Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

November to December 2014

User Research
Experience Design
Survey Design


Competitive Analysis
Conceptual Modeling
Affinity Diagram

Jabili Kaza
Junho Lee
Quintin Carlson
Wenni Zhou


For our final project in the Designing for Service course, our class split up into groups and each designed a new service experience for our client, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO). Over the years, PSO has steadily seen its costs increase, but ticket sales have been stagnant. Our challenge was to design a service that would improve the PSO experience, delight its customers, and ultimately, help PSO move towards a more financially sustainable future.


My group conducted two phases of research. First, we interviewed patrons and non-patrons of the PSO. Next, we all attended a PSO concert to get a first-hand account of the experience. Since our group members had varying background knowledge of classical music, this exercise not only give us a common point of reference but also shed light on the differences between first-time and regular attendees experience a concert. Through our interviews and observations, we created a current model of the concert-going experience.

We also performed a lightweight competitive analysis to understand other symphonies in similarly-sized markets around the US, whether they were experiencing the same problems as PSO, and what they were doing about it.

Finally, we created a stakeholder map to better understand PSO, its partners, its customers, and the flow of value that ties these entities together.



After identifying some opportunities areas where PSO can improve customer journeys, we held an affinity diagramming session to create some practical and pie-in-the-sky ideas for how to fill those gaps.



To prototype the Music Nest experience, we set up two adjacent screening rooms in our design studio. One of the rooms showed an inspirational TED Talk by Boston Philharmonic conductor Benjamin Zander. The premise of his talk is that anyone can be a fan of classical music, and he provides an explanation of a Chopin piece. In the next room, we screened a performance of that piece in full in a dark room with personal headphones, so each participant can get the full surround-sound experience. 

Prior to entering the first screening room, each participant was asked to take a survey that asked them about their history with classical music and attending live performances. Upon exiting the second room, we interviewed each participant to gauge the impact of the experience on their views of attending a classical music concert.



Finally, we produced a couple of video [demo and interviews], a poster [high-res], and a presentation [pdf] that we shared with members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

 Final presentation poster

Final presentation poster