The Royal Opera House website goes mobile-ready
How a Research and Development fund is enabling the ROH to test new digital ideas.
19 December 2013 at 12.10pm | 18 Comments
Early this year the ROH successfully applied to the Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts: a project developed by Arts Council England, the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA).
The plan was to test some digital ideas, and in doing so enable the whole arts sector to benefit from what we learned. Creating sustainable digital solutions, keeping pace with technology and finding ways to generate revenue in a difficult funding environment are challenges faced by many arts organisations.
With this in mind, we set about creating a new digital offering; the idea was to steer away from developing and maintaining traditional apps and build something that could work on any type of internet-connected device. We wanted to test how fundraising could be supported on mobile devices, and also proposed building digital guides for our productions, which could be sold online and accessed offline. The intention is to develop these ideas using technology that has not been used in the arts sector before, then share everything we have learned.
When we launched our new website in 2012, we built it for use on desktop computers and tablets. Since then we have listened to customer feedback and have introduced new features and changes to improve the user experience. We have always been aware that the ROH website was not useable on a mobile phone and that at some point we would need to address the growing use of small screen devices for web browsing. Over the year to date compared to the same period in 2012, the use of mobile devices to access our website has more than doubled to just under 2 million views.
We have worked in partnership with King’s College London and the digital agency POP to develop the project. Academics from King’s College London have researched the use of mobile technology in the arts and also conducted valuable user testing. Learnings from this research have been incorporated into the latest version of the ROH website.
The mobile-ready version of the ROH website went live yesterday evening (Wednesday 18 December) and we will continue to refine the site over the coming months.
What do you think of the mobile-ready site? We’d love to hear your thoughts via the comments.