Interactive Prototypes and Expert Lead User Testing for The San Francisco Opera

San Francisco Opera is an American Opera company based in San Francisco, California and has been one of the world's leading opera companies for more than 100 years.

The SFO was established in 1923 due to the high demand for opera, which at the time was only being sated by traveling Opera companies. They are committed to pioneering new approaches to producing large-scale opera and strive for the highest standard of artistic integrity. 

The Problem

San Francisco Opera came to Adage to rebuild and re-envision their online presence. They needed a website and ecommerce solution with flexible, intuitive, mobile-first designs with conversion- and engagement-driven features, all managed through a robust staff tool set. As Optimizely users, SFO wanted to ensure they were taking advantage of Optimizely’s powerful DXP.

A core aspect of the rebuild was selecting a new ecommerce platform. Their current platform was unable to support their unique business rules. SFO’s specific requirements called for a platform that could integrate with Tessitura while also providing the customization to meet their business needs.

Why ACE Commerce

SFO chose to use Adage’s ACE Commerce® for their ecommerce to improve their experience for their patrons. The ecommerce platform provides seamless integration with Tessitura and is full of customizable features that are proven to engage patrons and generate more revenue. ACE Commerce was built with arts organizations in mind and is fully responsive and customizable to each organization’s individual needs. 

As a part of the ACE implementation, SFO also wanted to perform user testing to ensure the purchase paths were clear and effective for their patrons. This involved testing both ACE itself, as well as the general purchase paths that users could go through on the site.

It was determined that user testing would have to be completed using interactive prototypes that could be built to closely mimic the functionality on the live site. Three different paths were set to be tested, with the primary goal to ensure all new page templates and ACE customizations were clear and understandable to all users. 

Robust Interactive Prototypes

One of the most essential parts of the user tests was the prototypes. Their creation leveraged both Azure and Figma to create an extremely high-fidelity design. The prototypes were built strategically to include the most important functionality and leave the rest out. This was done to keep time and budget low and to create a highly focused user experience that would reveal insights on the most important aspects of the user journey such as filters, CTA’s, interrupts, and all cart and order functionality.

Detailed/Guided Scripts

Scripts were used during the testing process to ensure that all interviews followed the same set of prompts and that all testers were asked to perform the same tasks. The scripts were also written to direct users to interact with built functionality. The questions and prompts were also written generally enough that the user was never directed to interact with a very specific piece of the site.

One of the more important aspects of testing was to ensure users not only understood how the designs worked but could move through the purchase path on their own with limited direction from the Adage team. 

Simple Testing Synthesis

For testing synthesis, users were evaluated according to how quickly they identified the part of the design they were meant to interact with and how easily they used that functionality. Users were also asked to speak out loud during the testing process and vocalize their train of thought moving through the path.

All this data was synthesized to create a detailed report of common user pain points, common user misconceptions, and both positive and negative comments users made as they went through the tests. 

Check out our other work

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