directly, the user needs to be informed that the driver matching is 100% guaranteed. However, only providing test is not enough. User testing shown that providing visual feedback will be more convincing.
Credibility should be conveyed in every stage especially when the baggage is on its way. From testings, I learnt that showing real-time location of the driver within the map will tell much more than listing the status update for the users.
Another aspect that contributes to the credibility is how the users should response to error. And the key is that we should give users the feeling that things are under controlled and they have action to take.
So far, we had addressed the problem of communication. But what about the experience using the app in the context of rushing to a meeting? How fast can it be to request the service? My goal is spending less time than requesting a Uber ride. To achieve this, I not only looked into the actual typing experience, but also how the app shows information.
Even though interaction design can help designers focus on providing a delightful experience, it can not address every aspect in the service. To make a successful service, it requires efforts from different aspects. Below are some ideas that might help:
This model can be a it’s a triple win situation. On one hand, Airlines allow Uber to access the passengers’ information in exchange of information accessing fee. On the other hand, Airport can charge management and transportation fee from Uber. Uber takes care of other business. This will potentially open the conversation between Uber and major airports.
Drivers who can deliver baggage have to pass a more strict background check. Or it should set an minimal bar for entering this service. Also, Uber can partner with insurance companies to eliminate possible loss of the customers and increase the confidence of potential customers.
To increase usage, Uber users could be informed to has a small discount if they are willing to share space with other’s baggage.