THE STORY OF THE

RICHMOND SYMPHONY

VIEW PROJECT SUMMARY
THE PITCH
In order to gain the interest of a new demographic, our team designed an interactive application that entertains and educates patrons of the Richmond Symphony.
ROLE
Design Thinking,  UX/UI, Interaction & Motion Design
TOOLS 
Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, After Effects CC, Premiere CC, Sketch
THE PITCH
In order to gain the interest of a new demographic, our team designed an interactive application that entertains and educates patrons of the Richmond Symphony.
ROLE
  • Design Thinking
  • UX/UI
  • Interaction & Motion Design
TOOLS
  • Photoshop CC
  • Illustrator CC
  • After Effects CC
  • Sketch
An Interactive Music Experience

THE CHALLENGE

How can the Symphony connect with younger audiences that could raise long-term attendance?

THE CHALLENGE

How can the Symphony connect with younger audiences that could raise long-term attendance?

DETAILS
The Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. More than 200,000 members of the community enjoy concerts, radio broadcasts, and educational outreach programs each season.

However, these symphonies have slowly developed a reputation of being an exclusive activity for those more sophisticated. The amount of classic symphony goers is dwindling, causing dips in ticket sales and donations. If the Richmond Symphony is going to survive long-term, it needs to find a way to connect with younger audiences. Our objective was to set the stage for a campaign that would bring about long-term attendance to the Richmond Symphony.

THE RESEARCH

PROJECT CASE STUDY VIDEO - MAN ON THE STREET
Questions asked in video:
- Have you ever been to the Richmond Symphony?
- Describe the symphony experience.
- How would you describe the type of people who go to symphonies?
- What keeps people from going to symphonies?
Our participants enjoyed the symphony and respected what it was and stood for. But the research revealed a large perception problem.
Our participants enjoyed the symphony and respected what it was and stood for. But the research revealed a large perception problem.

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC

Today's kids (iGen) are the true digital natives; they do not remember a time without smartphones and streaming. They don't want to be passive observers, they want to interact. And technology allows them to sift through information with ease. To target theses children, we need to make a messaging platform that is suitable for parents.
RS target demographic breakdown
iGen
The symphony is highly involved in the community. With their many outreach programs we can leverage these efforts geared towards K-12 by turning them into marketing opportunities.  
Millennials + Gen X
Current parenting trends allow for kids to have significant influence on household decisions—including purchases for the child individually as well as those for the whole family.
Boomers + Seniors
One of our largest attending demographics, these avid supporters can be our biggest help to supplant interest in the orchestra.

IDEATION PROCESS

USER JOURNEY
For a parent and child, their symphony experience can be quite frustrating, given the current attendance model lack of entertainment value and relevant and interesting information for symphony experimenters.
RS user journey
USER JOURNEY WALKTHROUGH
1. My coworker gave me tickets to the symphony, so I decide to bring my 13 yr old son along. He’s never been to a place like this, but I’m optimistic that he’ll enjoy it. He’s been more into indie music, but I told him that he would be blown away by the orchestra.

2. I was dressed in my work attire and my son in casual wear, so I don't feel very comfortable as we walk into the symphony hall. Some people really dress up for this! I had forgotten this. Luckily our seats are towards the back of the hall so we won't be a disturbance.

3. We grab some programs from a door attendant and settle in our seats. I look over and my son had his phone out. I tell him that he needs to put that away before the concert begins. I can see him sink in his seat.

4. The concert is underway. I have a decent visual of the orchestra through the heads in front of me. My son isn't so lucky. I offer to switch him seats at intermission. He asks me when that is, and I point to the program. He wears a puzzled look on his face.

5. After memorizing the ad content in the programs, I look to my son to see if he’s having a good time. He’s reading the “thanks to our donors” section of the program. That has to be a low point for his evening. I skipped that section because I knew better.

6. The music is pretty and inspiring. I played an instrument when I was a kid, so I have a respect for it. I look over to point out a cool tip about the symphony, but he is hunched over, looking at his dimly lit phone. He was very sneaky.

7. During intermission, we walk around the hall. He is on his phone most of the time, so I watch the crowds for a moment. The bell sounds and we hustle to our seats again.

