PERFORMING ARTS COMMUNITY WEBSITE

NorCal Flamenco

CASE STUDY


THE PROJECT

NorCal Flamenco's mission is twofold:

  • To help artists, students and audiences in the Northern California community connect
     
  • To generally promote the art of flamenco

MY ROLE

  • Web and UI/UX design
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Usability testing
  • Site admin
  • Content strategy
  • Information architecture
I learned this the hard way, by building first and asking questions later. 

Before I knew about UX Design, I wanted to discover the needs of my users. I set up interviews with artists, dance students and concert goers, and even did usability testing on both desktop and mobile, to gain insight into what folks needed, and how they perceived the interaction patterns and information architecture of the site.

My insights from these sessions guided me toward a clearer navigation and site content. This accommodated the folks who would visit the site, to easily find out about classes and shows. However, I found out after multiple interviews that there was a problem brewing.

Most everyone I discussed the site with, or showed the site to, were very excited. And even though artists tended to support the idea of the site, most had at least one reason why they would not use the site, as contributors. Their answers ranged from "I don't know how to use a computer", to "I have an assistant who helps with my social media", to "I already have a website", and "I'm just too busy".

Artists and event producers provide value to the regular site visitors by creating a better idea of what is happening in the community, so having only myself and a couple other folks contributing meant that the content scope has not matched my own expectations for what I originally envisioned. 

 gathering of flamencos in Marin, June 2017

gathering of flamencos in Marin, June 2017

WHAT I MADE

  • Artist pages, a blog, an events calendar, and coverage of local shows and special events
  • Customized admin for participating artists and promoters, ideally creating an evolving site where content is created by the community, for the community
 

THE PROBLEM

...their answers ranged from “I don’t know how to use a computer”, to “I have an assistant who helps with my social media”, to “I already have a website”, and “I’m just too busy”.

Though I hoped that driving even 20% more folks to shows and classes would be well worth their efforts, they could not agree to participate.

All of these responses have a time-based component. Learning something new, or adding to someone's list of "to do's" in an already busy schedule, meant that most folks liked the idea but preferred that I create the content for them. 

The vision of a resource created by and for the community, versus the reality of having to do it all myself, was not practical. I learned this the hard way, by building first and asking questions later. 

 main page for The Flamenco Society of San Jose

main page for The Flamenco Society of San Jose

INSIGHTS

  • A community site needs multiple creators
  • Asking people to learn a new skill, or spend an extra 10 minutes to 1 hour was a dealbreaker
  • Driving engagement via the facebook page tended to keep activity there, instead of on the site itself 

EXTENDING THE BRAND


Norcal flamenco on facebook: As a brand and as a community resource, our mission has been best fulfilled through its facebook page. With over 200 subscribers, it remains as the most active part in helping to promote and celebrate flamenco in northern California. 

Norcal flamenco on soundcloud: I've recorded many hours of audio of local Flamenco shows, and uploaded a small list of tracks from performances by both local artists and visiting guest collaborators.

listen to recordings of local flamenco shows by clicking on the track

Google Analytics for norcal flamenco:

I wanted to track engagement and trends regarding usage of the site, and have found Google Analytics a great tool.

OUTCOMES

Looking back, I did the right thing by reaching out to stakeholders. What I learned as I dug deeper meant that the original vision for the site was not tenable. 

I've been focusing on other projects for some time now, but have been looking to either reimagine the site, or discontinue publication altogether. 


Live site viewable at: www.norcalflamenco.com