Wantickets is a leading online nightlife, EDM & event ticketing company in North America. When the CEO approached me they were a 15 year old business with an established 5% market share and an estimated annual revenue of $10M, but the outdated interface and lackluster experience of their ticketing platform was making it difficult for the sales team to market and sell the platform to yield sufficient growth and ROI. Their goal of expanding into new venues across the United States to increase revenue proved challenging, and he felt the platform was in need of an aesthetic and technical refresh to stay relevant in a competitive and fast-paced industry.
The consumer facing website needed to be completely responsive to accommodate the growing share of mobile users, and the web-based app for ticket sellers was in need of a complete overhaul with updated features. The ultimate goal was to drive ticket sales and attract new seller contracts by presenting an attractive and powerful ticketing platform capable of competing within their niche alongside industry leaders like AXS, Eventbrite and Ticketmaster.
Understanding the Stakes
I start every new project with a discovery and roadmapping engagement, designed to uncover the why behind the project. Picking up on a sense of urgency, I conducted a series of stakeholder interviews and exercises with senior management to uncover the underlying business case for the redesign. I came to understand that the company had several major contracts up for review in the coming year which were crucial for achieving their long term objectives. They wanted to make sure they had a strongly competitive product by that time because their clients were being actively solicited by competitors.
Identifying Weak Areas
My next step in any redesign project is to identify the weak areas. This establishes where my focus and attention will yield the most positive, impactful results. I quickly realized that the ticketing website was sporting an outdated and unprofessional logo, color scheme, and design. This caused prospective customers to question the quality of the product, which was hindering their ability to meet sales goals.
From there it became immediately clear that the main product interface was also clunky and visually outdated. The process of creating and managing events was unnecessarily complicated and inefficient. The entire product needed a makeover to better serve the customers needs.
My first task was to take an inventory of all the screens in the existing application and document their purpose, as well as map out the site architecture and audit the existing features. This was a daunting task because the existing product had been built up in patchwork development cycles over a 15 year period and there was no existing documentation, but the work proved extremely useful for establishing the scale and scope of work. It also was an eye opener for the CTO because it revealed numerous redundancies and inefficiencies that they had overlooked, and provided a baseline for a more organized approach to product management within the organization moving forward
Once everything was accounted for, I worked with senior management to extrapolate from the existing product a set of high-level user stories for both ticket buyers and sellers. I then used these high-level stories to guide the reorganization of the site architecture and the prioritization of features into something much more intuitive and user friendly.
Armed with a new birds eye view I suggested we prioritize updating the backend system used by ticket sellers to manage ticket on-sales, since that would be a major selling point for contract renewals. It was also the more complicated task, so it was important we started immediately. The scope of the frontend sales site redesign could easily be scaled up or down depending on the time remaining once the backend was complete, since it was mostly a visual overhaul.
Updating the backend system would involve both the removal of unused or redundant features as well as the design and development of new features based on user feedback and behavior. The goal was to make the platform more user friendly and easier to learn, with an intuitive set of comprehensive tools for event promoters to better run their businesses.
For the consumer facing ticketing site, management wanted something modern and visually rich, with a unique user experience built around local event discovery. They also wanted a fun, fast, and easy transactional experience. A successful redesign should result in increased engagement and conversion.
User Experience Design
During user testing I observed promoters using the existing platform, and found that the majority were only using a small number of features on a day-to-day basis. However, most of these features were buried within the interface, along with many powerful features that most weren't even aware of. For the promoter site, I introduced a card based visual interface that made it easier to track and manage large portfolios of events. I rearranged the navigation to place the most commonly used features within easy reach, and created a dashboard to display the most useful data all in one place. I also audited every data entry form line-by-line and removed as many non-essentials as possible to streamline workflows around event creation, venue setup, ticket offerings, and more. I also designed several new features that leveraged existing data to provide audience analytics and segmentation, in order to help promoters plan more successful events.
For the sales site, user research revealed a heavy reliance on search, so I emphasized the search experience and worked with the dev team to improve search results. I introduced a new homepage layout that also included discovery and browsing elements to help surface local events based on a user's location. We also built an innovative checkout flow that improved transaction times while delighting users.
User Interface Design
For the visual design, I wanted the site to reflect the bold, vibrant, youthful energy of the EDM scene. Artists and promoters in the space were creating tons of great visual content for promotional and marketing materials, album art, and concert posters, and I wanted to leverage as much of that as possible. The new design used rich, vibrant images to showcase the variety of artists and events featured on the site, and I helped the team define new standards for image sourcing, sizing, and use. I also worked with Wantickets’ in-house graphic designers to develop new brand assets and a new color pallet for the site. We moved away from the heavy, dark orange that was prevalent in the original branding, towards a more subdued color scheme in neutral grayscale with soft gradients to contrast against a lighter and brighter orange logo and brand color. In order to codify the new design language, I teamed up with the lead front-end dev to build a living design system to help Wantickets keep future site updates consistent and on brand.
I worked alongside the dev team during the build phase as the product manager, running on a 1-week agile sprint cycle. We ran sprint planning, review and retrospective meetings at the start and end of each week, and maintained a brisk pace while leaving enough room for experimentation. I also held ongoing strategy sessions with management to discuss tactics for marketing and site launch, and ongoing user testing with existing customers and promoters. I used the data from this feedback loop to guide the project on course through to completion.
Every project experiences a few unexpected twists and turns, and this one was no exception. We lost a strategic partner midway through development which required us to cut some planned features from the final product, but we were able to successfully pivot into a working model that met all the original objectives. Having a clear product vision from the beginning makes it easier to adjust course mid-project without losing sight of what’s important.
Upon launching the new site, Wantickets saw an immediate uptick in KPI's across the board. Metrics for engagement like pages viewed and time on site, ecommerce conversion rate, and everything in between saw double digit lifts, and user feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The sales team went out in force and began signing new contracts almost immediately. Impressed by the new look, Wantickets was soon approached by Eventbrite with a generous acquisition offer, giving further evidence that the project was a success.
In just a few months, I completely overhauled the Wantickets platform, developed an instantly-recognizable brand, and re-imagined every aspect of their online experience.
By taking the time to understand Wantickets’ business goals, I helped reposition their company to gain significant traction and compete with other ticketing competitors such as Ticketfly, Songkick, and Resident Advisor.
With a bold new brand and product suite, Wantickets is ready to defend their position as the nationwide leader in EDM ticket sales.