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The autumn of 2010 saw an enhancement and augmentation of the user based widgets – more Facebook integration, News Feeds, Personalised alerts etc – The Summer of 2011 saw the next release implemented. The user flows have been re-architected and generally there is a much stronger focus on selling tickets and thus wayfinding and promotional messaging to that effect.

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This really was a significant re-architecting based on user information from Google and some limited user-research and feedback. In the main we realised that for a lot of punters, their journey would really start from a variety of detail pages (whether venue, gig or band) and that only a minority used the site as a portal from the homepage (this was mostly worked out from Google ranking results and the fact that users tend to be quite specific when searching on Google). Additionally the team noticeably enhanced SEO – optimising in the true sense of the word – which indicated location based searching, venue based searching, band based searching would be coming more commonplace and we needed to therefore also optimize the user experience (as well as the tagging) accordingly. The emphasis on ticketing also extended to the far more customisable promos on the homepage & landing pages.

In addition it was decided to incorporate the ‘gig-goer’ information from Live&Loud into the Livemusic site (and thus Live&Loud has become the site for the bands interested in playing gigs and the data ported to is aimed aimed at gig-goers interested in seeing fledgling bands at local venues). Although from a design perspective the changes were minimal, the user experience and user flow design was radically overhauled. As part of this exercise we needed to incorporate much better listings and views of the database; and as such we firstly implemented the ‘views’ architecture in Drupal and then really cranked up the built in search-engines capabilities by extending the capabilities of SOLr.

So far the site has been a big success in terms of it’s audience and traffic (and thus ticketing revenue). By June 2011 we were approaching 100,000 unique users (thus more than tripling the audience from a year ago) and a significant proportion of registered users. (Update: By the autum of 2011 this figure had actually reached just over 120,000 uniques and holding!)

The optimisation continues with the tech team embedding a whole raft of augmented Facebook Connect features as they become available, and the next phase will involve considerable re-architecting of the sign-in process and engagement of registered users (as opposed to browsing punters). This is schedule to be implemented in the autumn and will become the forerunner for the next major release which will see an augmentation of the promotional handling, streamlining of gig-listing display and a further tranche of minor ehancements.

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