We know already that buying tickets can be an experience fraught with stress for a customer, from both the experience we create with the website (we’ll call this the system) and the external factors that influence them (things that are actually happening in the real world).
For example, the system can impact the customer’s experience by putting them under a time constraint when making a purchase - a necessary evil for highly-sought after events but one that can cause stress for the user.
We must also remember the user experience for our customers can be affected by innumerable external factors such as:
- Calling their friend to check that they still want to come to the event
- Getting up and finding their bank card when they reach the final payment step
- The balance of selecting seats that meet their budget whilst giving them a good view of the stage
How can we support our users to enhance their experience?
When a user creates an account with us, we should remember their preferences and use them to support complicated tasks, such as ticket purchasing, where we require much user input. Our goal is to make the user experience as painless as possible, allowing the user to accomplish tasks efficiently and effectively.
Let’s start thinking about how we can do this in real terms.
For example, “order history” tells us what performances our customer has attended in the past.
Let’s imagine we have a customer who attends an annual ballet production at our theatre each year. From the order history data within their account, we know where they sat in previous years. Assuming it’s at the same venue each time, the customer may have a personal preference of where they like to sit.
Common user experience:
The user reaches our site, they log in and check their ticket history. They search through the history for the seats they picked last time, take note, then begin the search for this year’s event, and go to purchase tickets.
We can enhance the experience by:
When the customer reaches the “Select your seat” page, we auto-suggest where they sat last year. Better still, when they log in, tell them that the event has tickets on sale this year and their seats from last year are available.
We can then further enhance the experience through supporting communications:
In the week(s) leading up to the event, the system determines which seats the user has purchased in the past and sends them email updates if their seats are available and lets them know the price.
If price drops and rises are part of your organisation’s pricing model, we can alert customers when prices rise or fall, so they can purchase tickets when they are at their cheapest.
We can easily see the benefit of encouraging the user to log in, as we can harness their data to provide them with a quicker, more personalised experience.
In the previous example, we discussed how we can enhance the user experience for someone who has a personal preference when it comes to ticket buying, and the same theory could apply for customers who have accessibility needs.
Here at After Digital, when we create websites, we are often (and we do as standard) asked to design to WCAG 2.1 Standard. These are a set of web accessibility standards that support users who have accessibility needs, such as using screen readers or have visual impairments.
We can go beyond the scope of usability and use human-centred design methods to support our user’s experience.
Let’s put this into real terms:
Using data stored in our CRM (Tessitura, Spektrix or similar) we can determine when a user buys tickets for an accessible performance. Our accessible performances may be the single-deciding factor on whether or not they will be a return customer to our venue.
A customer hears about an event at our venue and carries out some fact-finding on our website to determine if the event is suitable for the person with accessibility requirements (be it themselves or booking as a third-party).
We can enhance the experience:
When a user buys tickets for an accessible performance, we can prompt them to save their accessibility needs/preferences (creating a custom profile) for a more tailored experience.
Then, as a return customer, they can log in to their account and view a bespoke “What’s On” (a page that shows all events). Their custom events page will only show performances with dates and times that suit their needs. Why is this a better UX? It cuts down on a lot of searching and manual input from the user, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness and, therefore, providing the user with a greater feeling of satisfaction. These three things, efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction, are the main factors in what defines a successful user experience from a usability perspective.
The ISO 9241-11 standard on usability describes it as:
“The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals, with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use. ”
– ISO 9241 Ergonomics of Human System Interaction
We can then further enhance the experience:
Customers with accessibility needs often require more information about the venue or performance they wish to attend. These may be finer details of what content will be in the show, layouts of the venue or any number of things that may affect their personal experience. That said, they may prioritise the information on screen differently than a customer with no specific requirements, who may be more interested in the performance content or viewing rich-media to give them a flavour of what they’ll experience.
We may have a customer who is autistic and has issues dealing with sensory information such as loud noises, bright lights or lots of colours.
We should use our knowledge of their accessibility needs to enhance their experience by warning them early, e.g placing the information higher up on the page if sensory overload features in a performance page they have clicked on to.
In summary, as businesses and organisations continue to make customer experience a priority, particularly online, we can combine a human-centred approach to design with data collection to enhance the experience for our users.