Airport User Experience at UX Australia

At UX Australia 2015 I presented “What we talk about when we talk about Airport User Experience“. Part of my talk was a promise to provide background on what I presented. Because I was talking about several years of academic research done in close collaboration with a large number of colleagues, the background is mostly links to published papers and PhD theses.

All of the slides are hosted on SpeakerDeck. The remainder of this page is a partial appendix that gives links to my colleagues and my published academic work. The link to each paper goes to the archived version on QUT’s ePrints site which means that access is unrestricted.

The full deck

The audio of the talk

Slide 2

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You can find out more at the Airports of the Future site.

Slide 4

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In addition to the research being associated with the Human Systems stream of the Airports of the Future grant, we also work together as the People and Systems Lab under the leadership of Professor Vesna Popovic. The work on navigation (beginning on slide 23) draws heavily on Thea Blackler‘s work on Intuitive Interaction. See also the information given in Slide 35, below.

Slide 8 and 11

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The idea of ecosystems of services isn’t explored in detail in most of my colleagues and my published research (so far). It originates with Vargo and Lusch’s Service Dominant Logic. The wikipedia article on S-D Logic is fairly clear if you want an overview of the ecosystem concept specifically.

A paper on the airport work that addresses co-production of service, which is an important concept in S-D Logic, is Co-production of actions and activities at airport security screening.

Slide 13

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This distinction between discretionary activities and processing activities first comes up in Passengers in the airport : artefacts and activities. The paper Towards airport passenger experience models goes into more detail.

Slide 15 and 16

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You can find out more about the methods used in data collection and analysis in Philip Kirk and Alison Livingstone’s research in Towards a taxonomy of passenger airport experience and Understanding the airport passenger landside retail experience.

Slide 18

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The best source for more detail on the Matrix of Passenger Activities is currently chapter 9 and specifically section 9.5 of Philip Kirk’s thesis. To really dig into it you’ll also need to read large parts of Chapters 4 to 8.

Slide 20

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The best source for the distinctions on how people “do” retail differently in different parts of the airport is Alison Livingstone’s thesis. Chapters 8 and 9 will have the answers but you’ll have to go back to chapters 4-7 to really get into what was done and why.

Slide 23

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This section is about Andrew Cave’s work on navigation in Airports. Andrew’s thesis is the best source for the “elements” concept, however as the thesis is currently under external examination it is effectively embargoed until that aspect of the PhD process is complete.

Slide 26, 28, 29

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You can find out more about Airport Environment Familiarity in Passenger familiarity and intuitive navigation within airport environments and Examining intuitive navigation in airports.

Slide 32, 33

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This part of Andrew Cave’s work is currently best addressed in his thesis which is, as mentioned above, unavailable due to currently being under external examination.

Slide 35

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Assessing familiarity with a questionnaire is currently best described in Investigating users’ intuitive interaction with complex artefacts by Blackler, Popovic and Mahar. A description of a familiarity-assessing questionnaire is given on p17, just before section 2.1.3 and there is also an example shown in that paper’s Appendix A.

Slide 38

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This section addresses Anna Harrison’s PhD work. The single best source is Anna Harrison’s thesis.

Slide 41

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The model of passenger experience based on the current literature is described in Challenges in passenger terminal design : a conceptual model of passenger experience. The model created through analysing the interviews is given in Deconstructing expected passenger experience in airports.

Slides 45-48

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The segmentation model (slide 45) is best described in Anna Harrison’s thesis. A paper working through some implications in the models and the design principles derived from the model, only some of which are shown in slides 46-48 is The future passenger experience: A shift from physical to virtual design. The models and their implications are also worked through in Chapters 8 and 9 of Anna Harrison’s thesis.


All of the work described here and that I presented at UX Australia is a collaborative effort. In addition to Vesna Popovic, Thea Blackler, Philip Kirk, Alison Livingstone, Andrew Cave and Anna Harrison, Levi Swann must be mentioned as his research on intuitive expertise in security screening has been conducted in parallel with much of the work presented here.

A number of icons from the Noun Project were used in the production of the slides. The bird icon on slides 8, 23 and 38 was created by OliM for The Noun Project. The microphone icon used on slides 15, 41, 42 and 50 was created by Golden Roof for The Noun Project. The video camera icon on slides 15 and 50 was created by Lemon Liu for the Noun Project. The eye-tracking glasses icon on slide 27 was created by Luis Prado for The Noun Project.