Jake Doering - Product Designer
Strategy and background

Design Exercise | Boarding Pass

While air travel booking has grown in popularity over the years, the check-in process is still confusing and full of user frustration. Design an optimized experience of boarding a flight with a mobile ticket.

Strategy and background

Strategy and background

Though my process would usually start with design research – need-finding and empathy building – this wouldn't be the best use of time for a short exercise. For this project, my strategy and understanding of the market will rely on the following assumptions instead.



My problems and the problems of a small sample of friends represent the problems of all users.

My intuition reflects the preferences and behavior of all users.

All data problems are solved (i.e. getting gate info, directions to a specific gate, pulling flight info from email...).

The problems I choose to design for are the right problems to solve.


Defining the problem

Problems to solve include issues I see with the existing solution (below), and the following pain points from the lives of myself and close friends:

"When should I leave?"

"Where's the gate?"

"Where's my ticket/which ticket is for today?"

"How do I communicate to someone picking me up from my destination?"



State of affairs: a ubiquitous tool, with user-facing problems.

State of affairs: a ubiquitous tool, with user-facing problems.

The most commonly used tool for airport check-in, Apple Wallet, changed the game as the first widely adapted mobile wallet.

Still, it fails users in preventable ways.

Why do old, expired tickets pop up instead of the usable ticket when you're scanning at the gate – holding up the line and making the user panic when there's an error? (This has happened to me more than a few times.)

Assets like credit cards need to stick around. But there are no obvious reasons for a scannable, expired plane ticket to do so. 

Gate information is crucial when you're in a hurry to make a flight, yet commonly omitted from the interface. Can't we do better?




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