RCT Theatres (rct-theatres.co.uk) is a network of independent theatres based in South Wales. As an organisation its objectives are to provide its member theatres with publicity, the ability to effectively market their activities and enable the theatre going public to purchase tickets to performances at RCT Theatres.
RCT had commissioned a new website to deliver on these objectives but its development partners had not been able to implement the functionality that RCT required, leaving it with a poorly performing website that was both user-unfriendly and in some cases not functional.
RCT Theatres approached webdna to take over from its existing development partners and deliver the website with a focus on improving the search functionality, the show listings functionality, improving the information architecture and information hierarchy and integrating RCTs ticket purchasing partner’s (Tickets.com) API.
webdna worked with RCT to identify each area of functionality that needed development and reviewed its Google Analytics to pinpoint the areas of the site that were performing particularly badly.
The core elements of functionality that needed to be addressed were:
- The search functionality
- The show listings pages and functionality
- An improved information architecture and information hierarchy, within the limitations of its existing design (changes to the design were out of scope)
- Integration with RCT’s ticketing partner tickets.com via its API
- The ability for RCT staff to manage all content on the RCT website including ticketing through the RCT CMS.
webdna worked closely with RCT to develop a website that functions as well as it can within the bounds of its design.
Just after the launch of the new RCT Theatres website all of the web analytics the and ticket sales saw an immediate uplift. Since then the web analytics have continued to improve and are pulling more people through to purchase tickets.
The RCT Theatres website was built using Craft CMS with the following interesting technologies used:
- Responsive image technology (Speeding up loading by only serving the correct image for that device/size screen) [LazySizes]
- Google Maps API JS v3 (Used for mapping and locations)
- Image optimisation (Increases speed by automatically stripping unnecessary data from image) [jpegoption, optipng, svgo, gifsicle]
- SASS (Modern CSS framework for robust front end development)
- SVG (Image format for scalable images that work on any screen resolution and density)
- Custom web fonts (Custom loaded webfonts ensuring users only have to download them once to improve speed, performance and visual aesthetics) [Font Face Observer]
- Command-line build tools (For increasing performance and delivery command line build tools are used to improve images, CSS and JS for use on the site) [gulp]
- Integration with Tickets.com link generator via the Craft CMS to ensure that all theatre listings link to the correct pages onTickets.com.
‘The project to rebuild the RCT Theatres website was the largest digital project that we have ever undertaken. By nature, the board is very conservative when it comes to technology so we needed to make sure that we found a partner that could deliver technical excellence and also explain the changes that they were working on in a way that our team could understand.
In webdna we found the perfect partner.
Right from the outset of the project webdna commanded complete confidence.
The communication with its team was great and they even understood that the best way to work with us was via telephone (followed up with an email).
From a technical perspective we could not believe the rate of improvements that were made and the difference that they made to our business.
Having moved to webdna after having a disappointing experience with our previous developers, they managed to restore our confidence web developers. ‘
Designer - RCT Theatres