We have a subscription model which allows you to book tickets at a reduced price.

Currently when you try to book a ticket on our site, after having chosen your number and type of passengers (children, youth, adults, seniors), you are asked to check a box asking "subscribed passengers?" and an extra step will be added to your booking path, where you will be asked, for each passenger you've added, to say which one is subscribed.

This is a little clumsy and lengthy, especially since our subscribed users are, by definition, returning customers who want to book their tickets as fast as possible.

We had the idea of including the subscription tags at the same level as youth/child/adult/senior, in the following way (this is just a mockup): enter image description here

Some people in the team are worried that this may confuse "normal" users who aren't subscribed. Do you think this is a risk, or would the change be good practice? How would you test something like this?

  • What is the criterium determining whether the user is subscribed or not? Do they need to log in? Do the subscribed users differentiate by age? I'd see the subscribers as sort of privileged users and present them a different selection menu with subscribers first and a possibility to buy tickets for non-subscribers (relatives, friends, etc.).
    – Mike
    Apr 5, 2017 at 11:57
  • Hello @Mike, a subscription is bought at a high price for a duration of 6-12 months. You don't need to be logged in to buy subscription tickets, but you do need to fill your name during the booking process (and it will be checked against your subscription by the train manager).
    – Brachamul
    Apr 5, 2017 at 13:59
  • can you describe the logic behind this system, please? All concerns train tickets. If I understand it correctly, it works as follows: 1) I have subscription for myself, if I buy the ticket for myself, I add 1 adult ticket, check for subscription, enter my name (provided "Mike" is unique enough) and I'm done. 2) I have subscription for myself. I want to but the ticket for myself, my partner and kids. I add respective number of tickets, check one adult as subscription, enter my name and I'm done... Continued on next comment
    – Mike
    Apr 5, 2017 at 19:52
  • ...continuation from previous comment: 3) I have subscription for myself and one of my kids. I want to but the ticket for myself, my partner and kids. I add respective number of tickets, select which ones are subjected to subscription, enter the subscription details (I hope I don't make any mistake) and I should be done. Is this correct?
    – Mike
    Apr 5, 2017 at 19:54

3 Answers 3


How about writing a program to do the job?

Considering the user is logged-in into the system and the system recognizes subscription type - try using this:

Obviously, you can think of some creative way to represent it, this is just to convey my thought.

enter image description here

Based on the number of subscriptions the subscriber is eligible for, the system will automatically apply the benefits.

And the final amount will be displayed with differences.

  • Thanks @Dipak. This is a good idea, but one requirement is that people should be able to buy tickets without being logged in.
    – Brachamul
    Apr 5, 2017 at 14:01
  • @Brachamul How would the system know if the non-logged-in user has subscribed?
    – MPJ
    Apr 5, 2017 at 16:02

I can easily see people confused by your second image. If I'm bringing another person on a business trip who is a senior - which box do I tick? Do I select both of them? How about if I'm bringing 3 people. One is a senior who is a business subscriber and one is my wife who is an adult?

More to the point, why even have this screen at all? Have a screen where they fill out the passenger details. This should include asking the age bracket of the passenger and a separate question for type (business subscriber, premium, etc).

At the bottom of the screen ask them if there are more passengers? If they click yes, load another copy of the passenger details screen and let them fill that out. When they say No, give them the summary of the passengers with the option of going back to add more.

  • More to the point, why even have this screen at all? Because it affects the ticket price, and the passenger details are asked after the tickets are chosen.
    – Brachamul
    Apr 5, 2017 at 14:19
  • If your goal is to show the prices before getting the passenger details, just show the price list up front.
    – NotMe
    Apr 5, 2017 at 14:26

One option that springs to mind could be to hide the "subscribers" options behind a disclosure button, rather than adding extra steps to the process.

Original GUI modified to include a disclosure widget

However, being naturally curious, many people will probably click it to see what they're missing, so the end-to-end process may not really be any quicker (you might be able to minimise that with appropriate wording on the disclosure button). And it does still suffer a bit from the "what if I'm both a senior and a premium subscriber, do I need to add one of each?" problem mentioned in another answer.

  • With all the caveats you mentionned in mind, it looks like this solution is the cleanest. We could even have a rule that if the user is logged in and has a subscription, the extra block will be expanded by default. Thanks @calum_b !
    – Brachamul
    Apr 5, 2017 at 15:03

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