Katie Lamp

Boeing Toolbox Mobile Library Aircraft Selector




Original Design – Very small workspace

Toolbox Mobile Library is a Boeing iPad app that enables mechanics and engineers at airlines to access maintenance manuals as they work, without the need for a wireless connection. Often they are inside a plane or hangar with poor connectivity. Viewing the correct manual data is dependent on selecting a specific aircraft from the fleet, and is the first interaction for the user when they open the app.

Users had been requesting a larger area to filter and select airplanes. In my initial research into the user group, I discovered that there were some environmental issues that would affect how the mechanics used the app: they often were wearing gloves, and could be in nearly complete darkness if the maintenance was taking place overnight. Additionally, discussing with a Boeing SME, were demographic issues. Mechanics as a group were getting older and in general needed larger viewable areas to deal with decreasing vision.


With knowledge about the users and how important it was to select the correct plane, I started by creating sketches of a larger interactive space, and building a filter by fleet (for multi-airline operators), major, and minor models.

Early design, 1st step
Early design, 1st step, showing minor models
Early design, 2nd step
Early design, showing search filtering

The maintenance organization at Boeing is lucky to have access to a Customer Advisory Board, made up of end users, engineers, and document managers from various airlines.

When I had mockups ready to go, I was able to present them to the CAB members in a seminar held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

CAB members and mockup printouts
Having access to a plotter printer allowed paper versions of the mockups that the users were encouraged to mark with their comments

After the feedback from the CAB session, one of the big takeaways for me was the request to change the process from a 2-step, 2 screen selection, and reduce the interaction to have all the drilling down on the same screen.

Early mockup of 1-screen approach

While conducting validation with users, this design prompted another request – to allow the user to customize their view. Depending on the airline, they may use different unique identifiers in their work, so they wouldn’t need to see tail number every time, for example.

Taking shape…
Showing an example of the column customization interaction
Finalized Visual Design
Example of deliverable to dev team