Deepening Connections with the Arts Through Intuitive Design




2021 - 2022


  • Information Architecture
  • UI Design
  • UX Design
  • WordPress

MASC, an Ottawa-based community arts organization, provides over 210,000 members each year with various programs by professional artists, as well as six arts festivals. They needed a robust website that allows users to easily explore and book programs, while still accommodating their admins. We built MASC, a custom WordPress website that can easily filter between artists, programs, and events. The result is a modern website with an improved user experience. 

Why this project was a success

  • 1

    Created a simplified and robust CMS to improve the workflow of site administrators.

  • 2

    Optimized the site’s information architecture to allow users to discover content that deepens their connections with the Arts.

  • 3

    Modernized the user journey to account for engaging mobile-first experiences.

Easy access to information

MASC needed a modernized website to support their bilingual audience and effortlessly guide them through offered programs. Their existing website contained valuable information that was difficult to find, making it frustrating for users to discover the artists and programs they wanted. MASC turned to Plank to help them rethink their content structure and improve how their users navigate to their various programs. 

In addition, the site needed to be adapted to mobile to simplify the registration process. MASC wanted a simple but effective user experience to empower their users to register anywhere, anytime regardless of technology.

An Intuitive Information Architecture

Over time, as more and more content was added to the site, it became difficult for users and admins to process. To solve this, we reorganized and structured content by artists, programs, and events. We took into account how all the different elements on the site would interact with each other such as user forms, artist profiles, and program descriptions. 

We also considered how users would best explore all of this content, having clear ways to browse offerings, either through their favourite artist, or similar programs. Clear categorization was very important to MASC as their programs are multicultural and diverse. We highlighted all the different types of classes offered based on the communities they represented. Now the site features both an intuitive navigation for users and an improved content management system for administrators.

In-Depth Filtering System

MASC has a roster of 138 professional artists that offer programs in various artistic disciplines such as music, dance, drama, literary arts, and visual arts. To improve the user experience the content can be explored with an in-depth filtering system.

The filtering system has the ability to filter through language, age, discipline, program type, format, and themes. This allows users to quickly find the program/artist that fits their needs or explore those that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Improving the Program Registration Process

A universal form was developed to improve the management of programs for site admins. Using auto-populating fields, the forms automatically incorporate the information that is filled out for a program within the Content Management System (CMS). 

This completely eliminates a step for the admins who would previously create a form for each program. Now there is one form with centralized data allowing MASC to focus on what matters, creating a better experience for their users.

Providing Equal Access to Users

MASC is a bilingual organization with 35% of programs held in French. To provide equal access to all users, it was important that the site offer a seamless transition between French and English.

In addition, with the continuous increase in mobile users, it was crucial for the website to adapt effortlessly to various devices. We simplified navigation, optimized visual assets, and utilized responsive web design to ensure fast loading and easy navigation across any device.

About the client

MASC is a community arts organisation based in Ottawa that offers schools and communities arts experiences led by professional artists. With a community of over 210,000 children, youth, and seniors, they are an important advocate for arts education. They provide workshops, artist-in-residence and scholarship programs, and programs designed specifically for seniors and street-involved youth. Programming is offered in all artistic disciplines including music, dance, drama, literary arts, media and visual arts.

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