Cambridge Literary Festival
Reading festival events streamed online
Online Festival Events
Hours of work with the client
- COUNTRY UK
- INDUSTRY Culture
- PEOPLE INVOLVED 5
Cambridge Literary Festival (CLF) is an annual reading festival, famous all over England. Since 2003, the unique city of Cambridge has been hosting meetings with people of literature, scientists, and thinkers. Currently, the CLF is organized in two editions – spring and winter. Both of them have a total of about 350 authors and speakers – both recognized, outstanding authors as well as debutants at the beginning of their creative careers.
Due to an unexpected epidemic of Covid, the spring edition of the CLF could not be organized in the magnificent interiors of the Cambridge Science Center. However, the CLF team decided to act and still keep the festival running. In April they came up with the idea for a digital version of the festival with videos and audio podcasts. This form of the festival made it possible to keep the festival running and to reach new audiences online. The next step was to deepen the digital experience and have the festival in the form of video streaming, both live streaming and sharing the video library. And it was the ASPER BROTHERS team that helped to complete this challenge.
The main goal of this project was to prepare a completely new platform enabling paid access to audio and video materials. Additionally, according to the requirements, users should be able to subscribe to the platform, just like in any other popular streaming platform. However, the biggest challenge was time. The autumn-winter edition of the festival had its time set, so at the planning phase, we had to foresee any possible obstacles. Fortunately, thanks to the great cooperation between the ASPER BROTHERS and CLF team, we made it. The users received a fully functional platform and could virtually meet with their favorite authors.
How it works
Previously, the Cambridge Literary Festival website was a simple website about the festival, presenting photos and articles. The new version of CLF is a content distribution platform that enables the festival to run in digital form.
Users can support the festival by purchasing access to online streamed events or previously recorded content. Additionally, it is possible to access all the materials available on the platform within the annual subscription. Moreover, by subscribing to different access levels, users receive additional bonuses and discounts related to the festival.
Besides the functionality of the Player, the website has received a new architecture and look of the content related to the festival. Users will find here detailed descriptions of individual events, subpages dedicated to artists, and thanks to a friendly search engine they will quickly find content dedicated to their favorite authors.
But the CLF platform is not only what the users see. It’s also a management panel for text and video content management and an integrated system of user relations management. The platform is integrated with CRM, which is used by the CLF team. It makes the festival’s operation more efficient.
Even when the festival returns to its traditional physical form, the new platform will be a great place to distribute content to viewers from all over the world who cannot come to Cambridge personally.
Design & UX
The graphic concept of the CLF platform was provided by the festival team. Changes in the layout and improvements of UX were made in cooperation with the ASPER team. We had a couple of very valuable workshops during which designers, project managers, programmers and marketing specialists worked out the final look of the platform.
The key element from the user experience perspective was that the website was simple and intuitive from the beginning. The viewers of the festival’s content are people who are fluent in the digital world as well as those who spend less time using the Internet every day. Therefore, we had to prepare such a solution that would make the platform easily accessible to everyone. That is why the platform was divided into several, well-described thematic sections. CLF Player is free of unnecessary functions and it only focuses on the most important elements and easy navigation. The process of purchasing access is clear, does not generate pointless clicks, and all screens on the user path are carefully designed.
Cambridge Festival is a recognized brand. It has an established visual identity, one of the key elements of which are yellow and black, a specific font set, and a characteristic type of graphics and photos. Just as the interiors where the actual festival takes place are unique, the graphic design of the platform reflects the character of the festival. The strength lies in simplicity and modern elegance.
The technology behind the CLF website is a combination of well-known and appreciated platforms and dedicated solutions provided by the ASPER development team. The website itself is based on WordPress CMS. Our programmers have prepared unique sections with easy parameterization from the administrator panel. Particualar layouts can be freely edited, copied, and are also described in detail so that matching the expected appearance is easy for anyone who will manage the site. The admin panel also includes separate sections on the page and a dedicated video management panel.
Features related to the service of paid access and subscription are based on WooCommerce. It is a proven and reliable system, which we have supported with several additional functions.
Integration and API were very important elements of the project. First of all, we implemented integrations with the external Vimeo platform. This gave CLF a reliable platform for online streaming and video hosting. An important aspect when choosing a streaming service provider was the possibility of securing video materials from open access. Vimeo works perfectly here.
Our team, using an external API, also implemented a two-way integration with ThankQ CRM. As a result, the most important data from the platform flows smoothly to the system used by the festival staff. The integration with Mailchimp has also been deployed, so communicating with users is done in a professional manner.
We also took care of SEO optimization and platform efficiency. CLF is based on unique content, which should be quickly available and easy to find in Google. The CLF team is aware of this and when managing the content on the site applies our recommendations and best practices.