Our new website is LIVE! (plus 5 features that make it better for YOU)
New Symposium ✓
New website ✓
2017 is a big year for the Arcadia Symposium.
Along with the addition of dozens of new industry-leading faculty members, course options, live entertainment and groundbreaking concepts, we have teamed up with a professional web design agency to bring our users the best possible online experience.
While our previous website worked fine, we thought it would be best to bring in a professional to enhance the overall flow of the site and give it a much-needed digital facelift.
Oddly enough, a member of the SoCal drumming community (who has learned from and taught alongside much of our Symposium faculty) also owns a small Los Angeles-based creative design agency; so it made sense to hand off the redesign project to Squarespace guru Nick Arocho from Arocho Design.
We are thrilled with the new look and hope you are too.
Nick helped us utilize all of the incredible features Squarespace has to offer in order to automate the registration process and showcase our information in a more sophisticated way.
Besides a sleek new look, here are some of the new features we've added to improve the experience of our online guests:
1. Online registration, with checkout in our own secure domain.
Before: In the previous version of our website, we utilized PayPal as a checkout option.
While PayPal is a common way to pay for things online, it had its limitations. Online shoppers were redirected to a different window via PayPal as a 3rd party to check out and complete their purchase. Our customers were also required to pay using a PayPal account, which hinders those who didn't want to use PayPal.
After: Now, browsing through our different registration options is a breeze, and when you find the option that suits you, adding a product to your cart and checking out is all done through our own SECURE domain so our users can rest assured their private information is safe and protected, all while remaining inside the Arcadia Symposium brand.
In addition, customers now have the option to checkout using any major credit card OR PayPal.
Online security is a huge issue today.
If you don't see a green "Secure" certificate in your browser window or a little lock icon (depending on which browser you are using), chances are you are shopping in an insecure online store and your information could be at risk of being stolen.
Another sign that you are in a secure connection is the new "https" prefix to a domain. This basically means that the website is utilizing an SSL certificate, which means there is a secure, one-way connection between your browser and the website you are visiting.
This is what you SHOULD see when shopping online.
Another feature that makes the registration process more streamlined is the information we gather from the customer during the checkout process.
With every purchase, the registrant fills out a custom form with important info about the person coming to the event. This gives us a much better sample of who we can expect at the Symposium, and what they expect from US in return.
The information gets automatically submitted to our records, where we can organize all registrants by name, school, registration type, grade, instrument, etc. This helps us stay ultra organized so we can offer the best possible experience during the Symposium.
Technology is awesome.
2. Group Discounts, Scholarships, and 1-day / 2-day options
Before: The old site didn't offer any discount functionality.
We get a lot of requests from band directors regarding group discounts and scholarships, so we used to have to send back-and-forth emails to coordinate a group discount. We also had ideas about offering special scholarships to give more opportunities to students who need financial assistance, but no way to implement these ideas with the old version of the website.
Additionally, we got a lot of requests from students who just wanted to come for 1 or 2 days instead of the entire experience, but didn't have the ability to offer this option online.
After: Now with our store completely integrated within our own site, we are excited to offer all of these features and more.
- Group discounts for 10 or more students: Simply add the code 'GROUP10' at checkout to get 10% off your entire order.
- Group discounts of 20 or more students: Simply add the code 'GROUP20' at checkout to get 20% off your entire order.
- Scholarships: These will be announced very soon. Be sure to check back in a few days for more information regarding scholarships. They are limited and will go very fast!
- 1-Day / 2-Day Passes: At the moment, these are available only for our Visual Arts Experience.
3. A streamlined flow, and immersive user experience
Probably the most visibly notable feature of the new site is a structured flow to the site.
Before: There is a lot of information about our Symposium, so it is really easy to overwhelm our potential Symposium registrants.
We had 12 menu options in our navigation in the old site, which is proven to overwhelm the user with TOO MANY options. The information was a little scattered, and it was not very easy to find important details about the event.
After: Our abundant content went through an intensive audit and restructuring process in what the web design world calls "information architecture". Nick emphasized the importance of putting ourselves in the user's perspective to really create a functional and streamlined experience.
Our content is now hopefully much more organized and easy to navigate.
Get the Whole Story
Nick holds the concept of "telling your story" through your website, so if you haven't done so already, head to the homepage and scroll through to the bottom of the page, where you are likely to find a CTA (call-to-action) button, which is designed to keep you immersed in the website and find exactly what you are looking for.
4. A responsive, mobile-friendly version of the website
If you are reading this on a phone right now, you might notice that the site looks much different than the desktop version.
We added big menu buttons that make it easy to navigate the site without that annoying need to "pinch the screen" to be able to click links or read content. We also added a nice search feature right in the navigation bar, so the user can find whatever they are looking for quickly and easily.
For all you tech-heads out there, we also enabled AMP (accelerated mobile pages), so content on the site loads faster when you're on the go.
5. A shiny new blog.
This is just the first of MANY new posts to come.
We are devising a comprehensive content strategy to release throughout the year in order to bring a ton of value to those who attend the Symposium and those who can't make it.
Along with announcements about additions to the faculty, special discounts & scholarships, and important updates about the Symposium, we will be posting valuable content throughout the year like tips/tricks, techniques, resources, and industry secrets from the pros on our 2017 Symposium Faculty pertaining to music, technology, and art of all mediums.
We want your ideas for upcoming posts!
Is there something you want us to cover in the future?
What do you think of the new site?
Do you have any suggestions to make it better? We want your feedback!
As with any new project we take part in, we welcome all forms of feedback to make your experience even better. We went through an extensive "bug squashing" session before launching the new site, but if you find any of those pesky web bugs hiding anywhere, please let us know.
We hope the new design brings you as much joy as it has brought us, and provides those who register for our event a positive online experience and ultimately a positive personal experience for those who register for the 2017 Symposium. Our goal is to make the best possible event for all participants and faculty members, and we believe it all starts with a killer first impression with our website.
Feel free to leave a comment below, or contact us with any feedback you may have!