Sunday, December 30, 2007

Southwest Gets Design

I just booked a flight on Southwest, and had a wonderful experience. Skipping past the booking part, I got a nice email receipt, which was easy to read. It's nice to get something that's easy to read. I especially liked their large friendly confirmation codes that are actually visible, colorful, short, and at the top!

On the receipt was also a very visible (above the fold) link: "Where Will I Sit?" I clicked on it, and got a popup window with a very cute hand-drawn progess bar, so cute that I had no problem waiting through it just to watch it drawing itself. And then this even cuter notebook appeared:

I actually read the whole thing, because it continued to be so cute and even funny, with hand-drawn pictures throughout: There was a sweet little animation of people getting on a plane, and a diploma for people who finish the notebook (I filled in my name, yes). At the end, I looked at the page source, hoping to find something suggesting who created it, and discovered that they had even tailored the error message for people with the wrong browser support:

I was thrilled, but also a bit sad. Apart from TiVo, I have never worked for a company that cared this much about the details; was willing to take such creative risks with how they differentiate themselves; who understand that even the error messages tell people something about them and need consideration. That's design and branding done right, together!

ETA: If you would like to play with the notebook, it lives at Southwest's BoardingSchool.

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