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One Aviation

A collaborative aviation platform for decarbonization

(12 mins read)

Overview

Timeline

Client

My contribution

Team members & role

Jan. 2022 - Mar. 2022 (10 weeks)

SMBC Aviation Capital

Our team is diverse, with backgrounds in business development, engineering, and research. As the lead UI/UX designer, I take primary responsibility for conducting user interviews, performing insight analysis, and developing UI screens from scratch, including wire-framing, high-fidelity design, and interactive prototyping for user feedback.

Eve Suen (Lead UI/UX designer, design strategist)

Sebastian Munoz, Miral Patel, Shunichiro Tago (Product Manager, Business analyst)

Aditya Rao (UI/UX designer)

Arianna Tamaddon (Design Researcher)

Who's SMBC Aviation Capital?

Fast Fact #1

  • SMBC Aviation Capital is one of the world's largest aircraft leasing companies.

  • They focus on leasing young, in-demand commercial jet aircraft to airlines.

Fast Fact #2

  • They have a diverse client base that includes both traditional carriers and startup airlines.

  • With more than 150 airline customers in over 50 countries.

Problem (Strategy Landscape)

As a airplane lessor, they wants to remain successful and prosperous while also leading the way in reducing carbon emissions in the aviation industry.

 

However, this is often difficulties because:

1 Partnership Flaws

SMBC AC recognizes that their current business partnership model with airlines falls short of meeting their needs and goals.

2 Collective Inaction

Addressing carbon emissions in aviation requires collaboration across the industry, including airlines, aircraft manufacturers, airports, and regulatory bodies. However but none of them are taking the lead.

3 Cost Barriers

Sustainability initiatives often require upfront investment therefore finding ways to make sustainable solutions economically viable, particularly in an industry as cost-sensitive as aviation, can be challenging.

Leading to our action in design

Design Goal

SMBC AC wants us to create a digital solution to address the strategic difficulties in achieving their business goal. This solution will start with empowering their customers to make data-driven decisions for a more sustainable future in aviation.

Challenge Statement

How can SMBC Aviation Capital provide their customers (airlines) with a better experience in selecting more sustainable fleet options?

Solution

Our solution is “One Aviation”: a platform that allows airlines to visualize and understand their leasing contracts with SMBC AC. It provides data visualization for fleet status, and the environmental emissions associated with the current leasing plan. Ultimately, it also serves as a platform for collaboration and connection with other organizations in the industry.

1 Dashboard: A tool of airline fleet data visualization

Displays key information and metrics about the airline's fleet. It is a tool that helping airlines to keep track of and making data-driven decisions.

2 Environmental Insight: a “Bloomberg of Sustainability”

One Aviation creates a comprehensive source of information (like Bloomberg is for finance) that focuses on sustainability. It would provide data and analysis on environmental issues, enabling businesses to make more informed decisions about sustainability.

3 Task Manager: A shared plan that facilitates communication

"Task Manager" helps to form a shared plan that includes set milestones. It is a tool or platform used to enhance communication within a team or organization by providing clear visibility of tasks, their progress, and the overall project timeline.

4 SMBC AC Green Hub: A virtual space that connects the industry and its stakeholders

The SMBC AC Green Hub facilitates communication and collaboration between different parties in a particular industry, including companies, investors, regulators, and other stakeholders.

Scroll to view design process

Design Process

Empathize

  • Secondary research

  • Interviews

Define

  • Affinity Mapping

  • Personas

Ideate

  • Brainstorming

  • Wireframes

  • Information architecture

Prototype

  • ​User Feedback

  • Hi-fi Design

  • Interactive Prototype

Evaluate

  • Usability Testing

  • Design Iterations

Empathize

Secondary Research

Our research spanned electric and hydrogen aircraft, sustainable aviation fuels, competitor strategies, and the industry's current limitations. We also drew inspiration from parallel industries such as automotive and energy, as they face similar challenges reacting to decarbonization regulations.

