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Oakland Symphony: An Evolved Approach

Research discovered in literary review, revealed attendance to local city symphony events have been decreasing as the average age of attendees has steadily risen.


This trend has threatened the future of this long standing musical tradition. In order to try and bring in new symphony fans, we developed a mobile app for the Oakland Symphony to make the experience more approachable for potential millennial attendees.

  1. The aging symphony attendees are not being replaced by younger ones resulting in the artform moving towards extinction

  2. Symphonic groups like The Oakland Symphony offer youth outreach and educational opportunities for the local community

  3. The historical artistry of the symphony experience is slowly being lost

Research Goals

  • Discover reasons for millennials groups were not attending the symphony

  • Gain a better understanding about what experiences motivate the target audience to attend music events

  • Test our assumptions and perspectives

Methods Used

  • Literary Review

  • Targeted User surveys (Received 76 responses)

  • User Interviews (5 Interviews)

  • Industry analysis

affinity mapping.jpg

Affinity mapped to identify trends from user interviews

What We Learned
  1. The target audience is already interested in the types of music that the symphony provides. The music and performances were already appealing to the target audience.

  2. Poor approachability to the symphony experience left potential attendees fearful of possible social induced stress. They worried about doing the wrong thing in front of others.

  3. Attendees did not always understand what to expect at symphonies. Before and during performance the potential attendees found the journey confusing. They needed context to better guide them through the first time experience.

  4. Symphonic institutions frequently assumed potential attendees were informed on the intricacies of event details and their context. The language also alienated younger less informed audiences with the use of in-group jargon.


Key Survey Results

The Problem

"The symphony is a traditional music institution trying to appeal to a younger audience. They are looking for new ways to reach millennials but are having issues with making the experience feel less intimidating for a first time attendee."

 The Solution 
 The Solution 

By simplifying and giving better context to the symphony experience, we can build an environment where younger generations would feel more comfortable attending an Oakland Symphony’s event

P3 Screen.png

The Oakland Symphony app allows users to quickly browse for upcoming events and to purchase tickets directly from their phone. The browsing page was made for one-handed fast operation to help expedite the process. Visual emphasis over text was used to help with quick information skimming.

Users can read summaries to help explain what to expect if they purchase. To directly address the social anxieties in new attendees, a dress code and etiquette section was added to help acquaint the user to the norms for the specific event. A music preview section was also included to help educate new symphony goers of what to expect and give a better background to help build appreciation for the symphony.

Before the Event
During the Event

After ticket purchase, the event is added to the user's ticket list. From this list they may review the event info, with the added feature of a QR code ticket system that can be used at the venue front door. This helps keep the attendee organized and reduces mental the mental load of remembering a printed ticket.

The digital play bill for the event becomes available after check-in. The bill is made to replace the standard paper pamphlets normally passed out at events for a more eco friendly and in-depth contextual information.


In addition, the bill actively tracks and indicates to the user where they are in the performance. This helps the attendee to have relevant information live as the performance is happening so that they never feel lost or confused.

The aim was to help create a deeper, more informed, and inviting experience to the new concert attendee. This serves again to re-enforce a feeling of personal control and to encourage exploration.

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