Applying A Mix Of Empathy And UX To Offer New Ticket Buyers What They Want

One of the more intriguing parts of designing the reserved seating process for UpStage was the user testing. It’s rare for nonprofit performing arts organizations to spend much time designing their online ticket experience around the new ticket buyer and that only leaves money on the table and untapped potential.

When designing UpStage’s process, we made sure to rectify that oversight by creating one of the three primary user test groups comprised entirely of individuals that have never purchased a ticket to an arts and culture event. The results were fascinating, here are some of the highlights:

  1. Traditional top-down or isometric seating map user interfaces left new ticket buyers feeling confused because they felt the process assumed they already had information about the venue.
  2. A detailed seat filter that provided the ability to display available seats based on quantity, price range, location, and several specific seat preferences helped, but conversion rates were only ~10% higher than the seat map only interface.
  3. The option that produced the highest conversion relied on putting the Zeigarnik Effect, which is when people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks, into motion by way of creating a multi-step narrative driven process that allowed ticket buyers to discover seats and select with the highest degree of confidence.

I published an article at ArtsHakcer that not only walks through that entire process, but it demonstrates how the Zeigarnik Effect helped produce a process that produced higher conversion rates among new ticket buyers.

Using The Zeigarnik Effect To Become A Better Manager

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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