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Summer of 2019, I had the great fortune to intern with Alaska Airlines. One key project I worked on was with the Seats Team. I was responsible for visually showing extra legroom for premium class and exit row seats for the seat map on the website. The goal of this project is to drive sales of premium seats.


Competitive Analysis

User Research



12 weeks

(Summer 2019)


Ivelisse Capellan-Hayer

Anthea Bartlett (Research Intern)



To begin, I conducted a competitive analysis looking at 28 major commercial airline seat maps. I learned that nearly all of these airlines use a variety of approaches to visually indicate different seating sections (i.e. color coding, icons, zoning, increased pixel spacing, and often a combination of these methods). With the focus on creating a more clear and intuitive design, I decided to focus on a mix of icons and increased pixel spacing.

Delta Airlines Seat Map June 2019

Wizz Air Seat Map June 2019

Frontier Airlines Seat Map June 2019


After drawing some preliminary ideas on paper, I ultimately generated fifteen high-fidelity designs in Sketch. Below are four designs.

Ideation 1
Seat Map, Classic, Main fare Extension C
Seat Map, Classic, Main fare Increased S
Seat Map, Classic, Main fare Gradient Co

Before beginning user research, I narrowed down the ideations with the help of co-workers to the two ideas below (added icons and increased pixel spacing). Working with the UX research intern, we created an unmoderated usability study in UserTesting.com to learn which visualization most effectively communicated extra legroom.

Seat Map, Classic, Main fare Extension C
Seat Map, Classic, Main fare Increased S

After analyzing the data from the usability study, the UX research intern and I learned the following insights:


  • Added pixels most clearly conveyed additional legroom

  • Added icons was more visually cluttered and confusing without prompted questions


Based on our findings, we added pixels to convey extra legroom. I then worked with developers on the Seats Team to determine the feasibility of this design direction. At the conclusion of my internship, we began testing the success of the new design on the website using a software program called Optimizely, which uses A/B testing of Alaska Airlines customers.

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© 2020 by Bridget Lewis.