Chen Zhang Design Portfolio

Rethink the experience to Reconnect Bags

Design a mobile app for travelers to reconnect bags after landing at SFO. 

Problem Definition & Assumptions 

I assume the core users for this product are travelers with multiple luggages

Travelers landing at SFO

  • Business travelers
  • Family travelers

The main difference between the two kinds of users are that business travelers typically don't have so many check-in luggages for business trips, so family travelers should find more value with this product than business travelers. 

To put it in a real-life example, let's imagine a mother is traveling with her whole family, her husband and two kids, to San Francisco for summer vacation. 

  • Multiple check-in luggages (3 bags)
  • 4 family members (mother, father and 2 kids) 
  • Flying from Beijing, China to San Francisco Bay area
  • Can read or speak simple English words

Target Users

User Context assumptions & Constraints 

In order to enable users track their bag location and get updates, I come up with two ideas: 

Idea 1: Luggages with built-in tracking chip

  • Production cost will be higher, so only a small group of travelers can afford this high-end luggage

Idea 2: Digital tracker attached to luggages

  • Travelers can get their personal digital tracker at the airline check-in location at the departure airport
  • Provide user-friendly offline luggage check-in experience at the departure airport (luggage photo, unique sign for check-in machine, scale, printer etc)
  • There will be tracker read points installed at multiple locations throughout the luggage carousel route at SFO
  • Provide an offline instruction sign to guide travelers to return and recycle the digital tracker at SFO arrival hall 

Idea 3: Live-streaming camera set up along the carousel route

  • The cost is relatively high because camera needs to be installed and a mobile app needs to be built for passengers to view the video
  • Not easy for users to recognize their bags because bags can look so much alike

I choose to continue with Idea 2: Digital tracker attached to luggages, because its cost is much lower and more accessible to general travelers. 

San Francisco International Airport

SFO Passenger Counts by GEO Region

SFO Passenger Counts by GEO Region

SFO Passenger Counts by Terminal 

SFO Passenger Counts by Terminal 

  • Based on the data published from SFO website, SFO international terminal has monthly deplaned passengers about 600K (left-side data spreadsheet). And passengers from Asia are about 200K (right-side data spreadsheet), which is about 30% of all the deplaned passengers. Since English is not the first official language for most Asia countries, people may have limited English skills and this product should support multi-language localization. 
  • At SFO, English is the main language for way-finding signage
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • At SFO, the route between the arrival gate to the immigration check & luggage pick-up area is about 10 min (rough estimates based on my experience). 

Time-sensitive situation, hassle-free experience and safety

  • Users don't want other people to pick up their luggages by mistake 
  • Users don't want to lose anything inside their luggages (The digital tracker has a lock feature)

Users Needs & Product Values 

After the mother and her family lands at SFO after the 12h international flight: 

Primary user needs

  • How long will my luggage arrive? Where are they now? What is the current status? 
  • What is the right carousel number for my luggages? 
  • We've been standing by the right luggage carousel for a long time, but still don't see my luggages coming. How many luggages are still remaining in transition? 
  • What if one of my luggages got lost? I want to use the mobile app to trace it. 
  • What if my belongings inside my luggage got stolen? I want to use the mobile app to report my case and ask for compensation.
  • What should I do with the digital tracker after I pick up my luggages?  

Secondary user needs (Assuming travelers have difficulty following the SFO way-finding sign)

  • Go to luggage pick-up area smoothly
  • Find and locate the right luggage carousel
  • If my luggages are not coming yet, I want to buy drinks and food for my family or use restrooms while waiting. 
  • After I pick up my luggages, what should I do next? 

Device Platform

  • iOS 
  • Android 

Mobile App

  • Separate native app
  • Within an airport native app
  • Within an airline native app 

Product Platform

BUsiness & Monetization Strategy

  • Advertisements
  • Connect with Uber and UberEAT app to build a Uber eco-system

Quantitive feedback from product usage tracking

User Acquisition

First-time users
User counts by region, departure airport and airline 

User Retention & Engagement

Daily Active Users (DAU)
Number of luggages tracked in the app each day
Number of luggage issues reported from the app each day
Button clicks for the "Navigate to Pick Up" button and Click-through-rate for the following navigation wizards workflow
Click-through-rate for the Things To Do feature
Button clicks for the "Schedule Uber" button 

Qualitative feedback from user testing


Ideate & Sketch


Problem definition and assumptions

Workflow and wireframe sketch

Refine & Design Detailed Wireframes


High-level Workflow and Main Use Cases Diagram


use case 1: Right after landing at SFO (bags not ready to pick up)

With push notification, users open the app to land on the homepage to view the luggage updates: carousel number, status, ETA and tracking map.

Since their luggages are not delivered yet, they can take time to buy drinks and snacks, go to currency exchange or buy a local SIM card etc. They can also schedule a Uber car now if they have many heavy and big luggages to carry. 

Use Case 1 Alt.png

I explored other alternative UI layout ideas for the homepage. 

Alt Option 1: Combine luggage tracking map and airport map into one single map — Information can be too busy and the UI will be cluttered. Also, things to do and turn-by-turn navigation are secondary use cases and features that are only useful for part of our target users.

Alt Option 2: Bottom tab navigation items — Things to do in airport is only useful assuming travelers have difficulty following the SFO way-finding sign, so there's no need to reserve a bottom main-nav bar for that use case. And we'll provide "Schedule Uber Car" action later in the pick up workflow. 

In general, we should use real product usage data analytics to inform and validate my assumption about Things To Do and Schedule Uber feature and use case. 


Use Case 2: Bags are delivered and ready for pick-up 

Use Case 2.png

This is the second use case when the bags are delivered to the carousel. With push notification, users land again on the homepage and there can be two different scenarios and contexts: 

– If users already followed other passengers and airport way-finding signs and found the right carousel, they can just use the map to track their bags' location. 

– If users are lost and didn't find the right carousel, they can use the turn-by-turn navigation to follow the wizards to locate the right carousel and pick up their bags. 

Visual Design

Homepage visual mockup

Use Case 1 After Flight Landing: From Notification to Homepage



When we have refined enough details before launching the product, I would return to the assumptions mentioned in the initial section to verify and figure out some open questions in my design solution: 

  • Besides the digital tracker technology, are there any other ideas to help travelers track their bags? 
  • If family travelers are the core users of this product, is there a need to design for multi-users user case for a shared family profile? If so, what will be the workflow? 
  • Based on the SFO passenger data, we assumed this product should support multi-language. After the product is available in the market and we get real usage statistics, what language and region should we prioritize to support? 
  • What will be the offline luggage check-in, tracker registration and tracker returning experience? I think we need to design user-friendly sign and information design with consistent branding and design styles as the app UI to guide users in the overall experience.  
  • What if travelers have trouble connecting to SFO Wi-Fi and do not turn on data roaming? 
  • Can this design solution scale and apply to other major international airports? 

We should rely on real quantitive usage data and qualitative user testing feedback data to inform our design iteration, and also consider business strategy and technology feasibility at the same time to refine our design solution.  

Time spending on this exercise: 1.5h for Problem Definition, 3.5h for Whiteboard and Wireframe, 5h for Visual Design, 2h for Principle Demo.

Total 12h.