Establishing a leader in online concert venues experience

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is a large performing arts venue located along the stretch known as the “Avenue of the Arts”, in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kimmel Center Inc.’s mission is to operate a world-class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience from throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.

The Challenge:

The Kimmel Center website was long over due for an update to their web experience. Ticket sales were down. Music education was suffering. Venue awareness and tradition was at an all time low. It was up to our team at Sandstorm to breathe life back into the live show and performance art experience of the Kimmel Center, starting at where attendees were having the biggest issue finding information and buying tickets, their online portal.

From my time with the Ravinia Festival, I had a personal interest in helping this venue to succeed, as well as personal knowledge of what would most benefit them to adapt to the changing online ticketing and entertainment landscape. The main goal for the redesign was to create a fresh user experience, while maintaining their brand and getting the user to the page they want to go to more efficiently, leading to a faster purchasing experience.

My Role:

I worked along side an amazing team throughout this project. Small (at the time) but agile. My particular role was the design lead. I worked closely with the creative director who would help push my design thinking and interactions to further limits, the director of strategy, who would set out the client path we needed to travel down and the lead UX designer who would lay out the skeletal structure of the experience.

The Process:

After the strategy team conducted in-person interviews with a carefully curated list of Kimmel Center employees and season ticket holders and donors, we worked very closely with the Kimmel Center marketing and communications team to figure out the strategy for their online presence. Based off of our findings the design and UX team would comb through the strategy to find the sweet spot with how we can work on the flow of the customer, all the while, keeping in mind their current brand and brand standards that have been developed up to this point. I was then able to produce two different look and feels using the wireframes as a starting point. After the look and feel was established, it was onto making a digital design system from a molecular scale and working on up to a complete system that flows together and appears seamless.

Key Takeaways:

Sometimes you get to work with a client in and industry that you love. For me, it is music. Combining design with music and performance art is so satisfying. The client usually has an amazing library of stock photos from their performers and artists and are willing to try untraditional approaches at information organization.

Like many not for profits, and clients, budgets are real. All to often, clients get locked into digital services for contracts that can potentially span for over 20 years! Trying to integrate newer technologies with these archaic technologies can be a headache for back end developers and bind the hands of designers. Understand the limitations of the current site and see how far you can stretch the boundaries.