Case Study: Share and Tear

An app that simplifies door ticketing, provides security, and needs no scanners.

Created: July 2015

Platform: iOS

Role: Product Designer, Visual Designer

Objective

In 2015 TicketBiscuit recognized a large unserved market for online ticketing: high school sports. The barrier to entry was the complexity of most online ticketing services. While online ticketing is intended to be convenient for users, it creates a lot of hassle for small event organizers, especially in this particular market. We realized this demographic didn’t want to use scanners, for instance. Ultimately, if we could create a product as simple as tearing ticket stubs, we could serve this market. Share and Tear was designed from this idea. The user simply downloads tickets to our app, and literally swipes to “tear” them at the door. The door man confirms the tear. Additionally, the app needed to maintain this minimal functionality offline.

Research

I conducted contextual observations at a high school football game. I paid particular attention to the gate volunteers tearing tickets. This helped our team confirm an important requirement: maintain the simplicity of ticket stubs.

We introduced one additional requirement based on these observations: put the power of tearing and validating the ticket into the hands of the customer, not the gatekeeper.

I conducted some contextual interviews at this football game also, which would help us flesh out our personas later. Students and parents alike wanted a feature we didn’t account for.

Requirements weren’t obvious until after conducting the interviews, but if the tickets are digital, they can and should be shareable.

I made provisional personas for athletic directors, coaches, parents, students, and, gate volunteers. The Share and Tear product focused on the latter three, as athletic directors and coaches have similar needs to the clients we were already serving in other markets. Students and parents wanted a share feature. Ticket volunteers wanted an ticket stack that was easy to read and sort through. Putting the power of tearing tickets in the user hands could satisfy all three personas as it would speed up the process of getting into the event.

An abridged storyboard of the tear feature
An abridged storyboard of the share feature

Usability Testing

Our MVP included an event list, and a ticket view. The ticket view allowed users to tear one ticket, or tear all.

The initial usability test involved tasking subjects to find their tickets for two seperate events from the event list, in one test, they tore all tickets, in the other test, they were asked to tear multiple individual tickets.

The initial user tests validated the overall layout. The biggest blind side was that users had no clear indication that they could tear their tickets. They also didn’t realize that they could scroll through tickets.

Stakeholder Requirements

After research and iteration, there were several important business requirements for version one of the app. First, we wanted tearing to be available offline, as many of the high schools we served were in areas with unreliable LTE coverage. Second, we wanted to keep things simple based on the research and development time, so users were allowed to share one ticket, share all tickets, tear one ticket, or tear all tickets. This prevented granularity and the bugs that might come with it.

Final Iteration of v1

Finalizing v1 mostly consisted of incorporating branding and making meaningful sense of the visual layout. Using the findings from our usability tests, I made several small and important changes.

Left: Two tickets shared to a user. Middle: a Swipe gesture to share tickets. Right: An event coming up shortly.

Some changes to the ticket screen included making an individual tear more discoverable. Also, I put a caution modal up to prevent accidentally validating tickets. Finally, tests and research revealed a need a for a timestamp showing both that the ticket was validated, as well as when it was validated.

Lastly, in order to reduce mental strain, I colored the share screen different so that it was in a “state” seperate from the normal ticket screens.

Share Tickets is treated as a state, and a button appears once a valid email is put in.

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Tait Wayland

Product Designer and Technologist. Interested in the intersection of data science, AI, and user experience.