Collaboration is a core component of work activities amongst flight attendants as they work to promote onboard safety and deliver a high level of customer service. Yet we know little of how flight attendants collaborate and how we can best design technology to support this collaboration. Through an interview study with flight attendants, we explored their collaborative practices and processes and how technology aided such practices. While technologies like interphones and flight attendant call buttons acted as collaboration tools, we identified instances where the usability and functionality of these devices were the main barriers for maintaining efficient communication, situation awareness, and information exchange. Our findings inform the design of future technologies for enhancing communication and collaboration in an aircraft setting. As a proof of concept, we developed “SmartCrew”, a smartwatch application allows flight attendants to maintain an awareness of each other and communicate through messaging with haptic feedback. It is designed with an emphasis on real time information access and direct communication between flight attendants regardless of their location.
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Thesis advisor: Neustadter, Carman
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