National Theatre Live Website

The National Theatre

Aims and Objectives

The National Theatre is currently going through a large digital transformation project to update legacy IT systems and websites. The first part of this transformation project is to look at is the NT Live website which shows visitors which of the National Theatre productions are being screened at a cinema local to them in the UK and world wide. 

The current website is outdated and the CMS hard to update for the content editors.  From a users perspective its hard to navigate and find information about the performances. There is a longer term goal to integrate all of the sites and run them from a single headless CMS and this was to be the first step.

Key Objectives:

  • Find ways to sell the concept of theatre performances being screened in local cinemas by educating visitors to the website
  • Design structured content and modularised  components to form the core of not just the NT Live website but the other websites owned by the National Theatre
  • Improve the user journey of the ticket buying process to allow users to buy from the venue website 


We gathered the key stakeholders together in a workshop to understand organisational goals and also to refocus their attention onto the users of the website. 

Within the workshop we looked at who the users are by conducting some Empathy Mapping exercises to help flesh out our understanding. We isolated the key user group and mapped out the complete user journey from the catalyst to buying the ticket  to the post cinema experience to see what it looked like, where the strengths were and where the opportunities lay. Following the User Journey Mapping workshop we identified the key parts of the ticket buying journey that required attention and then set out on a week long Design Sprint which I facilitated to identify possible solutions.

The Design Sprint began by understanding the problem. We looked at existing market research that had been carried out, Google Analytics and finally how other cultural organisations were presenting similar offerings. The following days focused on ideation and refinement of a potential solution on paper before I took it away to build into a prototype ready for testing with users.  I tested the prototype ticket buying journey with 5 participants. 

The results of the testing were a useful guide for the team and formed the basis of the main part of the project which involved disassembling the content on the site and redesigning it in such a way that we could start reusing content and components across the other websites in the future.  This project is ongoing and is currently in the development phase.


The National Theatre as an organisation had little experience with UX. The main purpose of this project was to redesign the ticket buying journey and also to start introducing UX to their development process. By involving the wider team in the process it helped sell the idea internally and has lead to further discussion about how we can use UX techniques from the outset when looking at redeveloping the rest of the National Theatre digital estate and in future projects.


Date of Completion:

April 2018

Project Duration:

4 Months