About the project
With four main venues and an average of 3,000 events each year, Southbank Centre is the largest arts centre in the UK and one of the nation's top five visitor attractions.
With their website's content management system (CMS) becoming outdated, the team at Southbank Centre wanted to upgrade their legacy site before support ended. They also recognised an opportunity to streamline the complexity of selling their large number of events while optimising the experience for attendees. Together with Dutch creative agency Today Tomorrow, we supported the centre in the complex rebuild of their website.
Our process to execute this project
Along with an upgrade from the outdated Drupal 7 CMS system, Southbank Centre wanted to align the site with their new visual identity to showcase the brand. The site also needed to act as a strong foundation, allowing them to adapt to a digital landscape that supports their digital marketing efforts. As a final core characteristic of the site we wanted to make sure we included ‘search, tell and sell’ features that would improve browsing, selecting and discovery of events and exhibitions.
With many visitors and different behaviours, third-party ticketing systems & digital asset management, robust filtering requirements for event listings and a large volume of event types, it was important to make sure the functionality of the new site translated into seamless experience for visitors and site editors.
The discovery process consisted of workshops with all departments of the Southbank Centre, reviewing business objectives and discussing the performance of the site. Sessions with Southbank Centre’s leadership team helped us set our goals.
Our concept was then developed in close collaboration with a multidisciplinary team made up of staff from across the centre, where we also invited developers to advise on the feasibility of the design. Alongside this we held weekly collaborative sessions to define and prioritise visitor journeys.
We focused on a design that was simple to view, navigate and use, and was also simple to edit. This new website is designed to show visitors the right content at the right time while being visually striking.
Landing pages have been created with customisation functionality for editors looking to design visually attractive event pages beyond rigid template restrictions, adapt layouts for different art forms or venues, add price promotions or customise membership messaging. The CMS is supported by a component-based structure that offers editors a lot of freedom to add content, order pages and edit information from the event system we integrated with.
Event data is pulled from the Southbank Centre’s existing Artifax system, and media from digital asset management system Bynder. For ticket booking and user accounts we integrated the site with the centre’s ticketing solution.
“The success of the new site has come from the team’s detailed understanding of the nuances of our business and needs and behaviours of our various audiences” - Trish Thomas, Southbank Centre
Visitors on both desktop and mobile have found the new site easier to navigate, more fitting to the brand and a better tool to decide what event to visit. The new site’s flexibility has also allowed the Southbank Centre to adapt with speed in response to the COVID-19 crisis that resulted in many event cancellations. Offering broadcast events online, the ability to reach global audiences digitally and diversify their revenue streams, all without the need for additional development or build investment.
We’re delighted to have collaboratively built a visually impactful website that is both simple and enjoyable to use, whilst being underpinned by a robust and scalable technical foundation.