Delta Ticket Redesign

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When Jan to April 2016

My Role Research, Ideation, Sketching. 

The Task


We were tasked with redesigning the Delta ticket/Boarding Pass. To draw inspiration and learn about the issues in the world, we started with the real world ticket.

Key issues here are:

  • There is no clear hierarchy of information.
  • Who is the information meant for?
  • Users care about and are very confused by the difference between Zones, Gates and Boarding times and Flight numbers.
  • Layovers are stressful and these tickets do not reduce that stress.
  • Information specific to the destination airport such as landing gate is not present.
  • The ticket is not aesthetically pleasing.



We spoke to people, read complaint forums and did imaginary airport walkthroughs. We really wanted to empathize with the end users of the tickets.

While redesigning, a restriction we placed on ourselves was to retain all the information in the original ticket. Without this, it was easy to make the ticket easy on the eyes, but every piece of text was vital to the boarding process and it was unrealistic to drop anything.

Overall, the theme in both our eventual designs was a specific organization of all of the information:

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We also kept in mind that the ticket is a physical entity that is a part of the environment of the airport. Passengers are often stressed and confused while trying to find their gate. In addition, these individuals must keep track of a number of other items, in addition to children. In the midst of this bustle, passengers often feel the need to recheck their ticket. Finally, we noticed that the ticket serves as a representation of the Delta brand. We have tried to establish branding with subtle use of color and layout.


To Begin: Divergent Thinking


To begin, we utilized divergent thinking to come up with many possible ideas for our ticket redesign. The point of this was not just to come up with good ideas, but to also get the “bad ideas out”, allowing us to understand what would and wouldn’t work. Below is a collection of the initial concepts we drew up using pencil, paper, and a strict time limit.

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This sketching method allowed us to work through the issues surrounding the use and design of a flight ticket. Through this exercise, we were able to gain a better sense of what made a boarding pass easy to use, without getting caught up in the details. The final design inspirations are outlined in red.


Initial and iterated design


The first sketched designs were all about organizing the information we knew about pre-existing boarding pass use. Our sketches focused on boxing out different pieces of data. As we made more of them, we moved toward alternate representations to make a friendlier experience.

Those designs then served as low-fi prototypes that were used to get further feedback from users. These were also critiqued by a panel of designers. Based on the input, we then moved on to recreating the sketches in InDesign. “Initial Design A” and “Initial Design B” are a result of that work. 



Initial Design A : For the frequent flier


Design A focuses on information categorization. There are three major portions: trip information, boarding information, and official information. We also made use of typography to establish a hierarchy. This particular design was developed with frequent fliers in mind.

Revised Design A

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In response to the critique, we minimized the usage of red banners which were difficult to read. We also moved the layover graphic to the top of the left hand side to make it more prominent. We reversed the font types in the center section so the information is more bold than the title. Also, bright red text is has negative associations, so this presentation is more calming.

DESIGN B: For the not so frequent flier

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This design focuses on the infrequent flyer. They need more guidance when it comes to travel information. They also tend to recheck the ticket several times during the travel. There are two sections here. The left portion of the ticket contains all the information about the trip in a easy-to-read format. The right section can be torn off to provide easily accessible reminders while on the move.

Revised Design B- type 1 for adults


The overall design of the card-sized section was refined to make the design language more consistent. Again we minimized use of red banners which led to a more refined appearance.

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While wallet cut-outs work well for adults, they don’t benefit children. So we were prompted to create a version for younger guests. The bottom portion is designed to peel off and be used as a wristband.

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Final designs in the wild

Design A

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Design B

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