w3 Winner Story

Sydney Symphony Orchestra Website


For this week’s winner story, we spoke with WONGDOODY, a worldwide agency driven by insight and forged by creativity. In 2022, their website redesign for Sydney Symphony Orchestra won Gold in Websites – Cultural Institutions . The team shared more about their creative process, the challenges and the outcome of the project.

What inspired the creative direction for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra website?
The website’s design reflects the refreshed brand identity, including its visual style, colour palette, and messaging. In collaboration with Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the orchestra’s leadership, marketing and communications team, and other stakeholders we wanted to ensure the experience across all mediums was consistent.

What are some of the creative risks you took during the creation of the project?
Ultimately, the success depended on many factors, including the target audience, customer experience, the brand identity, and the overall goals of the website. Incorporating unique design elements, such as bold typography, unconventional layouts, and abstract visual representations of the music and the experience has its inherent risks, though we decided these were worth taking to bring the audience on a memorable and visual journey. These elements made the website truly reflect the orchestra and the emotions they inspire shone through, in all its polarizing style and beauty.

Describe the biggest obstacle or challenge for this project.
Through our research, we discovered a group of our audience was struggling to purchase tickets online, resorting to having purchase tickets over the phone. Through the data we uncovered it was older audiences, which also generally preferred matinee performances. These subtle but crucial insights and audience nuances helped dramatically improve the purchase experience, ticket sales and performance scheduling, but also enhance how information was presented. These interviews, data collection and analysis, helped identify key interactions and with older and younger users.

While we were creating the experience and user interface, we shifted our focus from showcasing pictures of people playing music to presenting the environment and atmosphere that our audience would be immersed in. We aimed to evoke emotions and create a connection with our audience, not just showcase the musical performance itself. These insights helped us to better understand our audience and tailor our offerings to meet their unique needs and desires.

How does Wongdoody define creative success?
Creative success is multifaceted and can take on many different forms depending on our goals and aspirations, from a client perspective realizing the Sydney Symphony’s creative vision and making a positive impact through creative digital expression was a great success.

When it came to defining the project’s success, we were hoping to improve the user experience and make it easier for people to purchase tickets online. According to our data, visitation to the website has increased by 40% and page views have doubled since the redesign. While it’s difficult to say whether this is solely due to pent-up demand or the new website design, it’s clear that something is working.

What does winning a w3 Award mean to you and your team?
Receiving a w3 award is one of the greatest accomplishments for both the SSO and us as the creators. It demonstrates that their efforts have been recognized and appreciated by our peers. Winning not only helped bring attention to our work but also gave Sydney Symphony Orchestra more visibility. It gave access to more engagements and potentially attracted more loyal audiences.

Additionally, winning an award can be a source of motivation and inspiration for
the creators to continue improving and pushing the boundaries of what is possible on the web.

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