I was approached by the English National Opera‘s learning department Baylis, about designing and building a very interesting project in their search for new operatic talent. It was to be a worldwide search in the form of three competitions. Each one would determine the content for the next, a bit like a game of consequences. The first competition was for script writing, the 10 winners’ scripts would be the basis of the second competition, the soundtrack competition. The ten composer finalists’ work would be the basis of the final competition: the film making.
There was considerable investment in time in the planning of the structure and how I could make that an easy process for the ENO team to update and maintain. I spent a long time working out the relational data and how this would work in the backend as well as in the design. I built a highly customised WordPress theme from scratch with separate post types for each competition, each of the competitions’ participant types and taxonomies that would display and filter the content dependent on what each entry was based on and whether it was a finalist or not.
I also spent time with ENO to work on the look and feel and the ident. I worked up several different ideas for them until we came up with something that they were happy with and echoed the examples that they had supplied me with. I devised a colour scheme to reflect the data relationships.
I designed several modular ‘look and feel’ sections and supplied the ENO with comprehensive wireframes. Once I had got past the complex functional requirement schematics and ‘look and feel’ sign off points, I designed the site in code rather than supply more designs for sign off. This is a huge advantage as the client can see the real look and feel in situ and the process is speeded up considerably. I could also allow ENO to start adding content once I had worked out the main complexity of the structure thus preventing any unnecessary delays in the whole process.
Part of the site required interfacing with Soundcloud and Vimeo for the entry forms to work and integrate with both those ENO accounts. I liaised with a 3rd party Ruby developer and supplied him with wireframes for the functionality we required.
The competitions have been very successful and have been supported by high profile mentors and judges including: Will Self, AL Kennedy, Neil Gaiman, Nico Mulhey and Terry Gilliam.
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