Brown Paper Tickets Re- Design

The Problem Space

The mobile site that we are redesigning is Brown Paper Tickets. La Jolla Playhouse at UCSD uses this website to sell their tickets. We chose this site to redesign so that our UCSD student population, the theatre department’s audience, and all the website’s users would have a better experience with booking event tickets. When conducting initial tests on the current mobile site, we found usability errors throughout the site that made finding and booking tickets very difficult. There were outdated events, no easy way to select the category of event, and no cart to return to if you would like to continue shopping. 

Our Users

Our users are UCSD students who have varying levels of previous experience with purchasing event tickets. Concerts are popular events that college students attend, so it is safe to assume that students might be more biased and experienced in buying tickets online. Students, as a younger generation, are more likely to be familiar with mobile sites and therefore may have more experience with mobile interactions and purchases. As UCSD students, our users should be able to find and attend La Jolla Playhouse’s events among others when deciding what to do outside of school. We want to ensure that the experience of buying tickets is intuitive for all students with varying experiences attending ticketed events. We decided to conduct further more detailed tests in order to re-design the mobile sites largest pain points. 

Interview Plan

Before each user took part in our user testing, we started off with interview questions. We had one person ask questions, and another person taking notes on the comments and actions from our interviewee.

Our questions included: 

  • What event ticketing sites have you used before?

  • How often do you use these event sites?

  • Tell us about the last time you purchased an event ticket. What was your experience like?

User Testing Plan

After the interview questions, we began to conduct user testing. We encouraged the participants to think out loud and asked for their permission to record their interactions. While the users performed each task, we screen recorded our phones and observed their interactions with the site. One person was facilitating the tasks, and the other person took notes on a Google Doc. 

Our tasks include:

  1. Find a comedy event in Chicago during January 1-7, 2020. Book 2 tickets. 

  2. Find a free event near you in December or January, then book a single ticket. 

  3. Look for another event, change your mind and edit the original free ticket to delete it.

Post Testing Debrief 

After the users completed the three tasks, we asked them some follow up questions:

  • How was your overall experience?

  • Which task did you struggle the most with? Why do you think you struggled with that part?

  • Were you confused about anything? How did you solve it?

  • Tell us about a part that went smoothly.

Top Usability Errors

User One: 

  1. Couldn’t figure out how to change the location

  2. Couldn’t figure out how to change the date of the event

  3. Couldn’t find the cart on mobile site

User Two: 

  1. Was unable to select a specific date or time period, and was forced to scroll through all of the events

  2. Had to use the phone’s external backspace to navigate back to the previous pages

  3. Could not find his cart on the mobile site

User Three: 

  1. Couldn’t change the date and location of her search

  2. Had to scroll through all of the events to find the correct one

  3. Clicked into event that didn’t have any more tickets

User Four: 

  1. Struggled to find a way to change location

  2. Had to scroll through all of the events to find a specific date

  3. Filters would constantly reset for no reason

Component To Re-Design - Search and Filter

The tasks that our users had the most trouble completing involved the search and filtering function on the home page, so we decided to re-design that flow. 

Location Selection Tool
  • Users 1, 3, and 4 had difficulty finding out how to change the location of the event 

  • “Change location” is too small

  • If the user misspells the location, no feedback is given to correct the error

Category and Price Selection Tools
  • All four users were required to scroll through the long list of categories to get to comedy without an autocomplete function 

  • No price range selection available

Date Selection Tool
  • All of our users struggled with selecting the correct date range.

  • The available options for dates only include today, tomorrow, or this week. Users cannot select a specific date range. 

  • Previous events from many years prior also appear in the search results.

Result Errors
  • Shows outdated events from years prior

  • No signifier of sold out events

  • All the users had trouble with the filters and eventually chose to scroll through all the events that appeared.

  • They had to manually find events with the correct location, date, and genre.

Competitive Analysis

In order to ensure that our design includes all of the best tools available, we completed a competitive analysis of three of the most popular ticketing sites. We looked at the filtering features of Eventbrite, Stubhub, and Ticketmaster. We noticed that the filters were much more obvious across all of the apps, and opened up to a separate page for easier filtering. They often also provided other popular events in the area without prompting, and ways for people to sign in and save events. We wanted to combine the best features of these apps when creating our re-design.




Prototype Sketch

Home Page

Category Selection

Location Selection

Date Selection

Price Selection

Hi-Fi Prototype
Second Round User Testing
User Testing Plan


Find out if the user flows that we created aligned with the user’s mental model. We asked the user to complete one task on our prototypes and speak aloud before they took any action.

The Task:

  • Find a comedy (or concert) event in Chicago during January 1-7, 2020 under $50


  • How was your experience of finding tickets?

  • What part of the process was challenging? Why did you struggle with those parts?

  • Were you confused about anything?

  • What part did you like? Why?

How we will record responses:
We will be recording the screen to observe your interactions with our prototypes, we will also type responses and relevant interactions with our prototype. 

User Testing Analysis
  • Strengths:

    • Very intuitive and straightforward flow

    • Filters were easy to apply

    • Users liked the design choices and would use it again

  • Weaknesses:

    • User wants to see the price of each event

    • Users want more guidance on search bars 

    • User was curious why he couldn’t sort from Price: High to Low, or other sorting options.

    • There was no way to clear each filter.

Notes for Future Iterations
  • Based on user testing, we would make the following changes:

  • Display starting prices for each event on the event cards. 

  • Instead of “Search for events”, we would include an example search on the search bar, like “Comedy Show” or “December Nights”

  • Include other sorting options for the results.

  • Include a “Clear All” button for the filters.

Product Recommendation

We would recommend that Brown Paper Tickets improves their search function by reorganizing the hierarchy of filtering options, making them more discoverable. Additionally, BPT should reconsider how to make the the filters (location, date, category, price) more visually appealing and user friendly. Our Re-Design was said to be more appealing by our users, and more likely to be used in the future.