Design out-loud

At Ovationtix it became a custom to receive a project with very loose project requirements that had to be hammered out with the help of my designs. A perfect example of this was the TKTS project. I was told that Ovationtix would be partnering with TKTS to help their clients sell more tickets. I understood what TKTS was from a consumer point of view and I understood the relationship Ovationtix had with their theater clients.

My first prototype reflected that knowledge.

Manipulated discount feature so that certain discounts would be open one specific point of purchase.

Manipulated discount feature so that certain discounts would be open one specific point of purchase.


I merged the three relationships I was aware of together in way that appeared seamless. Using Axure, I prototyped the ability to apply percentage discounts to various tickets, manipulating a feature Ovationtix already had. I recieved feedback from my development team that the way in which I had invisoned to manipulate the discount feature for TKTS wouldn’t work.

Applying discount to seating chart

Applying discount to seating chart

Upon showing this same prototype to the TKTS Timesquare manager I learned about more business rules for TKTS specifically. I received financial reports, I learned more about the relationship that TKTS has with theaters and how they anticipated Ovationtix to operate with that established relationship. My findings required more reflection from the project’s stakeholders, brainstorming sessions with my developers on how we would facilitate TKTS business decisions and how their requested financial reports could be generated by our system.

I kept the second prototype internal void of financial reports.

I learned that different locations offered tickets based on the time of the show. Brooklyn was the only location you could purchase next day, matinee shows.

I learned that different locations offered tickets based on the time of the show. Brooklyn was the only location you could purchase next day, matinee shows.

It was my first stab based on all the new information I received. The purpose of this project was to make it really easy to make the remaining seats of a show available to TKTS on the day of the show. Traditionally they would run physical tickets to TKTS which meant that the theater couldn’t sell the tickets or they’d risk double booking a seat. Using Ovationtix they would both have access to sell the same seats, first come, first served. The theater at full price and TKTS at a discount that the theater had chosen. They could also put more seats up for sale to TKTS if they saw that the show was selling well through TKTS.

Fine-tuned the interfaces

Fine-tuned the interfaces

The third prototype covered the full spectrum of creating and selling TKTS tickets

With a full understanding of each companies part I took a stab at designing the interface for making the TKTS feature open to an approved theater client. Along with the creation TKTS tickets, making them available to TKTS, giving TKTS personnel access to OvationTix to sell tickets, and how money would exchange hands between all three entities.

Kudos to accountants, designing financial reports gives the concepts of “form follows function” a run for it’s money.

The presentation of the third prototype triggered another conversation between the CEOs of Ovationtix and TKTS. Where they made another vitale business rule. They had agreed that OvationTix would get a percentage from each ticket TKTS sold and that they would be paid by TKTS. The fourth prototype was already in the works and the financial reports were still being hammered out for checks and balances all the while being built by the development team with the promise of going live in two weeks.

That business rule changed and touched everything and set the project back another 8 weeks.

Final Design | TKTS Active for show

Final Design | TKTS Active for show

The final prototype I created reflected the fine tunes but the business rule touched upon the financial reports and how money exchanged hands behind the scenes.

My prototypes helped to convey very important business rules in a tangible manner

The various prototypes along with the back and forth helped to prepare client services to answer questions and train theater clients who had already been approved to use the new TKTS feature. The entire development team and project holders learned valuable information about legacy code that Ovationtix was running on and provided us an opportunity to clean up some operations.

Prototypes don’t simply convey ideas, they help users think out-loud.