the new mirvish.com
The internet has been a boon for communicating, especially during the last 16 months. That’s why we used the pause from our regular work to focus on updating, restructuring and redesigning mirvish.com. We want our website to offer a better, easier and more rewarding experience to you, our audience.
Plans were already underway to create a new website before the pandemic struck. After taking a little time to find our footing during the early weeks of Covid , our intrepid webmaster Jennifer Jenkins began working with Mouth Media, the agency that we have used since 2014, to design and program our website.
In total, it’s taken a full year for our new website to go from conception to finished product. Jennifer worked from her home and was in constant communication with Jason Van Tassel, the creative director of Mouth Media. (But let’s be more precise: Jennifer was at home in downtown Toronto and Jason was in his home office in southern Italy. In Europe, on the Mediterranean, in a beautiful small town right on the sea, with beautiful beaches and fresh seafood and sun-ripened vegetables and fruit … Okay, that’s enough envy. You can do that when your work is solely in and about the virtual world.)
“It is best to update a website at least every five years,” Jason explained. “Technology moves so quickly and unless you’re on top of every innovation you won’t be able to use everything now available to its fullest potential.
“Tastes in graphic design also change quickly and users’ navigation skills are constantly being honed by using many different sites. So your site should offer them the best of what’s available.”
Jennifer and Jason knew they wanted a site that was more airy and had lots of white space where the eye could rest while scrolling down a page. Nowadays, people want more photography, and copy that’s not intrusive to the visual experience. We all spend a lot more time online than ever before, so simplicity and readability are paramount.
Graphic design, content and everything the user sees on the screen is the “front end” of a website.
Equally important is the “back end”, which is where the “code" or programming that Jason’s firm specializes in lives.
The back end is essential to making a website fully accessible to everyone. In Ontario, the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) was enacted to reduce and remove barriers for people with disabilities so that the province can become more inclusive.
Our new accessibility section is all about access.Theatre brings people together, and we want everyone in our community to be able to share in the experience. We are committed to providing ongoing improvements to our venues and services that support the needs of all our patrons. Visit our venue access guides and maps page and find out how to access your seat, find accessible parking, barrier-free washrooms and more!
On a website, people with hearing or sight impairments or mobility challenges should not be excluded from being able to access information. Appropriately, technology has made it possible for everyone to have full access through software such as “screen readers”, which are tools that read the text that is displayed on the computer screen with a speech synthesizer. Similarly, captioning allows the deaf or hearing-impaired to be able to view and understand the soundtrack of videos and other audio components of a website.
But this kind of software needs triggers or code to work. It’s painstakingly detailed work that has to be done methodically and with great care.
These are the other features the new mirvish.com offers:
- More intuitive navigational tools
- A more detailed and expanded search tool
- Modules that provide more than 60 different layouts to make navigating the site easier, faster and more visually engaging
- Navigation section landing pages, which improve usability
- Fewer PDFs and more HTML formats for faster and easier access
- Calendars in two formats that list every show playing every day
- Larger font sizes for ease of reading
- Lots more content — more photos, videos, timelines, interactive features
- A dedicated subscriber section with access to subscriber-only features
- An enhanced education section that includes a theatre terminology dictionary, show guides, videos, photos and all kinds of background material
- Organizing a group? Our group page offers additional services and activities available exclusively to group bookings
- Special sections for the customers and members of our sponsor organizations, CAA and American Express
- Finally, and very importantly, our new website is designed to offer a greatly improved experience when used on a mobile device