8. My son is going through the printed program, crossing off songs on the setlist. Only two more left, he counts with his fingers.

9. The concert ends in a loud and long burst of music, as always. We stand and clap until our hands are red. My son leans against the chair in front of him as he puts his hands together like a seal at a circus.

10. We leave the symphony and return home. The drive is quiet, but we talk along the way when we pass a bank or business that was referenced in the printed program.

KEY INSIGHT

Traditional symphonies frowned on use of electronics during live performances. But times have changed—what about the rules? 

Traditional symphonies frowned on use of electronics during live performances. But times have changed—what about the rules?

SOLUTION

Let's make the Richmond Symphony an interactive music experience.

Let's make the Richmond Symphony an interactive music experience.

INTERACTIVE CONSTRAINTS
We designed digital experiences to help the next generation understand the classic works of the symphony by helping them see more and gain a deeper understanding of the music. Here are the constraints we used to built an interactive platform:
The Sounds
Interaction with the symphony must be visual but silent, as any sounds of clicking, tapping, or shuffling sounds could annoy old patrons.
Bright Lights
The symphony forbids flash photography, but even worse would be the shining lights from device screens unduly brightened in the dark space
Educational Value
Our interactions must be interactive and educational in nature, but not playful in itself to conflict with the live performance
Prodigy header - small

CREATIVE EXECUTION

Richmond Symphony Prodigy
Introducing Prodigy— a digital companion for your live symphony experience. Prodigy is divided into two features that work together in one collaborative dashboard.
PRODIGY MAIN FEATURES
PRODIGY INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

SYMPHONY POV

POV mockup - gif
The Symphony POV is a feature of Prodigy that gives audience members video feeds of the stage angles of the performance. Rather than holding up your phone to take the right shot, users can take photos with the tap of a button. 

Have a seat in the back? Not a problem.

Want to focus on a bassoon player during a difficult solo? Switch to that viewpoint.

POV - annotation
POV - snapshot
Visitors will never see the Richmond Symphony in the same way again.
Visitors will never see the Richmond Symphony in the same way again.

CONCERT PRESENTATION

The Concert Presentation feature is a digital playbill,  an easy access to information like the performance setlist, information about the conductor and players, special donor information, and more. As you move deeper into the content, you move to the right, matching the feeling of moving through a book.
Concert Presentation - annotation
FOLLOW ALONG 
This curated collection of facts stay with the measures of the current song being performed. When a song begins, the user begins the Follow Along feature. As the song progresses along the wave timeline, they receive interesting and educational details.
Follow Along mockup - gif
Follow Along mockup
Interesting Facts
Behind each song, there's a story. These facts present small decisions and explanations that made the classics classic.
Cultural Setting
These tidbits give you a macro perspective of a history—all of the art, politics, and conflict that inspired or was inspired by the song.
Participation Poll
In another way to deliver details about the composers, users can participate in a multiple choice questionnaire and see how they measure up to the rest of the crowd.
User Surveys
Optional feedback can be made through the app, giving users an opportunity to share their thoughts about the performance.

RESULTS

We showed our findings and creative work to the Richmond Symphony, specifically the Board of Directors, including the president of the Richmond Symphony. They were surprisingly receptive to our message, knowing that using technology could cause ripples with their current donor base. We were happy to see that they captured our vision of an interactive music experience and were further inspired moving forward.
Would you be interested in seeing the symphony's Prodigy application in action? Sound off a comment.
Feedback from Richmond Symphony prodigy PRESENTATION
CLIENT
Richmond Symphony
TIME FRAME
4 wks, Nov 2016
TEAM
Alex Robinson, Creative Brand Manager; John Worthington, Art Director; Jeff Dunn, Copywriter
PROJECT EPILOGUE
The project called for an advertising campaign involving a core strategy and concept ideas. I worked with a team having traditional ad agency roles, which was great practice for me to learn how to incorporate my UX experience and training to a new team. I was able to run them through a brainstorm session where we discussed potential features for our interactive application. We pitched a concept of an interactive music experience, but this shouldn't be limited to live performances.
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