The Picture House Cinema & Restaurant Case Study
A user centred design project to design a new website and create a joined up booking experience.
A family run cinema and restaurant business, The Picture House was finding that their website was consistently performing poorly in customer surveys. They wanted to solve these issues whilst also making it clear that customers could easily book cinema tickets, a table at their restaurant or both.
The Picture House cinema and restaurant in Uckfield is a family run business which is popular with locals and visitors from further afield. With a cinema on one side of the road and a restaurant on the other, they often have customers eat before a film and vice versa. This joint experience wasn’t being reflected on their website so they asked us to define a joined up booking experience whilst also refreshing the wider look and feel of their site with usability in mind.
We began with an ethnographic study - spending time with and watching the public using the cinema and restaurant to gain an understanding of the role The Picture House plays in their lives. During the same time period we also interviewed staff to find out what could be done to improve service from their perspective. These activities gave us an insight into where pain points lay within the current booking process.
As well as our ethnographic study, we undertook a large member and customer survey, combining the results with those from past booking data. This mix of qualitative and quantitative data gave us a strong picture from which to create a set of user personas. The Picture House has a broad customer base - some who only visit occasionally for new releases, others who always eat and watch, others who prefer the theatre -style live streamed events. When a business has a mix of customer types like this, user personas (fictional characters created to represent different user types) can be very helpful when it comes to making customer focused decisions.
Once questions had been answered and we understood who and what we were dealing with, we began to work with Phoenix Wharf to agree a creative direction for the refreshed website. We worked to create a new and improved Information Architecture for the site and prioritised features based on user feedback.
Working in our Lean UX style, we rapidly prototyped and user tested three iterations of how the new site could behave. Reviewing and testing in this way helps to validate design and feature decisions and also gives an idea of how to prioritise the order development takes place in - especially important when you’re working to streamline several booking journeys (restaurant OR cinema into restaurant AND cinema or just one or the other) into one.