Rob Greig: Digital R&D in the Arts Annual Forum


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Rob Greig, Chief Technology Officer from the Royal Opera House, discusses the new approach for mobile apps for the arts within his R&D funded project.

This presentation was delivered at the Digital R&D in the Arts Annual Forum at Vinopolis on 3 July 2014. For more information, visit:

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Rob Greig: Digital R&D in the Arts Annual Forum

  1. 1. A New Approach for Mobile Apps for the Arts Rob Greig, Chief Technology Officer, Royal Opera House Supported by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts - Nesta, Arts & Humanities Research Council and public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England
  2. 2. Context Traffic YoY 2011/12 – 2012/13 50% increase in visits to site Source – internet world stats “ ” By 2015 the internet will be 50 times bigger than it was in 2006 97% of consumers now use online media when researching products and services in their local area 1 trillion devices will be connected to the internet by 2015 Source – Gartner “ ” “ ”
  3. 3. Global opera and ballet audiences Cinema and broadcast audiences Younger audiences Mobile audiences Who Extend website and product to foster further relationships with opera and ballet audiences globally – specifically those who don’t physically come to Covent Garden. Patrons &Friends (30k) Occasional Ticket Buyers /Cinema Audience (400k) People with little or no regular contact with ROH Regular Ticket Buyers (100k) Engage new audiences
  4. 4. What Mobile application as a sustainable means of surfacing rich content online/offline Platform to test methods of deepening engagement, increasing spend and broadening reach Research, disseminated and synthesized into an arts sector toolkit Project Goals Digital programme for cinema and broadcast audiences Digital content that evolves over time Compelling method for mobile audiences to engage with the ROH Enhanced platform for buying tickets, digital content and making donations Sustainable model for mobile app development in the arts sector
  5. 5. Native applications Limited life Limited integration Why a Hybrid App? Sustainability Usability guidelines or trend in best practices is for device/delivery- specific, and therefore transitory, app design
  6. 6. Our Approach 1. Competitive Audit (King’s College) 2. Prototype (POP) 3. Usability Testing (King’s College) 4. Designs (Royal Opera House) 5. Technical Specification for Responsive Checkout (POP) 6. Specification for Responsive Checkout (POP) 7. Co-Development (Royal Opera House & POP) 8. Post-Launch Analysis (Royal Opera House) Goal: Synthesis of usage analysis and usability heuristics for mobile apps Methodology: Procedural research engaging with POP and ROH throughout the project lifecycle Outcomes: Citable, evidence-based guidelines for effective and sustainable application development
  7. 7. Our Approach Competitive Audit Mobile websites • Of 67 institutes surveyed, only 25% offer a mobile website: Rijkmusem’s (Amsterdam) & Baltimore Arts Museum (US) Native apps, not mobile web • Majority run on Apple’s iOS platform: Tate and Victoria and Albert Museum Mobile ticketing • Very few organizations support it: ICA & the Natural History Museum, Museum of Contemporary Arts in Sydney Mobile donation • Only a small minority of mobile websites facilitate mobile giving: Institute of Contemporary Arts (London)
  8. 8. 7 scenarios • Purchase a guide • See new guide content • Make donation • Buy tickets • Listen to radio broadcast • Purchase guide for cinema • Buy guide with promo code Our Approach Prototype in Axure
  9. 9. Our Approach Design Mobile first in responsive retrofit Prototype using existing code Best available Payment
  10. 10. Results • Dwell time up (Dwell gap halved to 52 seconds) • 363 Guides sold in the test period –to date 1000 paid 1000 free • More than half were new registrants • Cinema audience giving low • Number of cinema and broadcast patrons reached • Ticket sales forecast to achieve £500K per month • 34% growth in mobile Post-Launch Analysis