After assessing four other theatres, I am now going to give feedback on what I feel Reading Rep should do to improve their website for a customer.
Homepage- see http://www.everymantheatre.org.uk/
- Reading Rep should move the links to their social networking sites from the bottom of the page to the top right hand corner. It would also be good to see a direct link to the Twitter feed on the homepage.
- There are ten tabs across the top and I think this should be edited down to a maximum of six. For example, ‘Outreach’ and ‘Schools’ could become one tab, as could ‘Support Us’ and ‘Join Us’. At the moment the top panel is a lot to digest.
- There is also some inconstancies with capital letters in this panel. It says ‘About us’ and ‘Plan your visit’, but other tabs read ‘Join Us’ and ‘Support Us’. This should be changed as it comes across as amateurish.
Productions- see http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/
- I like that Reading Rep have an option to view past and current seasons on the website.
- There are a few issues with the page about the current season:
- I think that Proof and Out at Sea & Striptease should all be presented along the top of the page, so once you have selected ‘Productions’, the information is there instantly.
- I feel that the 2013/14 season photograph gets in the way, it should be moved aside for the photographs and links to actual productions. (Specifically for this suggestion, see the National Theatre website, as this is done well there).
- This section is a really good part of the website as it is easy to negotiate and clearly laid out.
- Eventually, it would be good to see Reading Rep have their own box office, but from a customer perspective, the external links do not give a bad impression or hinder purchases.
Plan Your Visit- see http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/
Reading Rep are really let down by this section, but from my assessments of other theatres, I think they need to do the following:
- Add a tab section
- ‘Travel’, ‘Venue’, ‘Food & Drink’.
- ‘Travel’- transfer the ‘By Foot’, ‘By Rail’, ‘By Bus’ and ‘By Road’ information to this tab.
- ‘Venue’ – Provide more information about the seating arrangements at Reading College. Also add the ‘Access & Parking’ and ‘Address’ information.
- ‘Food & Drink’- Reading Rep need to establish links with local restaurants and bars, such as the Abbot Cook and advertise them under this tab. It suggests to the customer that a visit to Reading Rep is more than just watching a play, but a day or evening out.
Overall, this aspect is strong. It would be good to see a YouTube account/ a ‘Video Collections’ (see National Theatre) part of the website if Reading Rep have the time to manage it well.
- Twitter- good colour scheme and consistent branding. There are regular updates and interaction with followers. Their following is small but that is to be expected from a young, regional organisation.
- Facebook- similar kind of page to the Twitter. A good representation of what the theatre has to offer and it posts additional information that you do not find on the website.
- RSS- this link has not worked on my computer.