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MICROSOFT TEAMS: UNITED AIRLINES INTEGRATION

Helping flight crews vote on and share dinning and accomdations

Between longer legs of travel, crews have to find accomodations and make dining plans. Many times, they will spend off work hours together as they wait for their next flight assignments. Crew members can arrive on different flights and at different times. Hosting that conversation in a central location facilitates and encourages those interactions improving the overall experience. 

PROBLEM

Crew members use social media apps and 3rd party products instead of the company portal to plan and converse

PROJECT TIMELINE

3 Weeks

ROLE

• Designer

TOOLS

• Sketch

Problem + Solution

The United Airlines flight crew have a single employee portal through which employees can check schedule, swap shifts, check PTO, and any number of other adminstrative tasks. What it does not do well is facilitate collaboration between employees. According to their research, when employees wish to converse with each other, even on work related content, they will use any of serveral chat or instant messaging apps. This results in errant conversations, reduncancy, and useful information is not shared.

The United employee portal is not attractive or intuitive, and does not work work well on a phone — one tool most of us carry at all times. What it does having going for it is fucntionality similar to Microsoft Teams and several partner apps. It was suggested that the client completely transition to Teams and make the product it's primary application. Recognizing time, resources, and structural limitations, a teams integration was suggested where the user could seemlessly transition between the products. 

_united-screenshot

United's cluttered portal view - imagine trying to navigate this on a phone

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Design

The design process begins by defining guidelines that impact multipe areas:

WHAT A central forum centered around decision making

WHO United Flight crew members with overlapping days-off

WHY Decisions can be made ahead of arrival and information can be shared with other teams

Focusing the scenario around conversing and collaboration the following scenario was created:

The user, a member of the flight crew, receives a proactive notification that a flight specific team has been created. A bot injects a card with high level information about the flight into the channel. In the same card, the user is able to view the flight crew and chat directly with any of them. Chat initiated from the company portal will also resolve as 1:1 chat in teams facilitating teamwork. 

After the team is created, any member of the team can begin the conversation around the layover dining and accomodations. Crew members vote from a list of favored vendors. Voting occurs in a modal keeping the thread clear. As votes are tallied, the card is update displaying the results. Users may also make recommendations via the search which share directly into the chat. 

Through the personal app, the user can make decisions ahead of time or view all their upcoming flights. The bot also has the ability to share updates that may affect crews across multiple teams. These can include inclement weather and staffing changes.

Clickable prototype of the flight crew member flow