Movie Ordering and Companion App (Concept)

Movies with a little more magic.

Going to a movie theater has been a beloved pastime for generations — but in the age of streaming, the hassle can make it hard to justify. I set out to create an app concept that streamlines the moviegoing experience, from ordering tickets and snacks to getting to your seat in time for those sweet, sweet previews.
Product Designer
(Concept, Research, Design)

Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Photoshop
Product Designer
(Concept, Research, Design)
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Photoshop
Silver app home page


Streamline the movie ticket ordering process
Build a fun, fast, movie-centric food ordering process
Create a companion to enhance the in-theater moviegoing experience
View the Prototype
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Initial Research

After a pandemic that broke longstanding moviegoing habits and helped cement streaming as the primary entertainment channel, people need a good reason to go to a movie theater.
Movie theater attendance
Movie theater attendance chart showing that attendance has dropped significantly since before the pandemic
Source: Statista
Video streaming service usage
Video streaming service usage chart showing that streaming has increased dramatically since 2015
Source: Zippia
Based on interviews with several frequent moviegoers about their experiences, I identified a number of common pain points and user needs worth addressing:

Though serviceable, movie ticket ordering can be cumbersome, and ordering food and drinks at a theater is a headache

Waiting in line for movie snacks and organizing snack orders for a group in a theater requires moviegoers to arrive much earlier

Coordinating with friends/family to see a movie (buying tickets, buying snacks, meeting up) can take significant effort and complicates what should be a fun outing

Knowing when the movie will start, finding the right theater and getting to your seat in a large, crowded and often dark theater adds confusion and stress


Based on my research, I focused primarily on two types of users:

Film Fanatics

Name: Daniel
Age: 24
Occupation: Copywriter
Family: Single
I’m always there on opening night, popcorn in hand — I want to keep the drama on the screen and get to my seat with a minimum of hassle.”

Daniel is an urban-dwelling movie buff who regularly goes to movies at several local theaters. He is very familiar with his local theaters and what they offer, and is looking to streamline his experience so he can get the most enjoyment out of each movie outing. He usually goes with friends and wants to simplify their experience as well.
  • Have a great night at the movies
  • Get movie snacks quickly and avoid lines
  • Streamline the movie experience
  • Coordinate the night with friends
  • Waiting in line to order food and drinks
  • Making sure everyone in his party knows where to be and when
  • Missing part of the movie if he wants another snack mid-movie

Movie Moms and Dads

Name: Veronica
Age: 36
Occupation: HR Manager
Family: Married, two kids
We love seeing movies, but it can be a challenge to navigate with the kids and the crowds. I could use a better way to help manage it all.”

Veronica is a suburban working mom who sees movies as a great shared activity with her family, but it can be a hassle to coordinate everyone. From managing snack preferences to potty breaks to getting everyone into the theater, she’s looking for help making the experience more fun and less stressful.
  • Have an enjoyable evening and make sure her family has fun
  • Make sure everyone has the snack they want and is in their seat on time
  • Minimize hassle and stress
  • Coordinating her family’s snack orders
  • Waiting in line to order and receive food and drinks
  • It can be stressful to corral the kids and make sure everyone has used the bathroom and finds their seats

Understanding User Needs

To understand the way these audiences go to movies now, I analyzed their common tasks and needs and looked at ways an app could help improve the experience. Below are some of the artifacts of that process, focused on Daniel, the Film Fanatics persona.

Competitive Audit

There is no shortage of apps and websites that offer movie tickets, though they vary widely in quality and features. I looked at several of the largest competitors, including three tied to large movie theater chains and two independent apps.
Competitor logos; AMC, Regal, Cinemark, Fandango and Atom
None of these services offer much to enhance the actual moviegoing experience – they offer access to member services like discounts and several offer concession pre-ordering, but once you’re at the theater, they offer little real utility.

A movie app that offers more utility in the theater, including real-time concession ordering, theater wayfinding, coordination with others in your party and other features designed for in-theater use, could fill a gap to enhance and extend the moviegoing experience. In addition, a more streamlined way to buy movie tickets would improve upon existing offerings and reduce friction in the buying process.

Dig into the high-level analysis as well as my detailed findings.

