October 13, 2022
David Hayward

A dedicated focus on customer empathy has driven meaningful innovation.

Imagine you are a flight operator managing a fleet of aircraft that carry VIP travellers all over the world.

Getting your guests safely from A to B is about more than just selecting a route from one airport to another. How politically stable is the country they are intending to visit? Is there adequate security personnel on hand to escort your guests to their hotel? What if a medical emergency takes place, either in the air or on the ground?

These are the logistical challenges busy flight operators face every day and they are increasingly turning to an online tool that takes the guesswork out of the planning process. MedAire360 is the go-to portal for flight operators. It combines over 20,000 data points with a visual, map-based user interface that gives users an instant snapshot of risk factors affecting global travel.

With war grinding on in Ukraine and geopolitical tensions rising around the world, VIP travellers want to know they are not flying into danger when they take off in a private aircraft.  

So how did MedAire make the complex task of managing travel risk so simple? It started with taking the brave decision to completely overhaul its platform to reflect the modern travel environment.  

Learning from the best  

Critical to the design process was researching and exploring best-in-class work that already existed from other organisations, including consumer applications and technology in other industries.  

For MedAire and Journey, that meant an approach underpinned by curiosity and openness.

“We took an uncompromising approach to understanding the customer experience, so that we could discern our diverse customer needs, especially in this new environment since the pandemic started. This has given us the luxury of stepping back and create a premium user experience”
— Jodi Ash, General Manager, Americas and Products at MedAire, an InternationalSOS company.
“It means we’ve produced what we think is the best product of its kind available.”  

This approach has two main benefits for MedAire360.

Firstly, the product is truly client centred and focused entirely on their needs.  

Secondly, the MedAire360 platform has been built free of legacy issues, built on contemporary design and code.

Data meets design

Before the debut of MedAire360 analysts were already combining their intelligence reports and risk assessments with other data feeds in an online format. Because MedAire are uncompromising in constantly elevating their customer experiences, they identified that this was an area where improvements would be valuable.    

“The data continues to grow in its richness,” explains Jodi. “We wanted clients to be able to get the information they needed faster but to be able to digest it quickly to make decisions from a risk management standpoint.”

MedAire made the bold decision to reinvent their user experience (UX) from the ground up with a highly visual user-interface that allowed people to instantly make sense of airport, city, country and global-level information.  

That’s where MedAire’s collaboration with Journey started. We applied our user experience design expertise to make the complex simple for a mission-critical application that had to be available 24/7, 365 days a year.  

The crucial component was surfacing the data delivered via dozens of APIs (application programming interfaces) into MedAire360 in a way that made it easy to absorb in a busy flight control centre.  

To cut through the complexity, the team developed colour-coded traffic-light visual risk assessment indicators, which would give an instant gauge of travel-related risks. Where a user previously had to trawl through text reports, now they could simply click on a geographical region to see a risk assessment snapshot pop up.

Colour and contrast

The MedAire360 dashboard was given a dark colour scheme to offer suitable contrast with the indicators and map-based features.  

“Journey came up with the creative concept of what would really make sense, but also look great,” says Simon Marshall, Head of Digital, Aviation and Maritime Services at InternationalSOS.

“Throughout the development process we would engage key clients to gain feedback, which really validated the innovation that came out of this partnership,” he adds.

From weaponry risks associated with flying close to war zones and conflict regions, to airport protocols facing crew members and the logistics of travelling during a pandemic, MedAire360 has it all.  

It can even alert flight operators to emerging risks, tapping into machine learning services from Samdesk to draw in real-time and geolocated information on incidents, based on sources ranging from social media posts to news agency bulletins and even earthquake sensors to offer situational awareness.

Instant reporting features allow the visual risk assessment to be reflected in PDF reports that can be downloaded for clear communication with travels and flight planning teams.

“What we’ve achieved through this collaboration with Journey is unrivalled in the world of travel planning,” says Jodi. “We now have a dynamic, real-time platform that fits our customers’ needs and can scale up as required.”  

David Hayward
Chief marketing officer
Dave is a comic book nerd who is a marketer in that order. Channeling his surprisingly unused fine arts degree, he’s worked client and agency-side for brands (including some famous ones) in all sorts of industries including technology and sport.