In this section I show my design research about my thesis project of peoples’ long-haul flight. It took about 3 months to study how people fly in detail to such as the process and result, their habits, problem and expectation as well. In “My Senior Thesis” section you can learn about my project in general, to see the background, process, part of the research and result (this link well direct you to that section), however here is my full research process about this project.

Why this research is very important?

The useful solutions come from the real pain point, I realized that I cannot just sitting in front of my computer and “design” a solution to improve the experience during peoples’ journey. Furthermore, during my study, I realized that the process of research is even more important that the result I figure out. I see the design research skill as a more important skill than design visualizing.

How did I conduct this research?

The primary research was mainly in a way of interviewing among 3 international students, and conducted via image collage tool kit—60+ images, 200+ words banks, scissors, stick glue, illustration board, markers, post sticker. (A research method we obtained in the design research class, to study how the interviewees go through the whole process.) Through the interview I collect a lot of useful data to define a real new flight journey, this is a journey is much more variable than a regular one, because it contains many potential problems and peoples’ expectations about their flight experience.

Later, during the winter, I traveled China and I did some useful observation at airports, which allow me to collect much additional valuable information about the flight experience.

What did I found from this research?


I apply what need to be improved from what I found in 3 different kind of scenarios, to make each scenario aim to its certain target group of audiences based on the three aspects been talked about: Technology, Saving money and Service quality.

When I put the 3 different aspects of scenario into different characters, and then visualize them; it really helps the video make more sense to the audience, instead of just state the problems.

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Halen is 56 year old lady, she currently lives in Boston, MA, US with her husband. Halen has a young daughter study and work in Paris, France.  Halen visit her daughter every 6 months, means she has to take the international long-haul flight at least 4 times a year. This for her is suffering, not only because staying in the small room at cabin for almost ten hours, but also she need to take care of herself all the way when she is travel alone. She has to booking tickets and complete the journey to daughter’s place, which is still like 20 years ago. She realizes that if she has would equipped with some new technologies the travel could become easier, but she is scared of learning them.

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Ming is an undergraduate student at the Ohio State University, he is from Shanghai. Ming study hard but he does not have any income and his parents pay for his tuition, which make him feel embarrassing. Ming’s family is mid-up level, but not rich, he booking the flight tickets by himself, and pay it on his own debit card. His schedule is very flexible at the end of semester, so his main focus of the flight tickets are the cheapest come first. However, a lot of time he cannot find the cheap ticket because travel agency purchase tickets and resell them with a high price, Ming is not happy with it. Ming of course like a better food and enjoy the duty free shop at the airport, but he will only spend this money on where he can afford.

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Sam is a young CEO with his young start-up company in Seattle, he is very rich. Most of his travels is for business, his partners are all over the world. So he fly a lot, and he has rewards credit card at most big airlines. Obviously, he has the familiar face at first/ business class cabin. On the other hand, Sam is a big fan of technology, he take care of his travel on his own, online or by mobile App, he enjoys it a lot. Sam sometimes is not happy only because he pay a lot but he doesn't think he get the service he deserve, the flight attendants are nice, but there still some pain through his journey.