There are a lot of unique enterprise tools at Ticketmaster, and one of them can price a special allotment of tickets called "Platinum."
The image above shows what Platinum pricing specialists were using before we gave them an updated tool. As you can see, it is a glorified spreadsheet. Despite how awful this may look to the designer, this old, outdated tool was working for the users and served as another testament to the fact that users hate change as you will see in more detail further along in this case study.
The critical issue with the previous tool was that to do your job; you needed a list of all the events that have Platinum tickets and a seat map. Before the new tool was developed, users had to open the previous tool in one browser tab and then open Ticketmaster.com in another tab browser. Users suffered mightily from frequent context switching with the old tool.
The Product Team had written several documents to describe the user stories and functional requirements for the redesign process. Due to NDA restrictions, I cannot show examples of the business requirement documents here. I developed a cadence of meeting with the Product Manager daily for design check-ins to clarify my understanding of the requirements, brainstorm ideas, discuss key user stakeholder feedback and share design ideas.
The User Research team had completed both a series of recorded user interviews and a robust user persona for the Pricing Specialist persona. Due to NDA restrictions, I cannot show examples of the user research and user persona documents here.
The site map was actually pretty easy as the app had two key pages:
1. Event List
2. Event Detail Page
The user journey can best described as the following:
1. Locate event that requires pricing attention
2. View Event Detail Page
3. Review pricing for Platinum Seats on Seat Map
4. Adjust inventory or pricing
I completed several stages of whiteboard sessions with the following stakeholders:
3. Key Users
Here are several iterations of the Event List page.
Here is the final Event List design
Much better, right? It certainly "looks" better, but users voiced their concern loud and clear that they didn't like the new line graph and here's why. Retake a look at the old tool.
For those of us that have the inglorious task of attempting to make pleasant looking tools for enterprise users, there is one basic human desire that is difficult to design your way around - resistance to change. If you look at the highlighted column above, it's not pleasant to look at all. I would rather drink motor oil than have to look at this every day at work, but the users of this tool have developed muscle memory habits over a long period where they were able to scan the numbers in this column quickly, process the information and then determine which events need attention.
Literally, product, design and even engineering were all in lockstep that a line graph was a much better way to present this information than staring at three numbers in a row inside a column, but the users had a tough time coming to terms with this new approach so much so that we had to release the initial version of the original event list without the line graph.
From there, I had to go on a charm offensive to persuade key members of the user community to at least give it a try. It took two solid months of polite persistence, but between the product manager and I, we were finally able to get the line graph version into production, and after about 15 days, users began to like using the line graph much better. Another key to building trust was that users started to use the updated tool and saw how much easier the tool was to use outside of just the line graph element.
Here are several iterations of the Event Detail Page.
Here is the final design.
The above is one of literally hundreds of explorations I completed during my 12 months as the Lead Product Designer for this product. In short, what was new for the user was the fact that both a seat map (image above) and the event list (images above this one) were brought together inside the same pricing tool application. It was a tremendous engineering challenge, but we were ultimately successful in getting this updated product into production. Here the user could also do the following:
- Filter seats based on several critical factors
- Select by seat, row or section
- Modify pricing or hold status
There is so much to talk through regarding the unique nature of this application, but I only want to provide a quick review here so you can get a taste for my experience designing enterprise applications that users love.
I recognize that most concert-goers are not planning ticker-tape parades when they hear that Ticketmaster revenue has increased, but if you want to be a successful a product designer, you need to design applications that demonstrate how design can lead to real revenue results. Although there were a few bumps along the way, I was able to iterate on my designs quickly, successfully align with engineering, validate design concepts with users before handing in work and successfully negotiate with the product team to get key design objectives onto the roadmap.