Improve the experience of buying Taylor Swift Concert Tickets

How can better User Experience practices help Swifties while waiting to buy tickets

Ricardo Gerstl


It is calculated that more than a million Australians Swifties will be watching the page shown below today. It is referred to online as “the lounge” and is a screen created by the event organizers of the Taylor Swift concert. It shows a progress bar in a loop, some tips for buying tickets, ticket sales information, and general event information. by the that reloads every 10 seconds.

Screenshot of Ticketek waiting screen: 2023 Ticketek Pty Ltd (ABN 92 010 129 110). All rights reserved.

Waiting for hours to buy a concert ticket can be a frustrating experience for users. This is because there is typically a limited number of tickets and a huge surge of people trying to purchase them at the same time. This causes slow loading times, server crashes, and other technical issues that can lead to long wait times.

The frustration of waiting for hours to purchase a ticket can lead to users feeling annoyed and angry.

Ways to Solve This

Normally, as a User Experience consultant, you go through a multi-step procedure that helps you understand the pain points of the Swifties (or users) through research and testing. In Everest Engineering were refer to this as defining products with Users in Mind.

This article describes the heuristics process and offers hypotheses that we can base on human psychology.

We will go through 7 different points of improvement:

  • Clear Communication: having the right expectations and understanding what is happening is important to users
  • Virtual Queue: It is important for users to understand where users stand in comparison to other buyers
  • Virtual Lottery: When it comes down to luck, let users know that their position is unique and valid
  • Entertainment while waiting: Rather than watch a loading screen, why not reminisce about old concerts or already buy some merchandise?
  • Push Notifications or SMS Updates: Let users know when tickets can be purchased, instead of making them stare at a screen.
  • Social Media Engagement: There are other people who are excited as well, so encourage them to chat with each other while waiting.
  • Pre-Fill Information: The stress of having to fill out a form quickly can build up, so allow users to do it in advance so there is less anxiety.

1. Clear Communication

A clear and transparent explanation of the waiting process is crucial to facilitating user understanding and expectations. Users should be told how long the waiting process will take, and what to expect during that time. During this time, they should also be informed about any actions or steps they need to take.

Room for improvement

  • “Your turn to purchase tickets is coming soon” — can become a meaningless phrase when the process can take between minutes and hours. Also, there is a chance that the time will never come if the tickets are sold out.
  • For time-based queues, users would be more inclined to a time estimate
  • For random queues — users would feel less anxious about waiting time if this is communicated as part of the waiting screen to avoid frustrations around rumors of people waiting more or less.

2. Virtual Queue

Make it possible for users to join a virtual queue and receive updates about their place in line. By doing so, expectations are managed and users don’t have to constantly refresh the page or remain active. Display a progress indicator that indicates how far they are in line or how long they have to wait. This reduces anxiety and helps users feel progress.

Room for improvement

  • Place in the queue that slowly lowers as time passes allows for a sense of progress
  • Time estimate of how long till they will be in the front of the queue
  • By visualizing a queue where a user is positioned between the first and last, anxiety can be reduced

3. Virtual Lottery

Create a unique virtual ID/lottery ticket to let people understand that it is a random process. That would reduce stress caused by spending time waiting. This virtual identity/lottery ticket could also help to increase engagement with the process. As a result of this virtual ID/lottery ticket, people can check their tickets regularly to see if they have won. Since the drawing is random and not based on any factors such as waiting time, it could make the whole process feel more fair and transparent.

Room for improvement

  • Create branded virtual tickets for events, allowing them to look unique.
  • Keeping a list of winning tickets will help people understand how many tickets were drawn and how many remain. This needs to be tested.

4. Entertainment while waiting

Engage users by providing exclusive interviews, music previews, or interactive quizzes as they wait. Give users the option to explore related content or activities during the waiting period. By doing this, you can keep users engaged and make the waiting time more enjoyable.

This can help to create a more positive user experience since they are actively engaged in something, rather than feeling bored or frustrated while waiting. It can also help to create a sense of exclusivity and interest, which can lead to increased interest and commitment. For example, you could provide links to artist merchandise, upcoming events, or fan communities where users can connect with fellow fans.

5. Push Notifications or SMS Updates

Users can opt-in for push notifications or SMS updates to stay informed about their queue position and important updates. Using this feature, users can step away from their devices and receive notifications when their turn comes around to purchase tickets. As a result, the user experience will be more enjoyable as they won’t have to constantly monitor their devices. By sending notifications, event organizers are also able to reduce the number of people who remain in queues but are not actively waiting to purchase tickets. This helps ensure that queues remain fair and efficient.

Additionally, these notifications can inform users of any changes to the event, such as changes in the schedule, ticket availability, or venue information. This keeps users informed and reduces the likelihood of them missing out on important information.

6. Social Media Engagement

Encourage users to engage with your brand or event on social media platforms while they wait. This can include interactive polls, contests, or exclusive content shared on social media channels. Engaging with the event’s community can create a sense of anticipation and connection. By creating interactive polls or contests, users can stay engaged with the brand or event even when they are not physically present.

It can also be a great opportunity for users to interact with each other and create a sense of community. Sharing exclusive content can also give users an incentive to stay connected and create a sense of anticipation around the event.

7. Pre-Fill Information

Streamline the ticket purchasing process by allowing users to pre-fill their information, such as name, address, payment details and preferred ticket options. As a result, friction is reduced and time is saved once they reach the ticket purchase page.

From high anxiety and stress, to absolute bliss: that is the roller coaster of emotions Taylor Swift fans will go through buying concert tickets.

Why not make it easier for the Swifties. Using the 7 strategies can improve the experience of the user during the waiting period and to make the ticket purchase process less stressful and efficient. Let’s make waiting… an enjoyable waiting.

👋 Hola! Let’s meet! You can connect with me on LinkedIn. As well as Medium, I’m on Everest Engineering for more User Experience content.

Disclaimer: The author is not affiliated with the organizations responsible for the event. This opinion piece represents the views and opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or stance of the publication, organization, or platform where it is published. This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or professional advice. Readers are encouraged to seek independent advice and conduct their own research to form their own opinions. The author and the publication are not responsible for any errors or omissions in the content or for any actions taken based on the information provided in this article. The author retains the right to revise or update the opinions expressed in this article at any time.