User Populations

The app must support three groups of users: public Internet users (customers); box office users (employees of the X Center who assist customers who have chosen not to purchase online); and administrators (employees of the X Center responsible for posting and updating data).

Public Internet Users

These users are customers, members of the public, accessing the service through a web browser. Most connect using a modem at speeds of up to 56K, and it is important that the system has acceptable response times over a modem connection. Customers wish:

It is possible that premium services, such as the ability to tutorial a larger number of seats in a single transaction, might be offered to a distinct "registered user" community in the future. However, in the initial system, registration is offered only as a convenience to save users re-entering their billing address. The priority is to ensure that the path to purchasing tickets is as straightforward as possible, hence users will not be forced to register, which may risk alienating them.

In order to fulfill these requirements, the system should offer a simple, usable, and fast web interface. It is important that this interface works on as many browsers as possible. Browser-specific functionality should be avoided, and the required browser level should be as low as possible without sacrificing functionality. Applets, Flash animations and the like are considered likely to deter users, and should not be used.

Box Office Users

These are employees of the X Center, who work within the X Center itself, and are on the local network. Some employees may work from home, in which case they will have access to a broadband Internet connection. Box office users perform the following activities:

These users are primarily concerned with service reliability and usability. They receive a constant flow of enquiries from customers who expect to be serviced when they call. Thus it is essential that the public Internet interface should not reduce the reliability or performance of the box office interface. As box office users can be given training on how to use the system, the priority should be functionality, rather than ease of use. Box office users must be given a powerful system that offers a quick way of performing common tasks. As the box office interface is for internal use only, there should be less emphasis on its branding and cosmetics.

The X Center management team wishes to maximize their IT investment and so believe that the same online ticket reservation system should service public Internet users and box office staff. Box office users, like customers, will use a web interface. This interface will be protected from Internet users via role-based security, and will have a separate entry point from the public Internet app. The system will automatically grant the appropriate privileges, based on username and password.


These are employees of the X Center in which the ticketing system will be in operation. Admin users must be located within the X Center itself, accessing the local network. They fulfill a variety of clerical, marketing and management functions:

The X Center's management wish to use a consistent technology set within their system to minimize the number of skills their IT department requires, hence they would prefer that the same web technology was used for the Admin interface as for the customer and box office interfaces, rather than another technology such as Swing or VB. Management is also keen that the Admin interface should require no installation; authorized staff should be able to access it on any machine within the X Center building, and it should require no rollout process and ongoing updates.

The Admin interface will offer the additional security of running on a port accessible only within the X Center's firewall. This means that the Admin must run in a different web app (although possibly still on the same physical server). The Admin interface will be centered on the Oracle database, which will be its main means of communication with the other interfaces. As the X Center already has some Oracle skills in-house, the development of the Admin interface can be deferred until Phase 2.