I was recently asked to take a look at a band’s electronic press kit (EPK). It hadn’t been revised in several years and needed a refresh to reflect new releases, new band members, and a renewed interest in playing shows. They send this to booking agents to get gigs.
I took a couple of hours to see how I could improve it.
The old one:
I have researched what hiring managers want to see in a portfolio, and I have personal experience dealing with booking agents. I believe there are many similarities between the two, so I made educated assumptions about a booking agent’s goals, motivations, and frustrations.
Booking agents want to see the band, hear the band, get assurance that the band is good at what it does, all to get an idea of how hiring the band can help make them money. The problem is that they receive many, many submissions and have little time to spend evaluating each one.
So how do we help solve the problem?
- Give them access to the information they most need at a glance.
- Prioritize all content, including removing unimportant or superfluous content.
- Tone: personality is good if it doesn’t interfere with the reader’s goal of getting information quickly.
I condensed these thoughts into a Sketch prototype.
The new one:
- The call-to-action (booking contact info) is front and center, top and bottom.
- All-important media links are “above the fold” with familiar icons for quick recognition.
- Prominent links were added to show the band’s web, social, and industry media presence.
- Reviews were culled for quality over quantity and made easier to identify as reviews.
- In the text blocks I made suggestions for meaningfully-organized content structure.
Following some editorial adjustments and compromises, the final version is live here (PowerPoint, Keynote).
Preliminary results: the band was pleased, initial feedback from the first few booking agents was positive, and in the first week following the release of the EPK the band booked more gigs than they had played the previous six months. However, it is difficult to measure just yet how much the EPK contributed to these early successes.
Ways in which my UX process was less than ideal in this instance:
- I did no actual research among booking agents.
- I made assumptions based on personal experience.
- I assumed that research among users in a different field is applicable to this field.
- I did no testing whatsoever.
- Evaluating results could be problematic. Does an increase in bookings show the effectiveness of this document, or could it be simply because of the band’s renewed effort toward getting gigs?
- I did not challenge the assumption that this document is even necessary in the first place. It is my understanding that bands are expected to have an EPK, but what problem does this does solve that web page does not?
I followed the design process with the time and resources available to me: empathize, define, ideate, prototype… (test? TBD).
In a class I took, one of the students asked the teacher about UX in the real world:
“Can one implement best practices and data from general studies without feeling guilty that we didn’t ‘UX’ the proper ways?”
“Every single day.”