Creating A Good User Experience Doesn’t Have To Include A Fight

When it comes to the concert experience, it’s impossible for anyone inside the business to go through the process with new patron empathy. Everything from buying tickets online to the in-person event are designed by people with varying degrees of experience with the process.

Granted, I’ve been focusing on these questions as they apply to the online process and much of that time is spent helping clients get past their own experience blinders.

Fortunately, a colleague turned me onto a Twitter thread from User Experience (UX) designer Andy Budd that goes a long way toward explaining the challenges that derail good user experience. Budd starts off by describing the increasingly common, and frustrating website experience:

And since Budd’s thread is more than professional venting, he goes on to illustrate why website UX ends up in such poor shape, even when organizations go through the process with the best of intentions.

The final tweet in that thread is where I encounter good processes going off the rails most often. Each orchestra admin department looks at their website as a zero-sum environment where devo and marketing must fight to the figurative death for real estate. Worse, one side attempts to leverage complete control over the other via some Machiavellian power grab.

The good news is that’s not the way things need to work.

For the orchestra business, a lot of this anxiety comes from an outdated understanding of the way your patrons and ticket buyers use your websites. So instead of focusing on fighting for old school “above the fold” exposure on the home page, I work with departmental stakeholders to learn more about how they drive traffic to the site and analyze previous campaigns to quantify results.

Working with accurate data and focusing more on the user journey to conversion can go a long way toward creating far more effective UX because all parties begin to discover which pages have actual vs. perceived value.

In the end, you’ll discover you don’t even need all of the pop-ups and nags that ultimately drive more website visitors away than not.

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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