LEEDS 2023: Meet the woman making sure audiences have fun in Leeds

Sarah Mace, head of experience design for LEEDS 2023, writes here for the YEP.

Sunday, 21st November 2021, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 4:55 pm
An audience at Leeds' First Direct Arena.

LEEDS 2023 is all about extraordinary experiences and my job is to make every web click, ticket purchase and social scroll from every audience member a seamless and enjoyable experience.

We all know that we live in a digital world, it’s embedded in our everyday life and everything we do.

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At LEEDS 2023 we want to make sure that the year of culture is the best it can be from start to finish and a big part of that is making sure that each interaction audiences have is a positive one.

People are busy, they don’t have time to mess about trying to find information.

It can leave a bad impression from the get-go if a website doesn’t load properly on your phone or you can’t find directions to a venue, so we are spending time researching our audiences, understanding them and how they actually use technology or interact with culture and events. In doing that we are putting the audience member at the heart of everything, inspiring and influencing all decisions made by the LEEDS 2023 team.

It’s not all about the tech though, it’s about making sure that everything is connected behind the scenes, it’s about listening and learning and making sure that the person who is more comfortable speaking to the box office or booking in person is just as happy with the service they get as someone going online.

There will be so much going on, we don’t want anyone to miss out.

Perhaps we’ll know the best spot to park, the cheapest way to travel and a shortcut to the nearest restaurant with rave reviews.

We’ll share everything we know and hopefully people will have a better time because of it.

One of my favourite things about what I do is seeing how something hidden, some small piece of audience research, can lead to a simple but significant improvement. A lot of people aren’t aware of how many processes are going on to make sure that a simple interaction goes smoothly for them.

Of course that’s the way it should be, good design allows people to focus on the things they love to do – seeing a favourite band or team, booking a special night out, joining in a community project – what I do is part of the bigger LEEDS 2023 picture that is bringing people together from all parts of the city.

I’ve lived and worked in Yorkshire for almost all my life and I’m looking forward to making everyday events extraordinary for everyone during LEEDS 2023 – one experience at a time.