Blackbird

See project

Product designer

2 designers and 2 developers

2017

Project overview

Blackbird is an online booking service for small, affordable plane reservations. It’s service is based on the idea of making air-transportation faster and easier. Using small airports and aircraft carriers, the company is aiming to drastically reduce wait times at airports without reducing the flying experience comparable to a private jet.

The initial phase was to test out different kinds of design solutions that aligned with the proposition value when creating the online reservation plateforme.

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The problem

We had few human resources and not that much time to be able to create the plateforme before the fundraiser. We needed a way to make a consistent, intuitive and delightful user experience and to know how to shape the experience in the best possible way.  

Business & design goals

Make a flexible and reusable framework to reduce time on each iteration and accelerate the design process.

Solution

Create a design system

The primary solution was to create a design system from scratch that was guided by principles and best practices. It needed to be very easy to handle so we could break it when necessary.

Use an information architecture

To avoid wasting time designing different user journey each time an iteration did not work, we first handedly collected user needs and the necessary information to book a flight and made a information diagramme out of it. This diagramme was the blueprint we used to set the main structure of each iteration.

Challenges

Planning and priority

When creating the information architecture diagram for the MVP, we needed to prioritize the must have to the absolutely must have because of the uncertainty of the due date. Enhancing the plateforme and planning and prioritizing our tasks everyday was imperative to not waste a day.

Synchronising and breaking the design system

Working with a small team on the design system, we needed to know who would be placed as the design system manager to keep up to date the design files. Each of us could break the design system to try new approaches. But at the end of the day, we needed a way to update all the files easily.

Make users want to reserve a flight

The flight doesn’t takes place if the minimum threshold of passengers is not reached. The user can reserve an aircraft at a high cost and then get it’s money back at each new passenger registration. That is why it is very important to convey a sense of trust to the users when the aircrafts have close to no reservation.

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steps

My first mission was to conceptualize and build a platform to allow users to easily check through the online booking procedure.

Define the information architecture and user journey

In order to be able to create an online booking platform, we needed to study the different aspects that make up this service in realizing a design model. The goal of this model is to to serve as a basis for the preparation of the different screens.

In this architecture we will find the next items:

Road selection, Calendar, Flight selection, Reservation summary, Adding luggage module, Reservation confirmation, Adding information on passengers module, Personal space…

Creation of a course prototype

Once the model was created, I developed a functional prototype aim to simulate the interactions of a user. To finalize this iterative process, I tested the prototype to a panel of users witched allowed me to evaluate each of the interactions they had to make.

Definition of the best architecture of design components and their behaviors

The design system is based largely on the principles of atomic design. The key idea behind this methodology being small, independent - atomic - parts, can be combined into larger molecular structures.

User interfaces and animations

The conception of the screens took me less time than necessary because of a careful planning and execution before hand.

We were even able to find time to make the screen animations and transition to guide the users attention through their booking process.

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Key takeaways

The success of a product depends on a meticulous planning, a well respected process and a good sense of timing. Because we didn’t now all the ups and downs we were going to face, we needed to have some landmarks to continue to advance and hit the milestones on time.

To conclude what i learned throughout this project, it is as simple / complicated as cooking. The meal will widely depend on the ingredients you have at hand and how you manage to cook them.

Up to 4x faster in the design iteration process
Blackbird raises $10M in series A
The design system library allowed the Front-end to be 5x quicker

People i had the chance to work with

Mehdi Djabri

Mehdi Djabri

Chief Product Officer at BigBlank

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