Summer Arts & Culture Website Health Check

When Was the Last Time You Used Your Website Like a Ticket Buyer?

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When was the last time you looked at your site like a consumer? Summer is often the only chance we have as arts marketers to take a step back and look at larger-picture strategy before we’re in the day-to-day madness of the full season. While there’s a small window without fires (LOL), now is a great time to take a minute and look at your website through the eyes of a ticket buyer. 

  • How easy is it to transact? 
  • Is there internal language that is creeping into the purchase path to potentially confuse a new audience member? 
  • Is it clear to ticket buyers when single tickets are available vs subscriptions? 

The prospect of a full website redesign is hugely daunting (not to mention expensive!), but there are plenty of iterative changes that organizations can make in-house to improve the user experience. Coming out of COVID, we worked with our clients at Paper Mill Playhouse to suggest some small tweaks that could improve UX (user experience), decrease page load times, and increase mobile responsiveness to help bridge the gap between the current site and a full redesign. 

Our web design philosophy is always audience- and accessibility-first. We work with Usability Testing groups to regularly check in on the web experience for our clients, particularly among new audiences who may not be as familiar with the ticket-buying process as our most loyal subscribers and members. 

The same applies to the language you use on your website. In a recent conversation with Ben Feller from maslansky + partners, an agency specializing in language strategy, Ben outlined the importance of distilling your language to what people need to hear, rather than what you need to say. How can you best guide a ticket buyer through the wide variety of choices available in a symphony season? How can you share the benefits of membership or the importance of philanthropy without confusing a first-time buyer who might not know you well? 

We love having these conversations. As we’ve been building the Criterion platform, the process has been filled with moments of interrogating the most basic questions about a ticket purchase path: 

  • How can we make the single ticket purchase path as quick and stress-free as possible?
  • Do we have to ask for a full mailing address and phone number in order for someone to complete a purchase? 
  • How can we make the purchase path for accessible seats even more, well, accessible? 

The result has been a single ticket purchase process that can be done in the time you have Wifi access in between subway stops. 

So this summer, I’m going to challenge all arts organizations to find at least five ways your website can better serve the customer before the season begins. If you need help knowing where to start, give us a call! 

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