Guest Post: Designing a UI with travel disruption in mind

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Guest Post: Designing a UI with travel disruption in mind

Our Product Manager, Neil Chalk, wrote this post. To find out more about Neil, you can follow him on Twitter or read his blog Part of the Process.

Our first post “Optimising your notification testing process” discussed how our next-generation user interface (UI) has changed the way users can test and send passenger notifications – making the whole process much simpler and smoother.

But as well as making it easier to test, we also wanted streamline how to organise and find content to send using categorisation.


We’re designing with travel disruption in mind.

Often, users come to the 15below platform during stressful events – strike, storm or other IROPs disruption. Under pressure and against the clock, they need to get the right information to staff and passengers fast, to minimise confusion and any potential social media backlash.

Designing the UI with disruption in mind drives two of 15below's guiding principles:  

  • Simplicity to understand, use and navigate to the information users need quickly and easily during stressful or pressured situations.
  • Flexibility to manage the organisation and accessibility of every piece of notification content according to each customer’s business requirements.

To categorise our content, we have relied on naming conventions, recognisable by business meaning, and a group membership model to filter content.

Folders or tags?

This is often the question for software development teams when making categorisation more powerful. And we're no different. We looked at both.

With hashtags becoming popular in consumer culture, software like Instagram has enabled us to understand the benefits of tagging for content categorisation. So we went with tags because they’re simple and flexible. It means if a user needs a piece of content to be available for both schedule change and IROPS, they can simply tag it for both.

We also felt it was important to carry these tags throughout the content creation process. As the user builds a notification, the platform intuitively filters the content based on the category it is working in.

Based on encouraging feedback we’ve seen so far, our goal is to eventually extend this into other user journeys as well.

Visual Highlights

When stress is high, visual cues can help guide the user to the content they need, much faster than having to scan reams of text.

Based on information held within the backend, we built a visual language useful to the user using icon-colour combinations to denote send channels. We also provided the ability to filter on this, along with tagging.

This visual language is now available in other parts of the system, providing useful cues from notification send to reporting - rather than a sea of monochrome text, we have shape, structure, and a splash of colour helping the instinctive feeling of "does this look right?”.


To help bring categorisation all together, the final piece in the puzzle was presets.

Presets are options that remember the configuration for notifications used on a regular basis, saving the user a huge amount of time setting up notifications.

And, by only displaying options relevant to the job at hand, presets become another way of categorising content. This helps minimise the risk of mistakes, especially where data filters and settings for one business process might not apply to another.

The following quotes show how these are great for tying together the content and its use:

"Love the presets, this will be very beneficial for the crew support team using the system around the clock in order to streamline processes and prevent errors when a major IROP occurs"

"The send process is a lot slicker and quicker – really like the idea of the presets. The team send out using four templates for Same Day Cancellation. Now they can set up four presets to use instead. It will help avoid errors caused in the past by people selecting the wrong filter options and gives them greater peace of mind – especially when they’re using it round the clock"

To find out more about the 15below notifications platform, or about managing your notification content more effectively, please get in touch.  

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