We were delighted to be appointed with the opportunity to create a new website with online purchasing facilities for the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, a much-loved historical landmark and venue. With a strong brand identity and a rich cultural history, the Auditorium were looking to stay true to their roots whilst focusing on delivering a streamlined and easy-to-use website for their customers.
DECREASE in bounce rate
INCREASE in pages per session
INCREASE in session duration on mobile
About Auditorium Theatre
The Auditorium Theatre is a National Historic Landmark in the United States, and is known internationally for its perfect acoustics, innovative architecture, and stunning design. The famous architectural firm of Adler and Sullivan designed the theatre, which officially opened in 1889, utilising the most modern technology available at the time. They pushed the limits of modern architecture to make the Auditorium the then-tallest building in Chicago and the first multi-use building ever designed. For 130 years, the Auditorium Theatre has evolved. While the theatre’s programming has adapted and grown, it has always remained dedicated to providing the highest quality of artistic experiences. Iconic artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin have graced their stage. Today their programming reflects the diversity and the complexity of the city of Chicago and the world around us, from inspiring dance companies like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, and Ballet Folklórico de México to hosting rock stars like Neil Young, David Byrne, and David Gilmour.
From Glasgow to Chicago, the After Digital team set off for a four day discovery on-site with the Auditorium’s internal teams. In advance of the trip, we worked closely with their teams to complete questionnaires, research and review the current sites performance and conduct wider industry research. Our findings here helped to shape the workshops and discussions throughout the on-site discovery, as we delved deeper into our findings, gathering a strong sense of direction for both the look and feel of the site and the priorities for their end customers. Of course, in amongst all this hard work, our team ensured to explore the local area, starting with a tour of the stunning Auditorium Theatre itself. What a better way to start a discovery than to experience the building itself. Seeing the intricate mouldings and frescoes, hearing the stories behind the artworks and taking in the overall ambience of the theatre helped to give a great grounding for our teams understanding of the importance of the theatre itself within the design. This lead to our aim being to create a site that felt like a part of the theatre.
Creating an award-winning purchase path
Using our T-Bridge product we provided a seamless booking journey for the Auditorium Theatre’s customers. Each stage in the purchase path is designed not only to offer the least possible friction to the customer, but also to allow the theatre to upsell and cross sell additional offerings in a natural and helpful way.
A pain point we identified during the research phase was that users struggled to select seats on mobile devices. The pan and zoom features were difficult to use, and users were frequently abandoning before reaching the checkout. With this in mind, we took inspiration from app-style interfaces such as Google Maps to create an intuitive, full-screen, seat selection interface that allows users to use gestures like pinch and zoom to get to the seats they want. As such, we’ve enjoyed a 49.81% increase in session duration on mobile since launching the new site.
Packages and Subscriptions
Our team worked with the Auditorium Theatre to understand how they package subscriptions each season, firstly mapping out the current user journey on-site with the team and discussing how best to bring what was a mostly offline experience online for their users. The constraints of the TNEW platform meant that the majority of users were not buying subscriptions online, and would call the box office directly to carry out the transaction. Understanding the difficulties with the existing platform and the needs of their customers allowed us to create a much more intuitive interface that allows users to select from a series of curated packages, or indeed use our “Create Your Own” tool to design a bespoke package for themselves.
Within their account management area, customers have full access to control their account details, manage their memberships and subscriptions and view all their previous purchases and donations in one place.
Flexible administration and page creation
The site was built using WordPress and utilizes our fully-featured page building functionality, enabling administrators to have full control over the structure of each page, while maintaining a high degree of visual cohesion. Pages can be constructed from a range of ‘component’ blocks: banners, videos, social posts, galleries, custom forms to name just a few. The site itself was built using cutting-edge web technologies to provide a fast and robust user interface, enabling customers to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. T-Bridge allowed us to integrate the site directly with Tessitura, fully utilizing the REST API to provide as much information to the user while requiring little-to-no content entry duplication for the admin team. T-Bridge pulls through the basic production and performance information from Tessitura. The admin team then add additional content such as images, videos, artist information, reviews, venue access and any other important information to them and these are published to the website. Once live, the availability is constantly monitored and users are notified immediately when availability starts running low or an event has sold out. When attempting to book tickets the customer is directed only to areas which still have availability and are given an easy to use seat map with clear pricing information and as few barriers as possible to get tickets added to their cart.
An award-winning experience
We were thrilled to win a Gold Hermes Creative Award for the website design in April 2019, one month after launch. You can view the website here www.auditoriumtheatre.org/