Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, was the largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927 until its cease of operations in 1991. Pan Am grew to become a major company, credited with many innovations that shaped the international airline industry and a cultural icon of the 20th century.
Called ‘the Ritz-Carlton of Airlines’, Pan Am represents a bygone era, when the passenger experience was cut above the rest. Pan Am made jet travel accessible to a much wider audience, but it kept a premium image by associating itself with an international class of dignified pleasure seekers. It represented the sense of cool and glamour and has been known for setting the standard in aviation.
In the wake of the airline industry’s penny-pinching mentality, culminating with a “cattle car-in-the-sky” model of flight, there is an opportunity to revolutionize the flying experience. I was tasked with creating a solution to develop a flying experience unique to its competition, one that is sorely needed.
By revitalizing a historic airline for the modern world, we can bring in a new era, one that provides the premium experience of old in a time that needs it most. With Pan Am’s iconic history and established brand identity there is an opportunity to restore nostalgic features to the flying experience, such as ample leg room and quality service. By creating a personalized dashboard that gives the passenger unique information and reminders about their flight, we can give a premier user experience. The promise of the Pan Am brand is a promise of an elevated, thought through experience.
I am following a user-centered approach, allowing myself to be guided by user
research and frequently iterating on each step according to newly accumulated data.
I happened to be flying around the time that I started this project, so I was able to gain valuable insight from actual passengers and my own experience. I interviewed many of my aviatic companions at the time along with other participants who fit the profile. I consistently found a lot of room for improvement in the market. Everyone had something negative to say about their flying experiences and the current airline industry. After conducting these interviews I had a better understanding of my target market and insight into their mindset. I also learned what they need and want in order to be satisfied customers.
After creating personas and an empathy map I was able to really empathize with the users. I decided on two main personas: the business flyer and the leisure traveler. The key insight I gathered was that passengers want to feel like they received a service worth what they paid, rather than be treated like the airline doesn’t owe them anything. I created customer journey maps for both personas to see how to make the flying process more in line with what the passengers have in mind.
The user needs a comfortable and enjoyable way to fly because they expect and deserve a good experience when they pay so much money for this service.
I created a UX strategy blueprint to focus my research and direct the project forward. I created a product roadmap of necessary features and decided to package them into a dashboard as well as a new Pan Am landing page.
I then created a site map for Pan Am. I decided to build out the landing page and dashboard, and worked under the assumption that an existing in-house infrastructure for searching and booking flights already exists.
I then created a site map for Pan Am.
I decided to build out the landing
page and dashboard, and worked
under the assumption that an
existing in-house infrastructure
for searching and booking
flights already exists.
Pan Am represents sophistication and class for the modern world, so the look and feel needed to give that impression. I developed a set of ideation sketches to help focus the two ideas of a dashboard and a landing page. The dashboard would allow passengers to receive personalized information tailored to each upcoming flight booked with Pan Am, including things like information about the airports they are traveling to or detailed information about visas and vaccinations they need. The Pan Am landing page needs to portray what the Pan Am brand is about and entice its target market. Through user research, I found that people were hesitant to use a new airline unless there was a specific reason. Pan Am had all the reasons, now we needed to show that to the customer. The best ideas were then further refined until they reflected the concept thoroughly.
From the sketches I started wireframing both concepts at the same time. When I first began the dashboard idea, I envisioned all the flight information being visible from the beginning. However, as I worked through it I decided that each flight would receive its own detailed page and the dashboard would contain a higher level of information. I thought out which flight details the users would want to see and created an example of how they would explore the travel restrictions page.
Once these wireframes were completed, I started to define the aesthetic direction of the new Pan Am. I decided to start by rebranding the iconic Pan Am logo. I did this over many iterations with the goal of reflecting the Pan Am ideals of sophistication, glamour, and class while refreshing it for a modern era. I wanted to give it a facelift while keeping some recognizable elements. I designed it in a way that pays homage to the iconic blues and shapes that defined the airline in its earlier days. Colors, typography and brand imagery were tested out to match the new look of Pan Am.
With the style guide in place, it was now possible to create high-fidelity mockups. I created mockups of the landing page and three main screens for the dashboard. Due to time constraints, I focused on the key screens since I was not conducting usability testing for this project. After many iterations, I was happy with the results and proceed to pixel-perfect mockups.
Over the course of this project, I successfully provided solutions to the problems posed in the design brief. I worked out a way to create the ultimate flying experience by providing a personal touch. For this project, usability tests and high-fidelity prototypes were not required, as the scope was too big. To continue this project, I would conduct multiple rounds of usability testing and user interviews to see what else was needed to really give the best user experience.