Defining the Solution

After user research, competitive research and other observations, my ideas coalesced around three primary focal points that would improve the moviegoing experience in a way that was differentiated from existing offerings:
Movie tickets icon

Streamline the movie ticket ordering process

  • Simplify the process of buying tickets to as few actions as possible
  • Make the experience clear, enjoyable and easy to understand
  • Allow experienced users to move quickly, while guiding newer users
Food and drinks icon

Build a fun, fast, movie-centric food ordering process

  • Build upon existing food ordering patterns and processes to match user expectations and needs
  • Create a flow that reflects the unique qualities of the movie experience
Movie showtime icon

Create a companion to enhance the in-theater experience

  • Offer a set of simple tools to guide users once they are in the theater, including group ticket and food ordering, a showtime countdown, wayfinding, party management, food order status and post-movie content

Information Architecture

The envisioned the content structure of the app around four main sections — Movies and Theaters, the two main ways of accessing movie tickets, along with Food & Drinks for snack ordering, and a section I called Showtime, which would serve as an in-theater dashboard. I also decided to include a Home page to serve as a home base, which also would provide access to an Account page. The sitemap below shows a top-level view.
Silver app sitemap


I explored a variety of approaches to the main user flows on paper, paying particular attention to the in-theater experience. In the paper wireframes below, I considered numerous layout approaches to the Showtime main screen before adapting the best elements of several into a rough design for the screen.
Silver app paper wireframes
After experimenting on paper, I moved on to digital wireframes of the primary screens and flows, and created a low-fidelity prototype for testing. Below is one flow, showing an example of the primary food and drinks ordering experience.
Silver app digital wireframes flow

High-Fidelity Design

After performing a round of usability testing (see next section) and making design adjustments, I was ready to bring the app to life.

My goal was to create a branded look that celebrates the joy of movies while standing out among competing apps, within a fun and highly functional experience that is delightful to use. I developed a visual design system and designed the entire UI and the primary user flows, including a variety of transitions and interactions.
Introducing Silver
The startup animation serves as the establishing shot for the app, introducing the brand look and transitioning smoothly into the rest of the app.

The home screen helps present the app as a gateway to movie magic, with several prominent feature stories along with clear jumping-off points to the main sections and access to account features.

What's Playing
The Movies section allows users to quickly see what’s in theaters, with large movie posters that lead into detail pages with quick access to showtimes and movie information.
Who wants popcorn?
The Food & Drinks menu organizes popular movie treats clearly and visually, with a carousel of combo options and easy access to all your favorites.

Each item uses a customized popup with large buttons to make choosing the right snack fast and enjoyable.

Usability Testing

I performed two rounds of usability testing for the app, one with a low-fidelity prototype and one with a high-fidelity prototype, each with the same five users. While I didn't uncover any serious issues, I did find numerous ways to improve the experience based on user feedback, mostly to provide additional visual feedback and clearer pathways.

Usability Testing Results

UX research plan thumbnail
Research Study Plan
Google Docs link
Usability study thumbnail
Usability Study Notes
Google Sheets link
Usability study research presentation thumbnail
Research Presentation
PDF download

Addressing the Key Challenges

A large part of my goal was to address three key areas of focus that I felt would address unmet user needs and differentiate the product. This is how I approached each of them.
Movie tickets icon
Challenge 1

Streamline the movie ticket ordering process

Movie ticket ordering is the primary function of many movie-focused apps, and it usually follows a predicable path — but it typically also requires users to tap through numerous screens, which is compounded when they need to look at multiple showtime options.

I set out to create a flow that would allow users to explore available showtimes across theaters, quickly view seating availability across showtimes, choose seats and add tickets to their cart, all from a single screen.
Fast showtime browsing
After selecting a movie, users choose a showtime at the theater of their choice, which brings up the seat selection interface within the same screen. This makes it fast and easy to browse across showtimes to find the best seats, without jumping between screens.

