Dan Ostrowski

Graduate Student Work

Future Flight Deck Interactions


Project Overview

In the fall of 2010 I entered into the University of Washington's Masters of Design Program focusing on Interaction Design. Throughout my duration, I was lucky enough to work as the Interaction Design and Research Lead with my advisor Axel Roesler on his ongoing project with the Boeing Flight Deck Concept Center.

Collaborating with industry experts at the Boeing FDCC, I developed design concepts grounded in the integration between new interaction technologies, workflows of flight operations, and the physical environment of the flight deck as work setting. Demonstrated and tested design concepts through the creation of design prototypes ranging in fidelity from single screen paper printout wireframe progressions to six screen system animations demonstrated on a full scale mock-up flight deck.


Stages of focus 

Working with expert practitioners in a complex area typically involves a steep learning curve. Luckily, I had been exposed to this type of environment before with my work at Henry Dreyfuss Associates and our close association with a prominent agricultural machinery company. I knew I had to learn about the contextual requirements being placed on the operator, their cognitive load, and the spatial relationships of information. Our approach was guided both by industrial and interaction design/ux best practices and I structured my integration into the project through the following areas of focus.



Fall 2010 - Spring 2011

The T-Shape Conceptualization phase focused on three major areas: initial and refined wireframe developments of system characteristics and concepts, physical prototype developments of the working environment, and the development of industrial design concepts for the flight deck. During this phase, all design concepts in these three areas shared a T-shaped display layout that structured the design approach. 

Initial System Integration

Winter 2011 - Summer 2011

During this stage we used the Right Engine Fire Checklist as a test for our interface progression, which advanced our concepts, and were then reflected in the modification of the physical prototype and ID concepts. 

Concept Refinement 

Spring 2011 – Summer 2011 

During this stage, team members Minarsch and Landes focused on refining their Master’s Thesis work that addressed aspects of the concept design work that was ongoing at that point. Minarsch produced his final flight deck control and environment concept and Landes produced his final dynamic energy visualization concept. Ongoing refinement of the interface as a whole also continued based on the feedback from the video prototype developed during intial system integration phase.. 

Overhead Panel Exploration 

Summer 2011 – Winter 2012 

This stage was marked by our inclusion of the overhead systems panel into our interface concept, and a change of team members, with Daniya Ulgen replacing Minarsch and Landes. We modified the physical prototype to include the overhead systems panel and developed a series of new concepts investigating a new configuration for the panel and a reassessment of its role during flight operations and how it could be better integrated into the system  

Overhead Panel Concept


Overall Systems Integration / Design Process Analysis 

Winter 2012 – Spring 2012 

This stage was marked by the development of our second Rapid Paper Video Prototype demonstrating our overall system integrations and our transition to green screen prototype development. This stage also included the development of my Master's Thesis, in which I conducted an examination of our design process, methods, and techniques applied during the course of the flight deck project. 

Emergency Checklist Concept


Thesis Writing / Digital Display Mock-up Industrial Design Explorations 

Summer 2012 - Fall 2012

During my final stage of involvement with this project I focused my attention on writing my thesis as a reflection on the design process. I also developed and built of a full-scale plywood flight deck complete with six working monitors to complete the series of incremental prototyping discussed in this thesis. The new mock-up with working displays will serve for the next stage of interface development that will begin in fall quarter 2012. During summer quarter 2012 ID graduate students Nelson and Rollins began working on developing new concepts for the flight deck environment and served as the replacement for Ulgen who graduated with a Bachelor in Interaction Design in June 2012. My final contribution to this project came in the form of another flight operations walkthrough with animated displays in the new flight deck mock-up. 



Related Work