Improving services and audience experience for the Pittsburgh Symphony
// service and experience design

Sponsor: The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO)
Deliverables: research, design concept, current service model and future service blueprint, value model, experience and online service prototypes
Team: Russell Andrews, Eric Ertmann, Melissa Mak
Contributions: exploratory research, user interviews, concept and scenario development, task flows, wireframes, presentation writing, naming, photography
Timeframe: 12 weeks, Fall 2013

Prelude: Building connections through shared, pre-concert experience

Prelude is a low ticket-price, informal, pre-concert event that showcases local musicians in Pittsburgh by utilizing the many spaces within Heinz Hall as performance spaces. Local musicians are vetted prior to the event and then featured asselected performers at Prelude. Customers can purchase tickets to enter the event and sample local music talent, eat, drink, and explore Heinz Hall, and do not have to purchase tickets to a PSO concert in order to attend. Customers who purchase tickets to a full PSO concert after have free entrance to the event.

Prelude also has an online, virtual component that allows people to share in both the experience and featured music. Users can log in to the event and click through the various rooms in Heinz Hall and listen in to the musicians, learn about them and vote on their favorites.

Based on knowledge gained from our research, we learned that sharing the symphony experience with others is important to everyone, across age groups and interest levels. A shared symphony experience is built on several other experiences: planning, coordinating and communicating, buying tickets and the quality of moments during the pre and post-concert experience - how and where time is spent.

We developed a map of the customer experience of attending the PSO with a small group. We mapped the tasks and emotional state of a customer from before a show, buying tickets, to leaving Heinz Hall.

Current Pittsburgh Symphony Experience Model
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Here's a PDF of the Current Experience Model for easier viewing.

Based on our customer experience map, we developed three initial concepts for how to improve the experience of a small group attending a concert at the PSO. We decided to move forward with the final concept of a 'symphony ‘buffet', an event before a PSO concert that allows customers to sample different kinds of music, see all of Heinz Hall, and socialize with other concertgoers.

The current state of the symphony experience at the Pittsburgh Symphony does not facilitate easy, unstructured group socializing and mixing before concert events. It’s difficult for people to attend events for a low ticket price, or to decide to attend at the last minute. Our team chose to explore how the PSO can better provide shared social experiences for small groups that would benefit new and prospective customers, PSO and the Pittsburgh community alike. Using a concept we called a ‘symphony buffet’, we mapped out the process for a pre-concert event hosted by the PSO. We looked at what the PSO would need to do, what musicians would do, and what customers would do.

The following map shows the tasks the PSO, participating musicians, and the audience must complete in order to build and attend the pre-concert experience we developed. The top half of the map (labeled ‘visible’) shows the audience-facing interactions and tasks performed. The bottom half of the map (labeled ‘invisible’) shows the tasks the PSO (blue) and musicians (gray) complete ‘behind the scenes’. The tasks completed and experience had by audience members (yellow) who come to the event form the line of visibility in the middle. Points of interaction between the PSO, musicians, and the audience are also included on the map.

Future Service Blueprint: Prelude pre-concert experience
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Here's a PDF of the Future Service Blueprint for easier viewing.

Value Exchange Model
We also developed a model to illustrate how our solution, Prelude, would provide value to the primary stakeholders involved; the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, its audiences, the musicians who perform at the event and the community as a whole.
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Final Presentation Poster
We developed this poster to communicate our research process and final concepts in a poster presentation session attended by the public and several representatives of the the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
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Here's a PDF of our Final Poster.

If you'd like to see our full research process in detail, including our other concepts and the branding we developed for Prelude, please check out this PDF of our Final Presentation that we delivered in hard copy to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Exploratory and Generative Research
Secondary Research: literature review
Competitive Review: review of 15 US and international symphony orchestras
Stakeholder inventory
Heinz Hall site visit and PSO performance observation
User interviews: 4 users of varied demographics
Full frontstage and backstage Heinz Hall tour and PSO Group Services Coordinator interview
Research synthesis: affinity mapping
Current service and experience journey model for small groups attending the PSO

Prototyping and Testing
3 Concept task flows + use scenarios
Final concept development: Future service blueprint
Value flow model
Paper prototypes: 3D model, online experience + wireframes
Live experience prototype

Here are some photos from throughout our research and design process.
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Here are some prototypes of various components of the Prelude experience.
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