Sustainability is no longer a nice to have, its a global imperative. With our growing population and traveling demands, we are contributing to the destruction of our planet. Cloud Cruises provides an alternate traveling method to the jet, one that appreciates the planet that we live on, and works to build connections around the world.
Cloud Cruise uses a combination of proven aerospace technologies from a mixture of airships (hull fabric), fixed-wing aircraft (composite structures, engines, and avionics), and helicopters (vectored thrust). Right now, this is imagined in the experience of booking a trip on a Cruise.
As a senior at California College of the Arts, I had to work on a year-long project. Teachers for this Senior Project class was Graham Plumb, Gretchen Anderson, and Kate Rutter.
Click! You can come back later to look at the process work.
Get an inside look at your trip details and the locations you will be visiting.
Say goodbye to small seats and cramped traveling experiences and say hello to a bed facing a million-dollar view.
Airships are the most sustainable form of air travel to ever exist. Through the development of electric engines, the incorporation of novel materials and technologies, we’ve built a pathway that leads to zero-carbon flight without compromising capability.
In the early 20th century, airships were actually seen as a more attractive form of air travel when compared to the internal combustion engine. The Hindenburg Disaster in 1937 was filmed and wildly seen by the public which resulted in the end of the airship era. The newsman in this infamous clip had already decided to condemn airships and biased his audience against airships. Although being more cost-effective than the internal combustion engine, the engine grew in popularity as flight times got shorter and the airship was forgotten.
I created a google form questionnaire exploring what people know about airships to surface opinions and concerns about airship travel.
Of the 19 responses that I received, only seven people said they knew what an airship was. This is confusing since 10 of the same people said they knew what the Air Zeppelin was, even though the Air Zeppelin was an airship. This suggests that people have heard of airships, but might not know the difference between airships and blimps.
This survey revealed the huge gaps in knowledge about airships amongst the public. You can tell that most people's curiosity is peaked by this idea, but still very unsure about how it might actually work. Some of the answers brought up interesting points that I hadn't thought about before.
We cannot ignore each and every person's carbon footprint. We must start looking for greener ways to do the things we take for granted today.
In order to gauge people's interest and expectations when it comes to airship travel, I created some ads in the same style as travel ads that already come up on my various social media feeds. I photoshopped royalty-free images together to make it seem like the airships are real and operational.
I wanted to do more to maximize engagement with my survey, so I also created a poster. I put up two posters around my school along with a QR code that lead audiences to a survey. The survey asks a couple of questions about their interest and concerns in the Airship Airlines concept.
I wanted to begin presenting my case for the airship experience, backed by convincing facts, so I created initial wireframes for the website that would be able to answer all questions.
I quickly realized that I needed to figure out what order I should present the information people want to know. I created a list of the top questions I had seen in feedback and on the Airliner FAQ and created a card sorting exercise.
Since I wanted my airship to be realistic, I borrowed specs from the past and present Airships to ensure that my idea is believable. I also wanted to make sure I could provide passengers with ample room and great social spaces.
I ended up selecting a layout using a colored notecards strategy.
I quickly came to the conclusion that I need to prevent passengers from getting bored, which meant I needed to provide activities to fill the time. However, I didn't want to take the passenger's attention away from the insane views. I decided the best way to highlight the views was with stories that give meaning and context to what people are seeing. Every day, users are allowed to leave the airship and explore a location so these stories would help to frame the experience from the perspective of locals, historic facts, and science.
With this prototype, I wanted to use AR so users could 'look' out the window with their phone's camera in order to "find" stories/facts from/about the world (like Pokemon Go). I strived towards Smithsonian-quality content. Along with this app, I hoped to include more analog explorations as well, including posters, interactive flight path screens, information about what level of the atmosphere the airship is in, and more.
I created a principle prototype illustrating the experience of "finding" stories outside through AR. I'm hoping to pair this with a large print out of the window so that people can imagine the experience better.
The feedback from my class made me realize that I need to take a step back and ask my potential users what they want. Classmates suggested that I keep the UI super light, the visual basic, and the interaction simple since I do not want users to get lost in the app (instead, get lost in the view). There is also the question of whether or not a phone is the best way to connect with the user. I was suggested to explore glass UI, but I wonder if it is too technically difficult to smoke/mirrors it.
I found that the AR app distracted passengers from the views, so I created a second prototype that is minimally visual and 100% auditory. Using a laser pointer, users would point out the window in order to hear for new 'discoveries'.
My original plan of testing with people inside of CCA was interfered with due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Instead, I was limited to testing with the people I was in quarantine with; my family.
During user testing, I gave each person a laser pointer and a pre-programmed auditory experience. Users would listen to stories about the views they were seeing (the Seattle skyline). You can hear this here.
Third (FInal) Prototype
Given the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact, I had to shift the inflight experience to be one that users could be sampled online, instead of the physical senior exhibition. I worked with Zoe McCloskey, a Hybrid Lab monitor and teacher, to create a p5.js program that would mimic what the on-board experience would look like. I want users to be able to explore a view (image/slow-moving footage) with mouse hover and receive auditory feedback for mouse distance from a 'discovery'. I hope that users would come away from the experience more educated, more relaxed, and more thoughtful about the world.
Here's an old invision prototype of the website.
I created this version with as much information I found in my research. I used this to receive feedback from people about the experience of the website.
I had never worked on a project this long before, so coming into this, I was a bit intimidated. I chose a project direction I felt I wouldn’t lose interest in and began doing something I had never before, redesigning a forgotten technology, the airship. The challenge of convincing folks the airship is now safe – to change stigma, was one I felt I could take on. I aimed high and hoped I would learn new tools to help myself and others visualize this experience I was proposing. I did learn some new tools, and tried my best to provide visuals of the airship with the design of the layout and outward appearance. Then I may have made an assumption about the onboard experience being boring. I built an inflight entertainment system with an unfounded belief that passengers would be bored without it. While auditory experience may have been created without basis, I do still believe that it provides the airship experience with a unique opportunity to communicate with users in a new way. It was developed from feedback during user testing which ensures that at least the experience itself is developed for the users. Without being able to do the fully immersive user testing that I was
hoping to do during the last semester, I was unable to figure out if boredom would actually have been an issue. I found it is hard to test an experience people cannot see/imagine well and figuring out when that experience would become boring, could have taken many hours of testing with individuals. If I could have done some things differently, I would have tried to find a way to build out the interior of the airship so that I could have tested that on-board experience before concluding that users needed to be entertained. As I look back, I also realize I didn’t/don’t have any way to measure the potential impact that Cloud Cruises could have. To continue this project would be to continue building out every aspect of the experience inside during trips. However, I believe in order to refine this experience to it’s best potential, it would require the Cloud Cruiser to exist in reality. This project has opened my eyes to my interest in marketing, brand creation, and storytelling which has led me to look at Master’s programs in digital communication. Thankful for this project and everyone who helped me to make it a reality.
THANKS for viewing!