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Baggage Reclaim

How to change behavior and experience around the baggage reclaim belt of Schiphol Airport




“ To design interventions : start small, observe, analyze and iterate ”

The past few weeks, we focused on the passengers automatic behaviour of crowding and how to disrupt it. The first step was to determine the current situation by mapping the passengers movement within the reclaim hall
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Through this observation, few behavioral patterns were underlined. The first is the fact that the passengers try to avoid the bigger crowd when they crowd around the belt. Also they tend to make micro lines as soon as the baggages arrive at the belt. We observed that when a amount of passengers have already received their baggage the remaining part, gets very anxious and start overlapping each others field of comfort.

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-19-24-48To better understand what lead individual to crowd while waiting and what this automatic behaviour triggers as emotions and feelings, we looked for previous researches on the subject. One of the main findings was that every individual has a field of comfort and a field of influence. The field of influence acts like a magnetic field which attracts individual when their field of comfort overlap. If the field of comfort is independent of the field of influence of another, theres no interaction. And if to much field of comfort overlap, it creates uncomfort and anxiety.
screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-12-57-55As a result of this literature review, few guidelines were used to conceptualise our design interventions.

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Notably, we observed the limits of the goal we wanted to achieve : decreasing the crowd. Indeed, the reclaim area is a defined space where a variable amount of passengers transit. For those reasons, we can’t decrease the crowd, we can only organise or entertain. As a follow up we did a boundary shifting exercise to come up with different angels for prototyping a solution.

We have used the method by individually search for settings where design interventions where made to adjust the urban or personal setting of a space to enhance the experience.

img_67f84Because we can not test our ideas in the reclaim area, we first started in a smaller environment where we have observed the same situation as in the reclaim area. Which is that people crowd around their main goals, since they have no direct sense of direction. This area is the kitchen of Medialab Amsterdam which is used by different people.


As a first prototype we tried to suggest Medialabers to follow vinyl dots we put on the floor as signage for each main point of interest (coffee machine, sink, locker and plate). When the area was not so busy the experiment went pretty well but as soon as, the space start to be crowded or that another strong point of interest such as a grocery bag is introduced, the dot path wasn’t respected anymore.

Following the dots

To turn this intervention into a more persuasive one, we put lines between the dots to trace a really clear path to the point of interest. We observed that the lines were too small to be considered as a path and were more considered as a corridor.


Through interviews with users, we realised that the past experiences had a big influence on individual behavior and that the intervention should be at the same eye level as the strongest point of interest, for us, the baggage belt. In the next days, we are planning to design new interventions but this time in a real scale setting, the baggage reclaim!

Beforehand, we will also test the concepts themselves with the help of our customizable persona and see if the intervention can have a positive impact on all kind of passengers. This customisable persona is based on our past desk research and validated by our target group.


Verifying our persona with the target group to see if he can finds himself in the persona.


To be continued…

“Small interventions can make a big difference”









For this sprint, we had the chance to participate in a Lego Serious Play workshop held by Katinka Bergema, a design researcher from TU Delft.

The intention of the Workshop was to make the problem around the baggage reclaim area tangible, and set out our visions separately and together. To form a whole together. To see if new ideas come to light and situations haven’t thought of yet.

unknown-5_720-copyAfter getting to know how to work with Lego, we started by constructing individually our current vision of the baggage reclaim area. For example, Adinda put on the left side of her display animals representing passengers behaviors in the reclaim area. They are all pushing each others in order to get their baggage as fast as they can. On the right side, she made her ideal version of the reclaim area. Passengers are humans again and behaving consciously. The pink cake represents the product the team could make to enhance the passenger experience in the baggage reclaim are.

For Tomoko, the figure in the center embodies the current baggage reclaim situation : he is trapped by a web in front of the belt as the passengers. They can’t move freely as all their attention is focused constantly on the belt. Around, she displayed her ideal version of the baggage reclaim experience : passengers have a playful and relaxed moment while they still can have a look on their baggages from higher seats.

The next step was to put together all our ideal version in one setting. This step was quite complex ; we all had to make compromises to combine our ideas and propose one unique and homogeneous version.
Sometimes for this you need to see things from another perspective…

And small changes can make a big difference.



For example, by removing the crowns we put on the top of each figures and adding hat or ponytail instead, the atmosphere of the baggage reclaim changed completely. By putting crowns, we wanted to make passengers valued but at the same time, they were all looking the same and not individual anymore. With different hairstyles, we managed to make them all different and valued as an individual.



We finally agreed on this last display combining all our ideals but also adding new ideas such as fluorescent pin points driving the passengers attention out of the belt and proposing an alternative and more individualized flow. We also added an after-baggage reclaim area to propose a more extended and complete version of our display.

The final step was to put small green flags on each element a team member thinks he/she can add value or expertise.

This workshop was a really nice and intense moment for our team. It helped us to visualize while playing how we can impact on the baggage reclaim current situation and to verbalize while making our own understanding and ideal version of the area.


 “Gamification could very well simulate the experience of the baggage reclaim process and stimulate feedback from both the target group and stakeholders.”

Makersprint Presentation

Within this makersprint we created a game for the users of our prototype to let them feel what is is like to be in the shoes of our found target groups. To challenge them to share their empathic emotions and past experiences of going through the baggage reclaim process.

Define Destination
This semester we will be working on the improvement of the baggage reclaim process on Schiphol airport. In this makersprint the goal is to get to know the available equipments and start untangling our assignment. We will be making our first prototype in just a few days.

Methods used

  • Desk Research
  • Brainstorm Session
  • Persona
  • Low Fidelity Prototyping
  • User Testing
  • High Fidelity Prototyping

Makersprint Brainstorm session

Flight around the web
To kick it off, we started with our first team brainstorm session. By writing everything down we could come up with around the Schiphol Baggage reclaim process. After this we discussed what we were missing and filled this up with some desk-research and customer experience reviews found online. As a next step we divided everything into categories, pinpointing the topics we could use in our the makers sprint. To get a clear overview we mapped it all on the window, which gave us the insight that we should focus on the user experience of the baggage reclaim process.

Defining User Problems

After brainstorming, we decided to make a board game basing the rules and game personas on our found research. Classifying their purpose and situating in the placement on the gameboard.  The purpose of the game is to create an opportunity to discuss the experiences in the baggage reclaim area and experience how other passengers feel in each situation.

“The baggage reclaim area is like a desert. A place where no brand new inventions are around. Just simply getting your baggage and get out. It is a challenge to come up with something to make this small but important piece of travelling something to remember. It is the last part of the airport with no one but travelers, it is the last thing that still makes you a little part of the “flight world”.

Crossing Borders
Broading equipment knowledge at the Makerslab. To go into the realisation process of our idea, we had to decide which equipments we’re going to use. To gain as much knowledge of the equipments as possible we made the disision to use multiple equipments each.

First Prototype!

Equipments Used
Laser printer & cutter; Base of Board game & Character Tokens
Foam cutter; Suitcases
Vinyl printer; Board Signing
Conventional printer; Game Cards

Software Used
Adobe Illustrator; Design of Board game & Tokens’
Adobe Indesign; Design of Game Cards

Checking out
At the end of this sprint we concluded we would take this board to the next level in our next sprint. Since it has proven itself to be a worthy method to connect ourselves to the assignment and the target group.

  • Players really enjoyed the game and found the situations written on the card funny and close to what they have experienced.
  • People like an oral explanation better than printed instructions
  • The game was perceived as funny and valuable
  • A great tool to engage meaningful discussions
  • New insight possibilities for future research