Alaska Airlines: Mobile Operations

Increasing operational efficiency by empowering front-line employees.
User Research
Content Architecture
Task Flow
Prototype Development



Alaska Airlines relies on multiple legacy systems and processes that are not keeping up with the pace of change in other industries. Employees need quick access to accurate information in a timely manner—often in remote locations. The Mobile Operations team was created to provide mobile solutions to several of Alaska’s employee work-groups—empowering them while improving operational efficiency.


My first task was to understand the individual work-groups by identifying their pain-points and primary tasks. We started by working with Customer Service Agents (CSAs), Pilots, Flight Attendants and Line Maintenance Technicians. Initially, we focused our attention on the tasks that each group performs prior to departure.

Mobile Operations

Departure Process Flow


I conducted formative research—gathering both quantitative and qualitative data—about CSAs, Pilots, Flight Attendants, and Line Maintenance Technicians. I used this information to generate a series of User Personas that our team could refer to during the design and development process. Additionally, this information fueled efforts to identify and prioritize a suite of products that would aid in the workgroup’s day-to-day tasks along the departure timeline.

Mobile Operations

Work Group Personas


Once the types of mobile solutions were identified, the team began focusing on each work-group. Working with stake-holders and front-line employees, we set out to determine the kinds of features and functions that would have a positive impact on their various work processes. The Departure timeline would be the nexus of our app eco-system as we started designing initial MVPs.

Concept Sketches


As wireframes and prototypes were developed for individual applications, I worked with my fellow designers to create a style guide and pattern library that would be used as a blueprint for the future app eco-system. A departure timeline was one feature developed for inclusion in all of the apps.

Mobile Operations

Departure Timeline – App Ecosystem


While doing research I discovered that color was being used in a variety of different ways to indicate a number of different situations. Many times color was the sole means of conveying information. For one work-group, green was used to signify “go” status. For another work-group, green was used to indicate that things were running “as-scheduled.” Standardizing the use of color and creating a secondary visual method for conveying it’s meaning became a priority.

Mobile Operations

Departure Timeline – Color Blind Explorations

Style Guides

Before development began on several of the apps, it was important to document the styles that we were creating to ensure consistency. I created several style guides to communicate the details of the user-experience to the delivery teams. The style guides took several forms and were created as living documents that would evolve as the apps evolved.

Mobile Operations

Style Guide Example