As a designer, one of the first things I notice is how everyday objects are created in terms of form and function, as my last post on urban design may have shown. This time, I would like to focus on something that I’m sure we have all seen: a common grocery store receipt.
While informational, I would like to take a moment and look at how to possibly redesign this receipt to increase both the usability and readability. Therefore, a challenge was proposed: redesign a standard grocery receipt using all of the same information and elements within two hours. Go.
One of the first things I noticed with our example is that the contact information (e.g., phone number, web address and store manager) is not located in a similar position. Solution? Put it together. Conceptually, this makes sense. If I’m looking for information on an organization, I’m going to look in the same place, regardless of medium.
Next, I noticed that the alignment of our prices, totals and dollars needed some definition. I chose a left justification because that will allow our products to ‘rest’ directly next to our prices, allowing for a quick comparison and connection. Because products can be short or long in length, this will decrease the impact of the ragged edge created on the right. In addition, it also allows the customer to quickly scan the ‘narrative’ of the transaction.
Finally, I grouped the cashier name and required receipt information in the same box because I felt that it was auxiliary to our transaction information. In addition, I also kept the date and time stamp at the bottom of the receipt because it seems that people are quick to look at either the top or bottom for this information.
Before and After
One of the most noticeable differences between the two receipts is simply the use of negative space- a crucial element to the composition of any design. The receipt redesign allows for the eyes to quickly find a focus on the elements of the transaction.
All and all, I used two *comparable* font-families at two font-sizes for each. Thus, there are four total variations for characters on the receipt. In addition, I specifically tried to not use any character not already being used on the receipt. Admittedly, part of the challenge and limitation of this exercise involves the point-of-sales device used to create this receipt. I understand that it may not be technically possible to style an actual receipt to my concept. However, I tried to be mindful of these limitations when considering my redesign.
If you’re interested in more on the design of everyday objects, check out Donald A. Norman’s book on the subject, The Design of Everyday Things.