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Canberra Theatre Centre responds to tech savvy theatre patrons

By Steven De Costa | Published: 30/10/2012

As the Canberra Theatre Centre’s (CTC’s) preferred digital partner, Link Digital has delivered a refreshed design for CTC and Canberra Ticketing that renders across all mobile platforms including smart phones and tablets.

Responsive design is more about responding to consumers than to technology. This has been the experience of the Canberra Theatre Centre’s Marketing Manager Ricky Bryan whose patrons told him they wanted a “better experience on our website via mobile and tablet devices”.

During the same workshops that identified the need for responsive design, a further need to improve online efficiency for promoting and managing show information was also agreed. For a patron to enjoy a rewarding theatre experience visual appeal and variety are paramount and this need is mirrored by theatre websites, particularly via ever changing images. As such, the design of the websites has a primary focus on promoting shows via a gallery/poster layout, which allows for scalability on different page templates (e.g. homepage preview and listing preview) and, as mentioned, mobile and tablet devices. While both sites make use of the same wireframes and design principles, minor differences around the use of colour and logos subtly retain distinction between the two brands. Both sites share the same image dimensions, which reduces the number of different sized images to be uploaded and creating a simple process for Canberra Theatre’s venue hirers.

The promotion and prominence of social media channels was an important inclusion in the new design to reflect the Theatre’s frequent marketing efforts in this space. They enjoy an active following on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where patrons seek latest show news and promotional offers.

New templates have been integrated into LinkCMS for both CTC and Canberra Ticketing, with additional functionality in the form of a News Module and the ability to sell pre-sale tickets. Both sites also have the flexibility to raise the prominence of particular shows on the homepage, extending the image real estate of select shows to have double, triple or quadruple the promotional space.

Above: Initial wireframe proposed, demonstrating the new layout for the Canberra Theatre Centre homepage.

Below: The designs adopted for wide, portrait tablet and mobile screen sizes.

View the live site and book your next show in Canberra at



link cms looks good i was unaware before but now thinking to study more about it . Thanx for the info


Link CMS is pretty much our internal CMS framework for developing sites for our clients. We also use Drupal and WordPress and the choice depends on what the customer requirement is.


I am not a fan of buying tockets online, especially on my phone, that's just my personal preference. I do like the website and design, I think you've done a great job!! I hope it improves your sales.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts Shari. I think our client is pretty happy with the site so far but there is always room for improvement. We're monitoring how people interact with the site over the next few months and generating heatmap reports to see what further improvements are needed.


Love spending via my long as site is safe & trusted............

Mika Douglas

I have a problem with security. As a consumer, I have little protection. The technology is breakable and the financial institutions do nothing to protect or replace your money.


We will look back in 2 years and wonder what all the fuss was about


Like many I'm still pretty nervous about mobile payments - over air security is a worry particularly w-fi, how secure is it? I'm guessing best bet at the moment is turn it off and trust to your mobile operator! But I'd say it's the future, we're using our mobiles more an more! Soon it'll be one click from Facebook, Twitter or what ever is popular and our tickets will be booked!


I do like the new site design. I am a huge fan of buying my theater tickets before I get to the theater. I don't like waiting in line and, this way, I don't have to. I love how easy it is to find where to buy the tickets. It's very obvious that they are available online right off the site. Good job.


Thanks Alicia :)


Still a bit of anxiety about mobile commerce, but I think that is changing rapidly. Clean, simple, and straightforward interfaces still seem to be a challenge. Finally the site needs to be really responsive even in bandwidth constrained situations.If you can keep it safe, easy, and fast, you have a winner.


Thanks for your thoughts Harold. We work with clients to simplify things as much as possible. In many cases that's more about simplifying their business processes and communications as much as it is the design approach. For mobile you need to edit things down to the bare essentials.


Looks good, the responsive design seems to scale well to the screen size. It should be a boon to the theatre.

It has an inviting look and feel and looks very nice


Thanks Jeffrey, I'm glad you like it :)


I like the new layout you've done - I'm a big fan of a more visual approach to UX generally, and a more 'glance-friendly' interface, the better.

Mobile eCommerce is inevitable, and the concerns about it at the moment I think stem mainly from the inability to do due diligence on a cell phone easily, compared to say a laptop. If people can be assured that the transaction is safe, and the purchased deal competitive, then the convenience will make it a no brainer.


Confidence is sometimes a matter of developing a new 'learned behaviour'. It takes time for for some things to feel natural and intuitive.

Thanks for your feedback, we were certainly hoping to achieve a glance-friendly approach with the design :)


I like the layout. I think it will help drive ticket sales and make the movie experience more enjoyable. The customers will already be in the spirit when they get to the show.


Thanks Steve! Although, it's more of a traditional theatre for live performance rather than a cinema or movie theatre :)


omg Steven... the text is too heavy for me to read it properly...

good luck,


Sorry to hear that Helmuts. Are you talking about the blog post article text, the text in the pictures posted with the article, or text on the actual Canberra Theatre website itself? It would be good to know what device and browser you are using too, so I can try and replicate what you are experiencing.



I've found my Nexus 7 to be a very natural and convenient way to shop but only at websites that are optimized for mobile tablets and smartphones. The CTC website comes up nicely and makes it easy to select the entertainment for which I desire additional information or tickets. The ticket purchasing is clear and straightforward which will probably boost ticket sales since so many people use mobile now. In summation, an attractively designed mobile website.


Thanks for checking on your device Robert, it's great to know an experienced Nexus user is giving the design a thumbs up :) Next time you're in Canberra be sure to book a show.


I am a fairly geeky person, and use my smartphone heavily. However, ecommerce on the smartphone is not my favorite activity, usually because of the massive amount of accurate typing required (NACSZ, email, phone, delivery instructions, etc) so it would not particularly help me much. =(


I tend to agree, but the days of difficult to navigate mobile checkout will soon be a thing of the past. Integration between the major global transaction companies and the major OS's for smartphone devices will soon see integrated billing options for mcommerce sites. So, the checkout process will become as easy as buying an app for your phone - all those details about payment and delivery will be set up prior to your transaction and you'll just need to confirm payment with a password.


I might come to Canberra just to use it. :) Yes, I think this is the future and you are onto something. There is no doubt that people will become mobile again and these kids of applications allow us to make our lives run without slowing down. Thanks!


2013 is the year to come to Canberra as we're celebrating our 100th year! Take a look at and plan your trip :)

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