case study

Hopkins Center for the Arts

Reducing barriers to the arts through sustainable content strategy and thoughtful UX design
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Challenge

the old homepage for the Hopkins Center for the Arts

Founded in 1962, the Hopkins Center for the Arts' mission is to “ignite and sustain a passion for the arts within Dartmouth and its greater community.” The center sits right in the heart of campus at Dartmouth College and serves as the cultural center for the institution.

When the center approached OHO, they wanted to transform the existing site into a showpiece of what a performing arts website could be. The redesigned site needed to be a real center of ideas around the art and a means of inviting the community and engaging them as co-creators.

Solution

  • The Hopkins Center Homepage on an External Monitor
  • The Live Arts Section of the Hopkins Center Site on an iPad
  • Several Pages of the Hopkins Center Site on Various Devices
  • Three Performance Pages of the Hopkins Center Site on Smartphones
  • The Hopkins Center Event Calendar on a Laptop

The main goals of the project were:

  • Better inform students and the Dartmouth community of the opportunities available at the center.
  • Improve the process of ticket and membership purchasing to attract new members.
  • ​Provide an area of the site for performances to have an extended life beyond the performance date.

At the outset of the project, the OHO team visited the Hopkins Center to meet with internal stakeholders and help define their vision for the redesign. The Hopkins Center team had done significant research and planning prior to partnering with OHO, and their findings were invaluable throughout the process. 

Rethinking the performance lifecycle was the first step to developing a sustainable content strategy that elevated the performances and events beyond a date on a calendar. Prior to the redesign, events were bound by genre and program and relied heavily on performance dates. The redesigned site provides greater flexibility, allowing the Hopkins Center team to create dedicated pages for a large swathe of event types — event those that are still in process and don’t necessarily have performance or viewing dates.

With the new approach to performances came an opportunity to reimagine the event calendar as well. The existing tile-based structure made it difficult for visitors to get a clear sense of what events were taking place in any given month. For the updated event calendar, OHO implemented Tessitura, a tool specifically designed for the arts and culture sector. This allowed OHO to create a new live calendar view to aid in content discovery, allowing visitors to view upcoming events at a glance.

To increase ticket sales and memberships, clear calls to action are pervasive throughout the site to encourage users to continue on the appropriate path dependant upon the content they are viewing. Including a dedicated “Membership” section to the top navigation further elevates that path for visitors. Additionally, some of the most important information for users — such as where to visit, how to park, and walking directions — were not readily available for users on the old site. When thinking through the design for the new site, we made sure to put this information front and center.