60hr+

Desk Research

8

Competitor Analysis

50+

Sources reviewed

Industry
cross-referencing

From automotive

to energy sectors

Interviews

We spoke to airlines in North America, Asia, and Latin America, given that the major share of SMBC’s revenue comes from these regions. We gathered feedback from the airlines about their experiences working with lessors and identified their pain points.  Our list of interviewees consisted of fleet managers, financial controllers, sustainability managers, CEOs, chairmen, and sustainability experts.

15

Interview sessions

Diverse

Stakeholders engagament

Pain points

Identification

Rounds

of client's feedback gathering

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Interview Highlights

"We are often unclear on the qualitative impact of decarbonization goals, which makes it difficult to align our strategies effectively."

Strategic Fleet Manager, SKY airline

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"There's a noticeable lack of recommendations and proactive guidance from lessors on how to achieve our sustainability targets."

Strategic Fleet Manager, SKY airline

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"We are under constant pressure from board members to cut costs, yet the lessors haven't shown flexibility or a willingness to collaborate on finding cost-effective sustainable solutions."

Finance Controller, SKY airline

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"The rigidity of the lessors in terms of contract negotiations and sustainable fleet options is a major hurdle for us."

Finance Controller, AVIANCA-TACA AIRLINES

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"As a Sustainability Officer, I'm not part of the decision-making process, which limits our ability to integrate sustainability into our core strategies."

Sustainability Manager, SKY airline

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"There's no universal platform that allows us to collaborate with other companies, making it challenging to share best practices and innovations in sustainability."

Sustainability Officer, CLIMATE FOCUS

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Persona

Base on previous research, we wanted to truely empathize with the different stakeholders. We crafted three stakeholder personas from the Strategy, Finance, and Sustainability sectors.

Ideate

Insights

Based on the all our research, we came out of key insights to further ideate out UX functionalities.

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We have to address the needs of 3 major end-users:

  • Strategic Fleet Managers, Finance Controllers, and Sustainability Officers.

  • Each of these roles has unique requirements and challenges when it comes to sustainable fleet management and decision-making.

Insights for Fleet Managers

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Strategic Fleet Managers need clarity on the quantitative impacts of decarbonization goals.

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Fleet managers feel they are not receiving enough recommendations from lessors.

Insights for Finance Controller

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Finance Controllers face pressure to cut costs and find lessors inflexible.

Insights for Sustainability Officer

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Sustainability Officers are not part of the decision-making process when they're responsible to sustainability goal.

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They need a platform for industry collaboration.

Brainstorming

Then, 6 of us in a team gather together to brainstorm solutions. Everyone came up with as many ideas as possible without considering if it would really work out at this stage.

to provide input and for tracking the impact of decisions on sustainability goals.

Projections on decarbonization efforts

Features for

Generic Overall

Dashboard with clear fleet data & metrics

Ensure that sustainability metrics are integrated into all core decision-making.

Provide insights into the latest sustainable technologies and practices, and how they can be implemented.

Visualizations that show the environmental impact of fleet options

Features for

Fleet Managers

Data of how customer is aligning with industry standards/ goals

Features for

Finance Controller

Features for

Sustainability Officer

Need a collaborative platform where all stakeholders participate in decision-making.

Should enable sharing of sustainability goals, progress tracking across companies.

AI-driven recommendations to suggest sustainable and cost-effective fleet options

Feature for flexible payment options in sustainable choices

Allow to model different leasing scenarios, including analyses of various sustainable options.

(Summary Visualization of the Brainstorming Process)

Eventually, we settled on the following core functionalities:

1

Dashboard (Fleet overview)

Integrate various data sources from airlines, airports, air traffic control, weather services, and other stakeholders, ensuring a clean interface for airlines to know their current status of fleet leasing.

2

Environmental Insight

Incorporate sustainability metrics and enable airlines to monitor and optimize their environmental impact, such as fuel consumption, emissions, and noise levels. 

3

Task Manager

Help airlines optimize flight planning, aircraft routing, crew scheduling, and maintenance operations (for operational efficiency)

4

Green Hub

facilitate collaborative decision-making among airlines, airports, air traffic control, and other stakeholders

Sketches & wireframes

To align everybody on the same page, I drew out sketches of the functions we settled on:

Following that, we created wireframes and brought it to stakeholders seeking for feedbacks.

