Deeson worked with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) to create a web platform that meets the needs of prospective students at the world-leading conservatoire, alongside people taking LAMDA examinations worldwide.
LAMDA is a highly specialist innovative and creative higher education institution with global reach and impact. It has a key role in the continuing economic, artistic and cultural success of the performing arts industry in the UK. Independent stage schools, drama teachers as well as private and state schools across the world also teach using LAMDA syllabuses and prepare more than 110,000 learners in over 30 countries to take LAMDA exams each year.
The new web platform needed to position LAMDA as a global leader that seeks, trains and empowers the exceptional dramatic artists and technicians of every generation, while growing LAMDA’s income from its accredited and non-accredited examinations in the UK and overseas.
Once the strategic goals and project vision were set, Deeson delivered a new Drupal 8 website platform that showcases the LAMDA brand and is at the heart of LAMDA’s student recruitment marketing.
Through in-depth research and interviews, Deeson developed an understanding of the brand to create a website which showcased what life at LAMDA was like, plus the courses, events and funding support that are on offer to all students.
Humanising the drama school through high-quality content and effective user experience, the new site better engages visitors and increases conversion to application for prospective students.
Through extensive stakeholder interviews at the start of the project, Deeson identified the website’s current role in the institution, its challenges, and what areas needed to be prioritised to achieve the project’s goals.
These goals for the website included reflecting the prestige of LAMDA without projecting elitism, creating a user-first approach by displaying essential information proactively and attracting a more diverse body of students.
By conducting research around current students’ opinions on the website and gaining insights from LAMDA’s Heads of Departments, Deeson prioritised improved navigation, information architecture and content quality within the project budget.
With a clear goal of increased inclusivity on the new website, WCAG2.1 AA accessibility was a priority. To implement this, Deeson paid close attention to the colour palettes, and design choices — such as typography and positioning used throughout the process. Not only did they have to look great and be genuinely accessible, but they had to align with the LAMDA brand.
Alongside accessibility considerations, Deeson also wanted to convey diversity through design. The representation of BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic), low income and disabled students was considered throughout. To showcase this, and to allow for depth and movement, each collage depicting BAME and disabled students was designed with authentic LAMDA photography rather than stock images; and consciously crafted to reflect the inclusive and welcoming nature of the drama school.
Built in the latest version of the Drupal content management system and using a component-based front-end architecture, the website provides flexibility and longevity for content editors at LAMDA, putting them in full control of the site’s content.
To deliver an integrated user experience and ensure efficient back office processing, Deeson integrated the Shopify e-commerce and Spectrix ticketing platforms with Drupal. The impact has been very positive, ensuring user-friendly merchandise sales and ticket sales platforms blend seamlessly into the new digital experience.
Deeson delivered a phased launch for the new website, delivering improvements through an early launch of functionality and new content, while work continued to develop further functionality for subsequent launches. This iterative approach meant the new and old websites could co-exist easily and made it easier for the LAMDA team to support the launch of new areas of the site.
As a highly creative organisation whose alumni fuel the UK’s creative and cultural economy we are excited by the opportunity our new website gives us to engage and reach out to the next generation of artists, story-tellers and change-makers. It was developed through a dynamically collaborative process with Deeson, our multiple internal and external stakeholders, and grounded through extensive research and deep user insights. Our new site vividly share LAMDA’s work and core values, helps us to respond to the changing behaviour of our customers and facilitates business growth.