Boarding Pass/Fail


4 of 5 stars
What’s this?

This project has been up for quite a while but I’m only coming across it now: Tyler Thompson undertakes a hypothetical redesign of flight boarding passes. His original proposal is quite interesting, but what’s even better is the round-robin of alternative designs proposed by readers. Some of them are quite smart. My favorite is this “human boarding pass” from Graphicology.

See the whole lot of them here.

  1. While the design is nice, I think having it in sentence structure makes it harder to scan, which is really all you do with a boarding pass. Plus, don’t make me do the math in 24-hour time format. 😛

  2. the idea is really interesting but, as Ben already spotted, it’s difficult to scan (even more when you are running carrying 3 bags in an unknown airport) and it also adds the problem of localization: you will need the ticket printed in the language of preference of the user. I personally prefer the “Wallet sized” because of the size, the easy-to-understand icons and the logic sequence of information (departure info, flight info, destination info).

  3. Actually I agree with the human version being more usable. Here’s why: The graphic versions are of course more visually interesting. But they’re not necessarily easier to scan and parse. The information I need as a traveler is actually a little overwhelmed by the vitality of the presentation. In a way, some look like information about a complex system, and the traveler might feel a little more stressed as result (so many numbers, so many codes). Airline travel is frequently nerve wracking… The sentences framing the information convey a personal, almost comforting quality.

  4. Amelia, I’m not saying today’s boarding pass is easier to scan, but I don’t think this example does a very good job. When you have a set of data, it’s often easiest to scan in a grid format, where the descriptor is in the left column and the piece of data is in the right column. Sure, the sentence-format is more personable and comforting, but I’m not sure those are needed on a boarding pass.

    It’s been a web trend for a while to include main or sub navigation links like that in a sentence, but I don’t think it works here, because the audience is different and just trying to get where they’re going. I’m not saying this wouldn’t work, but to me it would be a little less convenient than if my flight data was laid out in a more easily scanned way.

  5. Human touch is interesting, but would at least prefer a bolder font so it’s easier to read for people who aren’t 23.

    Two things about Tyler’s designs.

    1. Though the condensed fonts are legible enough, I don’t see the point of using them on something so universal and when there is clearly sufficient space.

    2. On his second design, the map could be problematic internationally. He additionally put the locations in the right order, but geographically it’s confusing to put JFK on the left and SEA on the right.

Thank you! Your remarks have been sent to Khoi.