User feedback & revised design goals

While the proposed solution covers several important aspects of an aviation platform, there are a few areas that may need further improvement:

Feedback 1

"Dashboard data Integration seems to be complex."

The dashboard might have difficulties in combining data into a single, potentially making it difficult for users to interact with the system or application.

Solution

Customizable Dashboards and Visualizations

  • Streamlined Data Entry and Integration

  • Intuitive and User-Friendly Interface

Feedback 2

"One-Size-Fits-All approach may cause info overload."

A system that does not cater to individual preferences, but instead treats all users identically. An excessive amount of information may be provided, making it difficult for the user to process and understand.

Solution

Personalized and Context-Aware Experiences

  • Role-Based Access and Permissions

  • Context-Aware Recommendations and Alerts

Refined Design Goals & Features

We refined our main feature list and information architecture to implement to the goals we hope to achieve:

Dashboard

  • ​Snap shot of sustainability data

  • Numbers of fleets in use

  • Upcoming tasks
    Industry & Trend News

Environmental Insight

  • Key sources of environmental data
    Sustainable leasing plan simulation

Task Manager

  • Shared agenda with defined milestone

Green Hub

  • Host C-level events on industry trends

  • Strat a green fund by connect airlines

Mid-Fidelity Design - Iteration 1

Login

Task Manager

Dashboard

Environmental Insight

Green Hub

Evaluation & iterations

User testing process

1

Setting goal of the user testing section

To assess the effectiveness in enabling airlines to visualize and understand their leasing contracts, thereby facilitate informed decision-making regarding sustainable options, stakeholder alignment, and industry collaboration.

2

Reaching out target users

We the help from the design challenge organizer, we have tested with:

  • 3 sustainability manager from SKY, LATAM

  • 3 fleet manager from SKY, LATAM

  • 3 finance manager from Air Canada

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3

Moderate user feedback session and note down all their feedbacks

  1. Introduce project goal & intension, put users at ease

  2. Describe the scenario, set up the context

  3. Let user use the app and provide feedback while using

  4. Ask follow-up question and note it down

4

Fill out a short questionnaire and thank them

Wrap up the session by filling in a short questionnaire with only multiple-choice questions. Follow this with a thank you to wrap it up.

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Short Questionnaire for measuring success

We designed a short questionnaire to measure the success of the design quantitatively - as the ending step of the user tesing. The question of the questionnaire are developed by breaking down the overall goals we set in mind as below:

Results

Feedback by feature

Feedback & design iterations

Login

Iteration 1

Iteration 2

Dashboard

Iteration 1

Iteration 2

Environmental Insight

Green Hub

Iteration 1

Iteration 2

Task Manager

Iteration 1

Iteration 2

Green Hub

Iteration 1

Iteration 2

Design Principle

Rollout Plan

Finally, we have mapped out the rollout plan over next 18 months. 

Future Steps

To continue progressing, the One Aviation platform can stay ahead of the curve, providing a more personalized, accessible, immersive, and user-centric experience that meets the evolving needs of the aviation industry.

Challenge

How can we provide more personalized experience base on individual user roles, preferences, and behavior patterns?

Towards solutions

Identify the different user roles within the platform

(e.g., sustainability manager, finance manager, sustainability manager, etc.).

Determine the critical alerts and notifications relevant to each role based on their responsibilities and information needs.

Applied examples

Sustainability Manager may receive alerts about alerts on regulatory updates, policy changes, or new sustainability reporting requirements that may impact the organization's operations or compliance

Finance Manager may receive alerts on changes in carbon pricing mechanisms, taxes, or incentives that could impact the organization's sustainability investments or financial planning.

To further enhance the functionality and user experience of our platform, we will embark on a deeper exploration. This will involve a comprehensive research effort focusing on the specific roles of our platform users, their distinct habits and patterns of using the platform, and the limitations or gaps in their current platforms.

Result & Team Intro Video

Our team Gyro represented Parsons School of Design and won 3rd place among over 30 shortlisted entries from 15 universities across North America and Europe.

Team Introduction Video

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