Designing a compact iPad holder for use on the food trolley by cabin crew during F&B service. The device should fit the needs of the crew and the different usages of the iPad on the on the trolley during service, while securing the iPad to the trolley.
Crew members at KLM are equipped with an iPad application to enhance passenger experience. They are forced to place it awkwardly on the service trolley because of overcrowding of the service trolley and the lack of a proper place to securely mount the iPad. Often causing damages to the iPads.
A compact iPad holder arm was designed that firmly secures the iPad to the service trolley and gives the crew the ability to adjust the position of the iPad to their preference. Additionally, different strategies for logistics to bring the iPad holder on-board were investigated and enumerated in an effort to aid the implementation of the project.
To understand the current scenario of the iPad usage in-flight, I spent several weeks interviewing cabin crew members and also conducting online surveys. I even went on a familiarization trip - shadowing cabin crew on a real flight to understand the context of the iPad usage first-hand. These gave me insights to generate a list of requirements.
On the other hand, I identified all the stakeholders in the cabin service ecosystem and engaged with them to understand the potential limitations and hurdles to get the iPad holder on board, the strategies that can be adopted for the logistical model and ownership model of the iPad holder. This highlighted the compliance and regulatory requirements of the iPad holder.
Design to increase iPad utilisation : Crew lack the motivation to use the iPad on the trolley during service due to the lack of a roper place to mount it and the fear of damaging it. Which means that the device must invoke the feeling of being secure and encourage crew to use the iPad on the service trolley.
Make device flexible and convenient to mount : The crew wants the device to be easy to mount and dismount as they have limited time during service and they also want to have the the flexibility to mount the holder on any side of the service trolley and have different orientation options to suit their personal preferences and also suiting different kind of services on the trolley
Device should be future proof : The device should fit all kinds of devices and should be adaptable to any future hardware upgrades and change in dimensions.
“The underutilisation and high breakage of the iPad on the trolley during service due to the lack of a secure place on the trolley.”
The development of the product began with articulating the required functions - mounting the iPad to the holder, clamping the holder to the trolley and adjusting the position of the device. Different solutions were ideated for each of the functionality to draw up a morphological chart. This was used to generate concepts that were prototyped and tested.
An array of prototypes of varied fidelities were developed. These varied from foam and paper prototypes to 3D printed and CNC Milled prototypes. Several iterations were generated to be tested with the crew members for usability and evaluated with the list of requirements.
While the usability and the design of the product was important for KLM, it was equally important to understand the logistics of how the iPad holder will reach the crew on a flight. The different options tied to existing processes were explored and researched on the basis of cost, convenience and compliance. These findings were important to understand the operational and economic feasibility of the product.
The final device combines portability, flexibility and ease of use for the crew with a higher safety for the iPad. The friction hinges at the three pivot points allows the crew to adjust the iPad to an ergonomic position of their preference and a magnetic head that helps to easily attach and detach the iPad to the holder. The clamping base provides the possibility to attach the holder anywhere along the edge of the blue-bins.