A designer comes up with a much better supermarket receipt

Why do you hate CVS?

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This creative visualization could integrate nicely with a budget or an account-ledger app, so I see the value of the display beyond an individual purchase. For an individual purchase, however, it seems that the additional paper and ink required for the presentation might not translate into a marginal increase in value for the customer. Who really is going to save all those receipts in a clip and then transcribe them into the weekly/monthly/annual ledger in order to experience the full effects of the data?


As soon as I finish reading my receipt, I’ll tell you.


This is not better. This is a weird, nudgy, paternalistic attempt to make you rethink you what you spend your money on.

You know what would be better? A receipt standard that dictates that, in the era of digital receipts, a paper receipt must start with the following three items:
Where (name of business)
When (time and date in a standard format)
How Much (total paid)
and only then the itemization.

Email receipt standards should also require that the subject be worded “Receipt from [Business] for [Amount].”

For people who still reconcile their accounts at home, this would be a much bigger improvement than anything the Cass Sussteins of the world would suggest.


Srsly, take a bunch of receipts from different stores and try to find the date of purchase, and it will be different on all of them. Why? It’s like data fields are assigned spaces almost at random.


This wouldn’t make sense for every supermarket but I could imagine certain chains (i.e. Whole Foods) using it as a gimmick to demonstrate their commitment to helping people make balanced/healthy food choices.


Ironically I was going to say that my favorite receipts are the ones from CVS, which – if you opt out of printing them permanently – are just a quick summary emailed to you and involve no paper to throw away. Plus usually a few coupons (which also don’t need to involve paper).


Perhaps all designers get what they deserve in the end then.

As a designer, I certainly hope so.

Now I am imagining some AI mother making comments on every receipt. She always mentions you need more fiber. When you buy a jugs mag she tells you she wants to learn pottery, because AI mom grew up sheltered.


Indeed. Is the diameter or the area proportional to the amount spent?

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Clearly not me. I first read “SNACK” as “SMACK.” Thought, that looks about right for the budget. :wink:


I assumed it was a Venn diagram which would address the above mentioned problem of rigid categorizations.

“Wait, why are the ‘snacks’ and ‘cleaning supplies’ circles overlapping? Oh, right. The Tide Pods.”



Sure the design is better but we haven’t improved the consumer’s experience much. What I would like to see is the ability to link an e-mail address and some sort of encryption key to the card(s) I use for payment in any and all cases, and then the register software (or the vendor’s server or whatever) sends an encrypted XML file (yes I know JSON is all the rage but I think XML might be better for this one. we can debate that later) to that e-mail address.

After that, various vendors can provide plugins to find those receipts and do whatever I need them to do with them.

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“Her design makes it easy to see what categories of food you spent the most and least on and the relative price of individual products.”

Couldn’t you just ask Google or Facebook?

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This is certainly an innovation, but in the age of Apple Pay it makes no sense to keep printing paper receipts. I have been hoping Apple develops a way for retailers to issue an electronic receipt into your Apple wallet when Apple Pay is used at checkout.

And if retailers do the math for savings on thermal printer paper, they’d be all over it.


Of course Nielsen-Norman have something to say on this topic.

That said, design concepts have to come from somewhere…


I mean, she did all this on her own time for free just to give herself a design challenge so there’s certainly no harm in experimenting with the kinds of data visualization she finds personally appealing.


As someone that spends all day in front of a register, let me add a few data points. First, the machines are ancient and pitiful, and running slow software just as old if not older which is so frequently updated that it must the end boss of spaghetti code monsters. They are constantly hitting overworked servers running databases that take way too much effort to keep up and thus have lots of mistakes. Your improvements are going to have to be really, really important in order to justify the expense of changing not just the software, but other links in the system.