At the end of 2020, the Royal Opera House decided they wanted to build their own bespoke streaming service. Following a successful stint using Vimeo's OTT platform as a first phase service, they wanted to build their own service which was fully integrated in their website and customer offering. This move would enable them to fully customise their collection and subscription types as well as allow users to have a single account for all purchases made for live events and streaming content.
The main aim of this project was to get a streaming service up and running with a viable commercial proposition and a curated service which could grow and change over time.
A short project was undertaken to visualise the way in which a streaming service could be integrated into the ROH website. At this point their streaming platform had been working as an external website. For better user experience the ROH wanted to streamline their event offerings so users could find all of their content within a single site, regardless of whether it was on-stage, streaming or in the cinema. This exercise raised some questions which were vital, such as how to distinguish between different types of content, where the streaming 'hub' should live within the website architecture, and how content would be displayed if it was available as two or more viewing types.
Concept Prototype and Testing
Taking all of the questions the intro project raised, an initial concept for the service was designed. It was agreed that this would also be used as an exercise to explore the overall design and how moving to a fully responsive design style could look. Three rounds of user testing were setup with a desktop prototype. The first round was to check the overall concept, with the following two rounds used for refinement and to see how users reacted to different commercial propositions. Exploration into the amount of contextual information around the content was done, as well as testing at what points in the users journey these should appear, as well as what the video player required and what personalisation features were necessary to keep users engaged.
For user testing, a holding brand was developed for the service to see exactly what brand requirements were needed so that users could differentiate between the types of content available (on-stage vs streaming vs cinema). It was clear that while the layout and overall look could stay the same, a visual mark and colour change were the most effective way of ensuring success. Testing results were used in conjunction with brand-needs to create a direction which didn't detract from the core ROH brand, but made it very clear what a user was looking at. Working with the ROH's in-house creative team, a 'pattern' was defined and setup to work for both Stream and Cinema to have longevity so any other additions could also work in the future.
Following the user testing, the findings were refined down to shape the recommended proposition as a whole. Testing found that a clear differentiation was needed between content types so it was very clear to users what type they were looking at. A subscription proposition tested better than others, with a need for clear information around what is included as well as easy access to FAQs at all times. Contextual information around events was a big hit, allowing avid fans to feel fully immersed, but also educating those who knew little about the content. The final look for the platform was reskinned following the design system project.