Portfolio – BYSO

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Client: Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra

Helping Eastside Youth Discover the Joy of Making Music

The Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO) website is a critical communication hub that coordinates the activities of hundreds of people, including student musicians, parents, instructors, volunteers and more. When BYSO approached me, they were on a very old Plone site that was not mobile compatible or easy to update and maintain. Worse, visitors to their site had great difficulty finding the information they needed, resulting in frequent phone calls that wasted staff time. They spent much of their energy trying communicate important things they needed parents and students to know.

While they were not originally planning on updating their visual brand, a quick look at their materials revealed that their harsh color scheme and stagnant logo was a large obstacle in their outreach efforts. They distinguished themselves from other youth orchestras by prioritizing “the whole child,” allowing kids to be fun and playful kids. But to communicate this essential message about their organization, they had to push uphill against their visual branding. So I started by doing a visual re-brand to portray them as professional, yet warm and friendly.

Then I did a content consultation with them. I went through all their current content and created a new plan to make it easier for their different visitor groups to find the information they were looking for. The announcements box on the homepage allows parents and students to visit the site and instantly see the most important information they need to know. Announcements are automatically bundled up once a week and emailed to their list of parents. Students musicians have a dashboard for their music ensemble where they can see the latest messages from their conductor and report if they will be absent.

I built in ecommerce features and a powerful form system to make it easier for visitors to sign up for auditions, pay tuition, apply for financial aid, donate, or purchase apparel online. Their flexible calendar system allows them to enter an event once, and have it appear on the main listing and on the dashboard of each relevant ensemble. During the end stages of the project, I conducted user testing of these features to identify tasks that visitors still struggled with and improve usability.

After launch, BYSO reported that the new website was a smashing success. Whereas their phone used to ring off the hook during the student registration period, now the office phone was wonderfully silent as students registered and paid online without an issue. They also said their community loves the new look.