Research, Product & Service Design

Offering immersive ballet experience with contemporary choreography and interactive technologies

Studio 22 is a dance studio of the Fairmount Ballet company. The studio aims to reinvigorate the ballet experience so that it appeals to the younger generation.

My Role

Research, Prototype, Design Direction, Motion Design, Video Production

Duration

15 Weeks

Team (3)

You Zhang, Hyelim Lim, Poonam Patel


00 — Challenge

How might we reinvigorate the ballet experience so that it appeals to Gen-Z?

The Fairmount Ballet Company’s viewership is in decline, in part due to its stagnant reputation and inability to appeal to younger audiences. As the art form’s patrons age, we are seeing a decrease in support and revenue.


01 — Discover

Research to learn about the context, the users , and their behavior/belief patterns

We conducted both primary and secondary research on the challenge, including field research, intercept, user interview, and market research.

Diary Study
at New York City Ballet

Intercept
w/ ballet audience

Interview
w/ Gen-Z student

Market Research
of competitors


02 — Diagnose

Synthesis of research insights to define the core problem and opportunity space

First of all, looking at the Google Search Trend, the top ballet companies in North America have experienced significant declines since 2004. Attending the performance of New York City Ballet, we discovered that the majority of ballet audience are baby boomers and Gen-X. There were only few young groups that we talked to and it turned out that they went to the show because of either school assignments or family activities. These observations helped us create interview questions and narrow down the scope of desk research.

We did 5 interviews with Gen-Z students (3 Art/design background and 2 engineering majors). Although with limited time and resources, we tried to keep the users diverse to avoid bias.

To synthesize the user interviews, we used the empathy map to group the notes into 4 major quadrants, which helped us understand our users. Here is am example of empathy map:

These are the key insights based on our user research

Tech-savvy

Gen-Z’s daily life are tied to technologies and they are interested in tech-driven experiences.

Interactive

Just like playing video games, Gen-Z enjoys the experience they can interact and participate.

Unique

They look for the unique experience that stands out of the common “generic” trend.

More secondary research based on the user insights to find spaces of improvement

According user insights, we selected 6 competitors (3 primary & 3 secondary) to conduct desk research. Knowing that Gen-Z are tagged with technology, internet, immersive experience, YouTube, etc. We defined 6 parameters and gave scores to each competitors to create the spider charts below:

Now combine the insights

To synthesize the user insights and market opportunities, we went through a process of segregating and re-grouping.

We found these opportunities

One

Using modern interactive technologies to enable Gen-Z to participate in the ballet experience

Two

Offering an unique and immersed experience through all service touch-points of contemporary ballet


03 — Design

Create objectives and guiding policy, then execute the solution

Objectives and guiding policy are the “guardrails” on what work needs to be done that will facilitate designing coherent actions.

Our objectives

One

Improve the existing ballet experience for Gen-Z throughout the whole journey

Two

Change Gen-Z’s mindset and impression of Ballet with bold & eye-catching visual appearance

Three

Expand the viewership of Ballet for Gen-Z trough modern technologies

Our solutions

The whole experience consists of three parts: pre, during, and post. We designed solutions improving the experience at different touch points throughout the journey:

Pre

A new branding with stimulating visual identity and young voice that captures Gen-Z’s attention

Improved online ticket booking experience with AR preview of show that establishes excitement and expectation

During

Improved seat finding experience with AR technologies

Integrated contemporary choreography with projection mapping technology

Technology enabled participation in the show that audience can vote for stage changes

After

Online interactive video to expand the journey with more delight

Prototype testing on the whole journey with Gen-Z and design iterations

We setup a low-fidelity prototyping environment to mimic the journey we designed, taping on the floor to demo the AR seat mapping, creating the AR demo with A-Frame, using physical gift to present the AR surprise, having the school projector to create the projection mapping experience, and so on.

Then we invited three gen-z students to test this journey.

User Feedback

The whole experience consists of three parts: pre, during, and post. We designed solutions improving the experience at different touch points throughout the journey:

20, student

“It was amazing. I really liked the technological aspects. Specifically, AR experience helped me a lot to understand the context first. And stage experience made me feel like I was part of the show.”

22, student

“I really enjoyed the experience. Seeing AR was the coolest part for me.”

22, student

“It was exciting and fun. I was interested that 3D image popped up in a phone.”

Final outcome

Based on our user feedback, we were able to validate our design solutions of the new experience journey.

Then we executed the design to a higher fidelity.

Branding & Marketing
Ticket Booking
Interactive

04 — Deploy

Project launching after validating from user test and design iterations

Deploy wasn’t in the scope of this project. But if we were to make it happen, we would create business roadmaps using the cost-benefit formula to show the launch plans.

For the future growth, the whole experience involving modern technologies can also be applied to any performance art experience for younger audiences.

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