Users can then select their seats and proceed directly to checkout. The checkout process is simple and straightforward, and allows users to opt to add food and drinks to their order.
Food and drinks icon
Challenge 2

Streamline the movie ticket ordering process

Ordering food and drinks is a mature app flow at this point, and has been done in many different ways across apps and websites. But few movie ticket apps allow food ordering, and those that do tend to be slow and cumbersome. My goal was to create a better concessions ordering experience that feels like it was built with movies in mind.
Starting a new order
Users can either select an existing event if they have already purchased tickets, or start a new order, as seen here. The three selection boxes each offer an intuitive custom interface for selecting the theater, date and showtime.
Browsing the virtual snack bar
The food ordering interface puts all the key snack categories in easy view, with horizontal scrolling and large visuals that make it feel like browsing a theater's snack selections. Selecting an item brings up a bespoke popup card that allows users to specify order details within a fun and highly-visual interface.

A visual indicator confirms items added to the cart, and also provides a reminder of how to check out.
Movie showtime icon
Challenge 3

Create an in-theater experience companion

Once you’ve scanned your QR code ticket and checked in at the theater, most movie apps are done until next time (some let you scan a loyalty code and use rewards). But there are numerous use cases for enhancing the in-theater experience, from party management to wayfinding to post-show content. It hasn’t really been done, so let's do it!
Showtime screen -- Preshow
Once you've purchased tickets, the Showtime tab displays the details you need to get ready for your movie, including your ticket code, movie details and theater directions.

If you invited friends, you'll see them here, with the ability to contact them and review their info. If you ordered snacks, you can review and change your selections here.

Showtime screen -- Lobby view
Once you've checked in to the theater, the interface changes to show directions to your seat (including theater wayfinding). Your party information now indicates when your friends have checked in, and the order summary now shows order details and status of each item so you can grab your popcorn as soon as it's ready.
Showtime screen -- Theater view
Once the movie starts, the lights dim and the interface automatically switches to dark mode (configurable in the settings) to avoid disturbing other moviegoers. You can still order snacks and see your seat directions if you had to run to the restroom (it happens after a 32-ounce drink).

The interface also includes a button to request assistance, should there be a problem with the screen or a noisy patron. This sends a text message to the associated manager with the details of your issue.
Showtime screen -- Postshow view
After the show, you can rate both the movie and the theater experience, which will appear in your ratings history, and see what your friends thought. You'll also see a list of upcoming movies based on your preferences, allowing you to add more movies to your calendar in the app.

Branding and Visual Design

The app needed a distinctive name and look to stand out from the crowd. I chose the name Silver, as in “silver screen,” as a short a memorable name for the app, and designed a logo and design system that captured a bit of the magic of the movies.
Most movie app branding tends to focus on warm/bright colors (red/orange), suggesting power and excitement, and cool blues, suggesting technical sophistication. To make Silver stand out, I chose a vibrant purple color space, suggesting the mystery and wonder of the movies, and combined it with a simple illustration style that’s slightly kitschy and nostalgic.


Silver app color palette


Silver app typography

Iconography and Art

Silver app icons and illustrations

Interface Elements

Silver app combo graphic -- The Big DealSilver app combo graphic -- Dinner at the MoviesSilver app combo graphic -- So Sweet
Silver app popcorn detail artSIlver app drink detail art

Next Steps

My work on the Silver concept focused primarily on the main user paths and the challenges I laid out at the beginning of the project, so there are a number of other paths I have not yet fleshed out:

Prototyping the Showtime functionality
I created the four states of the Showtime section, but I would like to fully build out the section in prototype form to demonstrate all aspects of how it works.

Building out the Party functionality
The concept of party management — inviting friends and family to a movie and tracking tickets, food and communication for the whole group via the app — is a fairly new concept for an app like this, and one of its key differentiators. I would like to do further research into needs around this feature, and fully build out the functionality within the app prototype to show its potential.

Account, content and other paths
I have not yet built out the Account features, fleshed out how additional content would enhance the experience or pursued a few other secondary paths that would yield a fully realized prototype for Silver.

Additional research
I would love to perform additional research to better understand a broader range of moviegoers and their needs, and further evolve the app to better serve them.


Silver app home page


As an avid moviegoer, I had a lot of fun realizing this app concept and prototyping functionality for a better movie app. I also learned about a variety of moviegoer needs and how an app like this can help solve them.

Actually building and releasing an app like this would present a whole host of challenges, particularly building the infrastructure movie theaters would need to implement it, but it's easy to see how Silver would offer a lot of value to theaters as well as their patrons.
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