Chris McLay.

Interaction designer and user experience consultant.

My first software design

I’ve been trawling through my archived files, backing up, tidying up, etc. and I came across something I thought was stuck in my collection of 3.5” floppy disks. I found copies of the first ever commercial software I designed and sold – The Box Office Manager, a single user ticketing system for small theatres.

Unfortunately there is no way I could ever run the software now as it was written for the days of System 6, with black and white monitors, and Motorola 68000 processors (that’s pre-PowerPC Macs, let alone pre-Intel Macs). I will try and find the disks and an old Mac to run them on, but that’s for another day.

Luckily there was some marketing material and manuals in with the software, so I have some screen shots from what I think is version 1.0, and some from version 1.5 beta (see below). It was great to look back at the screen caps and see how bad the design was. Not that bad considering I had no real software design training.

Two things really struck me about the screens. Firstly, just how small the screens are. These are full size screen captures at 512 x 384 pixels. It’s amazing I got any work done on such a small screen, but I recall being quite productive. Secondly, how cramped the interface was trying to fit all that information onto a small screen. Each seat is represented by a button 11 pixels square. I wonder if it was easier to hit such a small target when the overall screen size was so small?

Version 1.0 Screen Shots – early 1992

Version 1.5 Screen Shots – around 1994

Marketing Images


Adam Connors said:

25 November 2009

Absolute classics! Can I get a t-shirt with those prints?!

Jonny said:

25 November 2009

‘full size screen captures at 512 x 384’ – classic!

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