Pia

An intelligent AI for the Pittsburgh International Airport designed to provide a seamless, hassle-free travel experience.

SCOPE

Carnegie Mellon University

Interaction Design Studio

4 Weeks, 2021

TEAM

Matt Muenzer

Youngryun Cho

Wei-Cheih Wang

Devika Pillai

ROLE

Concept & ideation

Identity design

User interface design

SOFTWARE

Figma

Voiceflow 

Premiere Pro

Aftereffects

THE CHALLENGE

Design an experience that showcases novel interactions between human(s) and a virtual assistant.

THE OUTCOME

Pia is a conversational assistant for the Pittsburgh international airport providing a connectedsingle-stop solution for all travel queries. As a data-rich assistant, she connects the different pain points and facilitates a seamless experience for both the airport and its passengers.

My role involved design research, concept ideation, identity design, and UX design.

FEATURES

Intelligent transit suggestions

Transit options customised to match flight time and available realtime transit data. 

Proactive prompts

From carrying essentials, saving your parking information to helping you leave on time.

Parking and payment assistance

Parking options with visibility on available spots and walking time to reach the gate. Voice secured access to saved payment options.

Location based service discovery

Explore dining, shopping and other service experiences near your departure gate or specified location.

Multilingual support

Recognize languages based on the starting prompt and assist.

Staff assistance

Reach out to the airport staff from any kiosk at the airport for easy assistance. 

Navigation and transport guidance

Find the quickest way to leave the airport.

RESEARCH AND FRAMING

Why we chose an airport, what our insights were and how we defined our core solutions.

CONTEXT AND CLIENT

Flying commercially can sometimes be described as nothing more than a series of inconvenient events. From late or canceled flights, long lines, crowded terminalsappalling food, and a series of long procedures and steps right from leaving our homes to the point of boarding our flight, the current traveler experience can be complicated and disconnected. Pain points were considered for experiences before the airport, at the airport, as well as for post-travel engagement.

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Pain point mapping

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Field visits and contextual inquiry

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Learning about the existing interface

INSIGHTS
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Transit planning is a common painpoint and the parking services are outdated and time-consuming.

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People dread time at the airport and need suggestions into the services offered and things they can do.

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Digital interfaces lack navigational support, leaving passengers unable to explore the space without walking.

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Airports are often understaffed. Travelers are unsure about how to seek help during novel situations.

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The app and kiosks are weak touchpoints covering functionality better provided by airlines.

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International passengers require multilingual support across signage, interface, and verbal assistance.

DESIGN OPPORTUNITIES

Commute

Parking, Ground Transport, Travel Time

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Procedures

Check-in, Delays, Luggage, Security, Navigation

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Discovery

Dining, Shopping, Play Areas, Other experiences. 

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USER JOURNEY MAPPING
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With a better understanding of scenarios for our solution, we mapped a user journey that highlighted the context, emotions, and suggested interface modals.

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CRAFTING THE IDENTITY

Tapping into the existing visual affordances of mobility and intelligence to design how Pia looks, sounds and moves.

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Logo and form

Considering the symbol represents not just a static logo but an on-screen intelligence that communicates through its shape and sound, it was important to consider how each of our forms moved. Our final form was chosen for invoking qualities of navigation and movement while providing versatile transformations.

Palette

Crisp and confident. Dominant on blue to stay close to aviation and sky shades.

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Typography

Cabin to tap into classic wayfinding and informational aesthetics. Rubik to keep it conversational and soft.

Icon style

Two-tone icons from the Google library were stylized to reflect the translucency and opacity play from the logo.

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Rubik

Cabin

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Tone of voice and speech

We chose a voice that best suited the personality traits that laid out.

Motion states

Designing to assist for non-verbal human interaction was a key consideration for the motion design. We extended the conventional limits of conversational AI to account for other naturally occurring states in our conversations.

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Resting

Awake

Listening

Listening (Paused)

Speaking

Processing

Success

Error

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INTERFACE DESIGN
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MOBILE

The graphical interface was retained for easy visibility of all services. The voice assistant is provided as a primary affordance on the home screen. 

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Home

Directory

Alerts

Conversation Overlay

VUI Overlay

Asking Pia a question opens up a conversation overlay. The states of the VUI are matched by supporting GUI patterns on the screen.

 

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Resting

Listening

Processing

Speaking

Prompting

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Parking Card

Transit Options

Restaurant Listings

Navigation

Suggestions

KIOSK
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VUI Overlay

Similar to the mobile, the voice assistant's overlay follows interface patterns for each state on the airport kiosk.

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Resting

Prompting

Speaking (Collapsed)

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Listening

Processing

Speaking

Kiosk hardware

Since our solution involved a kiosk, we wanted to leverage the different ways in which the hardware could support the user experience.

PIA BEYOND PITTSBURGH

How can Pia support operational staff and optimize passenger experience across airports?

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Bridge flight and passenger data to drive savings and reduce footprint.

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Increase retail, parking, and service visibility to enhance engagement.

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Use shared data & predictive AI to improve the travel experience.

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LEARNINGS AND TAKEAWAYS

Design for Proactiveness

While considering scenarios and use cases it was important to factor in user needs beyond the immediate user request to craft associated prompts that would help provide a stronger experience.

Reconsider your GUI

Since this was a voice interface, it was extremely important to design screen patterns that gave appropriate feedback, helped the user move forward, and forgave mistakes.

AI + Human

While preparing the scripts, we considered where the user was delegating, controlling, and collaborating. This made me think about the responsibility involved in designing AI interfaces.

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