The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) is a renowned musical institution that embarked on a centennial celebration in 2019. As part of their festivities, they organized a free Day of Music, attracting over 14,000 attendees and showcasing the talents of more than 100 ensembles and musicians in downtown Vancouver. However, due to unforeseen circumstances in 2020, the Day of Music had to be canceled. Determined to adapt to the changing times, the VSO sought to revive the event in 2021 through an innovative virtual platform. Their innovative approach involved the creation of a virtual platform that would enable the continuation of the Day of Music tradition. As the years passed, the VSO’s Day of Music flourished, and I still have the privilege of assisting them each year.
The VSO’s goal was to create an engaging and accessible online platform, dayofmusic.ca, that would serve as a hub for the Day of Music. This platform would host a series of performances and act as a digital archive to showcase the creative expressions of British Columbia’s music community. The project aimed to combine the success of the previous year’s livestream-based website with the addition of a new feature that allowed users to access both online and live performances.
Website Design and Development Strategy
- Understanding the Objectives: The development team worked closely with the VSO to grasp the key objectives of the project. This included promoting the Day of Music event, inspiring the people of British Columbia, and preserving a record of the region’s musical talent.
- User Experience Design: To create an immersive user experience, the website was designed with a Netflix-style layout. Users could easily navigate through various performances, filter content based on preferences, and discover new artists. The interface incorporated intuitive search and browsing functionalities to enhance user engagement.
- Livestream Integration: Building upon the success of the previous year, a livestream feature was developed to allow audiences to experience real-time performances during the Day of Music. The website integrated a reliable streaming service, ensuring high-quality audio and video delivery to viewers worldwide. This component played a crucial role in replicating the atmosphere of a live event virtually.
- Hybrid Performance Listings: In response to the VSO’s vision for a hybrid event, the website underwent an expansion to include a comprehensive listing of live performances. Musicians and ensembles from across the province could submit their upcoming live shows, which would be showcased on the platform alongside the digital performances. This integration aimed to support both online and in-person engagement, promoting community involvement.
- Responsive Design: Recognizing the diverse range of devices used by audiences, the website was developed with responsive design principles. This ensured optimal user experiences across various screen sizes, including desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.
- Robust Content Management System (CMS): A powerful CMS was implemented to facilitate efficient content management, enabling the VSO team to easily update and add performances, artist profiles, and other relevant information. The CMS also allowed for post-event archiving of the Day of Music, preserving the creativity and achievements of the music sector.
Results and Impact
The implementation of the hybrid website design and development strategy successfully revitalized the Day of Music event for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. By combining the livestreaming feature from the previous year with the addition of a live performance listing, the VSO achieved the following outcomes:
- Increased Reach and Accessibility: The virtual platform expanded the reach of the event, enabling a global audience to access the performances. This amplified the exposure for participating musicians and the music community of British Columbia.
- Community Engagement: The inclusion of live performance listings fostered community engagement by promoting local shows and supporting in-person attendance. This hybrid approach bridged the gap between virtual and physical experiences, encouraging active involvement from music enthusiasts.
- Enhanced User Experience: The user-friendly interface, responsive design, and intuitive functionalities contributed to a seamless browsing experience for website visitors. Users could easily explore, discover, and enjoy performances that matched their interests.
- Archival Record: The website’s archival format served as a lasting record of the Day of Music event, preserving the creative contributions of artists and the music sector. It acted as a source of inspiration for future endeavors and a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Day of Music website exemplified a successful blend of virtual and physical experiences, leveraging technology to adapt and thrive. This case study showcases the effective strategy employed to design and develop an engaging and inclusive platform, leaving a lasting impact on both the VSO and the music community.