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A platform to support eVTOL stakeholders in achieving design certifications through automating the testing scenarios, requirements and simulations with the help of machine learning. This case study presents a meticulous implementation of the UX process and an opportunity to see how it is practically applied.
eVTOL: An electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft uses electric power to hover, take off, and land vertically.
For this program I worked as an Interaction Designer involved in all stages of the design process as well as overlooked the Visual Design aspect.
Since this program was under the innovation team and was in the research phase for more than a year, there were a lot of loose ends in their ask and priorities were not set, so in order to mitigate that, I conducted a debriefing session to understand their key metrics, goals, aspirations and expectations of the platform. This also helped the design team get an understanding about the platform, the certification process and it's uses.
UNDERSTANDING THE MAPPING OF A COMPLIANCE / eVTOL
Being a very technical program where we were directly working with researchers, scientists and engineers it was very important for us to learn how their eVTOL aircraft was built, how it functioned, all the key parameters which were necessary while doing flight tests and simulation tests and most importantly how the compliance certification process worked. We intentionally kept this session short to quickly get a brief overview of everything as we had planned a more intensive session later on.
We did a round of stakeholder interviews with the lead program manager and the data lead architect to uncover our key personas, who all will be using the platform and at what stages will they be involved. We wanted to get an idea of their interests, goals, needs, motivations, what all problems they are currently facing and talk about how design would solve all these problems.
Currently there is a lot of human intervention in the process, a lot of resources are wasted due to manual work, we would like to reduce that
PAIN POINTS GATHERED FROM THE INTERVIEW
1. Extra and unnecessary testing and simulations are performed which increases costs
2. Hand holding the user to make them understand what testing needs to be done
3. Lack of communication between team members
4. No way to view past data sets so that they can be used for future testing and simulations
5. Manually defining the testing parameters
UNDERSTANDING THE JOURNEY: CERTIFICATION OF A COMPLICANCE
Since this was a very complex process and the core of the entire platform it was key to get an understanding of the process in depth as this is what would drive the entire platform. We had constant back and forth sessions with the client where they would explain us the process, we would go offline and think about it and list down any questions we had and connect again. Even though it took 3 days for the session to get over, we would keep coming back to this and kept on refining the process further as the program moved on.
SKETCHES + JOURNEY
With all the data we gathered from the research it was important for us to sketch our thoughts on paper and get a feedback from the client. We made two sets of sketches, the first set was a very rough draft to get a high level feedback from the client and the second set was more refined to show the stakeholders our progress and results.
After the sketches were approved, we hopped onto figma to quickly start the wireframing session. Similar to our sketching process we made the wireframes and shared it with the client to gather feedback and get a final closure so that we could start with the visual designs.
Before finalizing a design direction we explored and ideated on the overall look and feel of the interface, what theme to go ahead with, what all brand colors we will use, the kind of iconography and the typography that will go with the platform. This step was very essential as it promoted creativity and innovation within the team and also helped the client choose which direction they want to go ahead with.
SETTING UP THE COMPONENT LIBRARY
Keeping in mind the tight deadline, we decided that the development and design should take place simultaneously with design being ahead and because of that we felt that setting up a component library will help the development team to quickly pickup components and use it in their code. As a result, the design was more efficient, scalable and harmonious.
1. PROJECT OVERVIEW
2. MANAGE TASKS
3. MERGING TASKS
4. PROJECT TRACKER
5. TASK DETAIL
Overall I was pretty satisfied with all our deliverables considering the fact that we only had a couple of months to wrap up the program. Looking back, we delivered well beyond the client's expectations. Initially I was struggling to comprehend all the information we were being given since we had to absorb more than a years of research within three weeks but as the program moved on I slowly became much more comfortable and was able to take in all the information easily.
Working in this program gave me exposure to a completely new domain of aerospace and how things function here which as an industry is not so easily available to design for. As previously mentioned, working under such a tight deadline and managing multiple tasks at once was something I was initially scared of but slowly I got a good grasp of the system and the workflows and was able to handle all the requirements independently. This program helped me understand the importance of prioritization, when and what to prioritize and even pushing back unrealistic requirements.