Rebuilding a website that puts the complex and varied needs of 32,000 musicians first

The Musicians' Union asked us to work with their members, to refocus their digital presence for their members. Making sure they get the help and advice they need, when they need it.

The Musicians' Union website on desktop and mobile phone.

Who are The Musicians' Union?

The Musicians' Union is the UK trade for all musicians. They represent around 32,000 members working right across the music industry.

What they needed

The Musicians' Union wanted a complete website rebuild. As an organisation, they have a high threshold for delivering a user-first experience. For this project, the focus on user experience was key.

There were three key user objectives to deliver on with the new website:

  1. Increased new member recruitment
  2. Improved user retention
  3. Better user experience (you can learn more about this here)

They were from the start very keen on establishing a collaborative partnership, and were open to exploration to land on the best solution. We began the project aware of what their problems were, but they needed help with how to solve these problems.

The existing Musicians' Union site had a huge amount of content and data, but had an unclear information architecture. In order to rebuild the site with a user-first experience, we needed to understand how the site worked, specifically how users could find content. With a database of over 32,000 musicians, all working in different parts of the music industry, this content needed to be easy for everyone to find.

The website also acted as a portal for their members to access member-only features and material, as well as manage their membership and profile.

Work in progress of the MU website design in Adobe XD.

Our Solution

The technology we used was Kentico. The Musicians' Union was already on the platform, but this would have been our recommendation regardless. Kentico was able to provide access to login functionalities, A/B testing, content personalisation, as well as granular control over the content tree: all features that would improve the user experience.

The design phase for this project was extensive. As previously mentioned, there was a large volume of content, and all of it needed to be easily accessible to different types of users. This meant the site needed to be flexible. So, we took a template and component approach for the design: we designed everything individually and then pulled them all together.

Due to the levels of navigation required for the large amount of content, we needed to ensure that locating content remained accessible. We built navigation prototypes early on in the design process, completed multiple tree tests, and continued to test and build throughout development.

For more information on how we approach individual projects like this one, head over to our process page.

The Musicians' Union homepage on a laptop screen.

What We Delivered

A user-first, responsive website with functionality fitting our client's requirements.

This is an ongoing partnership of ours.

A significant improvement in user engagement:

61%Increase in page views

24%Reduction in bounce rate

SEO improved massively

Good feedback from members

Flexibility of continuous improvement (content, technical, etc.)

Here's what our clients have to say.

"When starting the project, we knew it comes with many challenges to address and solutions to figure out on the way. With users' needs at the heart of the project, we worked hand-in-hand with Major Digital at every step of the way to achieve what the Musicians' Union and our members needed.

Thanks to the flexibility in approach to the working process, we managed to adapt and manage changes in the fast-changing times as the website was in testing and development stages during the pandemic. This helped us greatly to deliver the final product with the right focus at a time of its launch.

The support from Major Digital was especially invaluable in times of uncertainty and doubt when we needed to take a step back and make any adjustments."

Katerina BaranovaDigital Development Officer, The Musicians Union