The app educates the user before the event and then helps them navigate festival.
The Newport Folk Festival®, one of the nation’s best-known and longest-running live music festivals, had a simple goal for their mobile app: enhance the festival experience by providing access to up-to-the-minute artist, schedule and venue information in a tool that kept the audience focused on the festival, not the app. The app needed to consider three distinct contexts. Prior to the event, the attendee’s primary goal is discovery, to learn who is performing at the festival and get a general sense for the schedule. During the three days when they’re at the festival, the goal becomes almost entirely logistical. At that point, the user wants immediate and unfettered access to who’s playing now, who’s playing next and who has already played. Both of these contexts needed to be handled gracefully through a unified user experience. The final context is largely hidden from the festival goer, though no less important. The festival team needed to manage schedule changes and proactively notify attendees immediately, as well as to push impromptu messages throughout the course of the event. The app actually changes while the festival is happening, continually realigning itself and it’s content to reflect the up-to-the-moment state of the event. We decided the schedule would be the primary view, with all other functionality playing second fiddle. For example, eliminating a navigational landing screen and dropping the user directly into the schedule meant one less step each time the app launched. With the schedule-centric model in mind, the team continued working together toward a fully realized app. First low-fidelity wireframes captured various scheduling approaches, to visually validate and refine the direction. We then moved thru prototyping in a higher-fidelity, interactive form. In parallel we crafted the general visual design approach, mindful of the festival brand, lineage and existing aesthetic. When it came time to code the app, we frequently worked together in a dedicated workspace, broadcasting the app on a big screen as it came to life. As lines of code were authored, everyone on the team collaborated in real time, sculpting and refining the concept as the app evolved.
Event apps often suffer from feature bloat and artificial interactions that attempt to add a rich, digital layer on what's fundamentally a real world experience. We opted to hone the app experience down to a feature set that improved the festival experience without distracting or detracting from it. The Newport Folk Festival app succeeded in its aim of providing context-sensitive information before and during the show, and respecting its place in the overall experience hierarchy. The app actually changes while the festival is happening, continually realigning itself and it’s content to reflect the up-to-the-moment state of the event. The end result was a festival app unlike any other: an intelligent, active and aware assistant that anticipated the users goals and provided them that information with absolute minimal effort. Built for both iOS and Android, the app had an understated but notable presence at the festival - countless times folks could be seen pulling their phone from their pockets, taking a quick look at the app, and just as quickly putting their phones away, returning their focus to the stage and the experience that is Newport Folk. * 29,400 tickets across 3 days (~9,000 attendees) * The app was installed on ~4500 devices, 4000 of which were iOS. * The schedule was viewed 27 times per person throughout the festival. * Rotating the device for a timeline view, was seen 1/3 of those times * Total page views: 230,403 * Total number of push notifications delivered: 216,336 * 4 of 5 star review in both Apple App Store and Google Play