The arts, heritage & museums
Going beyond simple usability testing for the Southbank Centre
A laptop with the Southbank Centre website displayed
Southbank Centre, the largest arts hub in the UK and one of the nation's premier visitor attractions, sought to elevate the online experience for their audience. They aimed to uncover what it truly felt like for visitors navigating their website in search of events. To achieve this, we conducted an in-depth comparison between a new prototype and the current live site. Our goal was to determine whether the proposed enhancements would genuinely enrich the user experience and make event discovery more intuitive and engaging.
Research services
Usability testing
Guerilla research
Expert review
Our approach
Combination of different research techniques
We conducted a combination of exploratory lab and guerrilla research to go beyond simple task-based usability research.

Using Southbank Centre’s existing personas we were able to recruit target audiences for the lab based research. Through guerrilla research we were able to take a more opportunistic approach where we had multiple conversations with a range of current visitors, all at the centres with a range of needs, behaviours and desires.
The back of 2 people who are looking onto a computer screen with a website.
Contextual insights that went beyond usability findings
Through visiting the physical centre, we were able to provide context to the usability issues found in the in depth research sessions. We also discovered target audiences that sat outside of the set originally defined by Southbank Centre, such as spontaneous visitors to the site.
Tangible recommendations that led to design changes
Our recommendations were small but mighty. For example, users struggled to find key buttons to expand filters. Additions such as chevrons next to titles have now been successfully incorporated into the final design to improve the overall experience.
Lending confidence
We provided Southbank Centre with the confidence to launch their new event listing page. Our insights from users showed the prototype to be a clear improvement to the current version.
Fluent's researchers were very adept at drawing out and understanding the issues users sometimes struggled to articulate, which proved invaluable in making positive changes to the user experience on our site.
Trish Thomas • Head of Digital Engagement, Southbank Centre
Our thoughts
Having the opportunity to speak with real visitors at the Southbank centre provided us with valuable insight that is difficult to gain out of context. For instance, we discovered that live event information would really help those spontaneously visiting the centre or hadn’t planned their trip.
Fiona Still, Senior User Researcher & Director

Other projects