REBECKA WÄRULF

RE-DESIGNNING THE DELTA TICKET

Graphic design. Information design. User experience.

Tools: Adobe Illustrator & Adobe Photoshop.
Role: Graphic designer.


Introduction

During the course called Principles of Information Design at Georgia Institute of Technology, we had a small group project where the task was to explore and re-design a Delta flight ticket. As this might sound simple and easy, a lot of thought and care needs to be put on the design as it contains a lot of important information. Three iterations were made where focus lied on the flow of information, hierarchy, and legibility in order to produce a successful design.

Research - What do the users need?

To get into the world of Delta’s boarding cards and flight tickets, we started off by doing a comparative analysis with other tickets available. We complemented the analysis with identifying the different users of the Delta tickets. Users can range from children and novice flyers to frequent flyers, all having different views on what information that is most important for them. Notably, it’s not only the people who are on a traveling foot that use tickets, but also the employees at the airports which needs to be taken in consideration.

Currently, the Delta tickets put a lot of emphasis on the destination. For the frequent flyer user group, this might not be the information they prioritize since they usually know the shortcodes for the destinations where they are heading. On the other hand, for a novice flyer, there is a greater need for the destination and its codes. While when it comes to the employees at the airport, the main purpose of the ticket for them is to identify the traveler and to have an easily accessible barcode for scanning. The importance of the different elements of information differs for each user group, while when designing the flight ticket, all the different needs have to be taken into consideration.

Ideation

Trough brainstorming and initial hand drawn sketches, we refined the sketches using Photoshop or Illustrator for the ones we thought had the most potential. As they are the first iteration of the design, we could find flaws and points for improvement.


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In one of our first design, the information ended up clustered with no clear hierarchy.


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In this early design, too thick lines are used which draws away the attention from the actual information. The hierarchy also needs to be adjusted.


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The boxes and lines make the information seem clustered and does not give the ticket an even flow. Also lack of a clear hierarchy in this design.


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For one of our first drafts, we explored the function of having a ticket that could be foldable or tearable to give users the possibility of customizing the tickets after their own needs.


Iterations

The designs in our first draft lacked a clear hierarchy and an even flow of the information. The order the information was presented didn’t really make any sense for any of the user groups.

For the first iteration, we put more focus on making the ticket’s hierarchy and flow of information clearer. White space was used instead of lines and boxes to make the information less clustered and put focus and attention to the actual information. One point of interest for the iterations was at what time while travelling the users would want what kind of information. We ended up working with what we called “pre-gate information” and “post-gate information”. We continued to look at the ticker as a way to display a journey in order to understand how the hierarchy and flow of information would best be displayed.


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For this design, white space is explored as a divider instead of lines and boxes. Here the focus lied on using a grid system to divide the information.


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We initially liked the idea that the ticket could be customized by every traveler’s needs. If you know your flight and where you are going, you might only need the middle part. Having it foldable also makes it easier to store the ticket in the passport or wallet. However, we still end up with a clustered feeling of the information and the lack of an even flow.


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In this draft, we also tried to work more with white space and flow. The hierarchy needs to be adjusted since, for example, the boarding time comes before the terminal.


Final draft


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Our final draft for the re-design of the Delta ticket.

For the last iteration, we used and combined the different successful parts of each different draft from the previous iterations. By using arrows, we divided the information into pre-terminal, pre-gate and post-gate parts. A lot of focus was put on how to divide the different parts of information with a goal to create it as a journey in a way. By thinking of the actual journey, a traveler do at an airport, and in what order each information is needed, was what lied ground to our ticket design. We played around with color and contrast to create a smoother flow of the information, where the middle part with the pre-gate information becomes like a transition part. White space is used more successfully, making it easy to look at leading to the information not looking clustered.


Reflection and my learnings

During this project, I’ve learned a lot concerning how to create a flow of information, working with hierarchy and using white space instead of lines and boxes. What I have noticed is that information that seems to be easily displayed and mediated, usually has an underlying complexity. The challenge is in displaying which information where, in which order, in what size and so on with an even flow and balance. Initially re-designing a boarding ticket might not sound so complicated, but it is a lot of information and parts to consider how it needs to be displayed.

When it comes to learning, I have improved my visual skills as well as my skills in the visualization of information. I have learned how to use visual elements in aid to convey a flow for the information. I got to work a lot in especially Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign which let me improve my skills in the software. It was a fun project where I could improve my individual skills as well as working in a group with a common goal and agreeing on design decisions.