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Six Arts and Culture Websites We Love Right Now

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

Laptop near window in between lamp and plant with an image of performers in  blue and purple light.
Did you know that 75% of people admit to making judgments about a company's credibility based on its website design (Stanford Web Credibility Research)?

Your website is your most important asset, and people’s first impression of you gives them a glimpse of whether they will enjoy your shows. Making it easy to purchase tickets or give a gift is key to rebuilding from the pandemic. Over the last few months, we scoured the internet and found many great sites, but here are a few of our favorites:

The site has an enticing welcome video that gives a glimpse of upcoming operas and educational programs. It also shows off the experience that audience members have at Lyric Opera with video and multi-media. Navigation is easy because their main menu is available during the entire visit. The sub-menu on each show page helps make it easier to discover the opera’s cast, information, video, and other digital content.

Creating clear, easy-to-navigate ticket purchase pathways are usually overlooked on websites. Canadian Stagekeeps this in mind. Their site does a great job of having an excellent clean ticket purchase pathway. The main navigation buttons are clear and call out the most important actions: to order tickets and donate.

Figuring out what tickets to purchase can often be confusing for people, especially if they aren’t familiar with your venue. It’s hard not to appreciate a simple web design; Shakespeare’s Globe website is on the simpler side of design, which is why it made our cut. The top main navigation has well-placed call-to-action buttons that focus on logging into your account, Shakespeare’s Globe’s Schedule, donations, and the main menu. They also make it easy for future attendees to begin creating their experience at the theatre by providing an add-on page for their drinks and snacks.

You can tell that Cal Performances put effort into their subscription pages, making subscribing easy and more attractive. An easy-to-navigate subscription (especially renewals) purchase pathway can be challenging for many organizations. Cal Performances goes the extra mile with a helpful video on how to order subscriptions. They also created in-the-spotlight packages with 22/23 season stories that look like what you’d find on Instagram or Facebook. Additional people-friendly touches are also on the site, like a parking alert section that makes it easier to plan ahead if traffic will be heavy before the performance.

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis website presents its daily hours right on its main navigation menu, so people know if they are open or closed. Their exhibits are front and center with compelling, eye-catching photos with captions to assist people who are visually impaired.

NYC Ballet offers a simple color design that coordinates well with the colored images they use, especially with the pictures chosen to represent their current season. Their animated background and headlining text functions are very smooth and clean in design, while their copy is still fully readable, even as the background moves. Presenting their calendar on their homepage puts the season shows front and center and inspires action.

Quick Tips

Are you in the middle of a website redesign? We’re inundated with website advice, and the trends are constantly changing. Here are some quick tips and reminders.

  • Your website design goals should align with your audience and provide a good user experience while reflecting your brand and what your brand stands for. Usually, it is best to form a simple, polished layout designed to draw attention to essential items to your brand and services.

  • An easy way to form this ideal layout begins by ensuring your website is accessible to all. In a recent study, New Window U.S. researchers found that an estimated 7.3 million Americans have a vision disability, ranging from impaired vision to total blindness. That means that 2.3% of the U.S. population needs assistive technology to access the web entirely. Meanwhile, 15% of Americans have deafness, hearing loss, and are hard of hearing. You can provide an inclusive digital space by offering captions to video and text transcripts for audio content to ensure the website is keyboard-accessible in your media and by aligning your design to web content accessibility guidelines.

  • Another critical step in web design is knowing where to invest. Most SEO experts agree that companies should invest in mobile website design. In 2021, Internet users spent half of their online time on mobile devices. And recent studies found that at the end of 2021, mobile devices generated 54.4% of global website traffic. Ensuring your website is responsive on all devices shows that you’re meeting your audience where they are.

  • A good site inspires action. The ultimate goal is getting your audience to take steps with you. So be sure your layout draws attention to your service with well-designed and placed call-to-action buttons.

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