A Conversation With An Orchestra Website

Properdiscord.com recently posted a video entitled A conversation with an orchestra website preceded by the following description: “I was looking at orchestra websites today. They annoyed me. I started to wonder what they would say if they could talk.” True that. And the resulting video is laugh out loud hilarious. With the annual orchestra website reviews about a month away this video couldn’t appear at a better time so take a moment and watch the video…

I love the fact that the patron simply wants to know about that evening’s concert but can’t get the info from the website. Since the very first orchestra website review, the single most important review category is the ability for website users to find information about the upcoming concert and buy a ticket right from the home page. If that entire process takes more than five minutes, then your website user interface needs some redesigning.

It’s nice to see the validation and if Properdiscord’s video doesn’t help drive that point home then you might be beyond hope (or it might simply be an indication that you don’t have a sense of humor).

This is definitely becoming a design resource within the Venture Platform’s resource material!

Addendum: I neglected to thank Jacob Harrison for posting this on my Facebook wall to begin with. My apologies!

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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6 thoughts on “A Conversation With An Orchestra Website”

    • I’m actually a fan of homepage sliders BUT only when they are implemented properly. By that, I mean they need manual controls so users can navigate slides at will and they need to actually tell you something about what’s going on.

      Simply put, the bulk of everything on a homepage needs to drive the user to a singular action which more often than not is to buy a ticket or make contact. As such, the order of slides is of paramount importance.

      Of course, there are exceptions to any rule and big announcements that deliver information as opposed to converting action or groups with very limited annual event activity can find alternative uses for a slider but even then, it allows groups to get more info on the homepage without taking up additional real estate.

      Another slider pet peeve of mine is overuse of the accordion setup, whihc almost always looks cluttered and is harder for users to navigate. It also makes design harder becasue the visible real estate changes based on the number of slides presented, and designers won’t be too happy about that.

  1. Oh my god! This has happened to me. I spent an hour and 40 minutes recently trying to buy tickets on the new Seattle Symphony website. I finally bailed and called the box office. After being on hold for about 40 more minutes, I finally bought my season tickets. By the way, I am a web developer by profession.

  2. Angela,
    I also have recently tried ordering tickets online for a local performing arts concert. I was looking into watching the wizard of oz play looking forward to it for weeks. I found out that they were advertising it online but not in the actual performing center. I called and never got an answer from anyone. I was getting annoyed. Webisites like this I think may eventually start loosing business.

  3. I think websites that are trying to promote their business on their website online need to make sure and keep them updated. I mean hire someone for this! Customers are always online looking before they go now a days and people will start to look else where if they are continuing to be a burden.

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