WORK & CO, New York / THE METROPOLITAN OPERA / 2016
Compared to other performing art forms, opera is distinct in that it’s always been multimedia -- drawing on all human senses. The digital experience for the Met had to bring the experience of opera to life.
Inspired by the drama of sitting in the grand opera house during a performance of “Madame Butterfly,” “Carmen” or “La Boheme,” we translated the drama and contrast to the digital medium.
For example, just as in the front of the house, white was used to highlight important informational text, while black was used for “lights-down” immersive experiences.
To enable associative browsing, the design switches to simple, full-screen text paired with a editorial-style production page - as if you’re reading the show program.
By using full-bleed, high-quality images, the website elicits the emotions attendees feel whilst taking in a live show. Even the homepage carousel mimics a curtain rising as images transition through.
From research and strategy to design and HTML prototypes, the Met’s digital platform took merely 20 weeks with a lean product team of seven people: Strategy Partner, Design Partner, two visual designers, two UX designers, and a product manager.
In addition to executing the new design, we also developed a new business strategy and customer workflow for the ticketing calendar, release schedule, subscriptions, bundling, and donations.
Alternative ways to experience the Met were critical for attracting and exposing new audiences to opera. This included Met Opera On Demand and In Cinemas. To showcase the Met’s rich content, On Demand provides access to the full archive of performances, like “Netflix for opera.” We developed a custom video player for the immersive experience with opera. We also enabled fans to buy In Cinemas tickets to watch opera at any of 2,000 global theaters.
The new MetOpera.org was hailed “one of the turning points in our quest for new
audiences” by the Met’s General Manager, Peter Gelb.
It’s driving higher awareness for the Met, which reported it had ended its last fiscal year with a $1 million surplus, partly stemming from a spike contributions. Since the launch of the new digital platform, the organization is benefiting from “uncommonly high donor support,” a March report stated. (The Met had a $308 million budget last year. It averages $148 million in annual donations).
Since launching in June 2015, the new Met Opera digital platform has exceeded all expectations. And almost as valuable as attracting a new generation of opera enthusiasts, it’s helping to increasing engagement with existing passionate fans.