East Street Arts

Putting art and audience at the centre of a reimagined user experience.

  • UX and Design
  • Web Development

In a few words

For East Street Arts, a social enterprise and charity based in Leeds, their new digital presence needed to deliver practical organisational goals without obscuring their personality or mercurial eclecticism. Fablr were asked to consult on and deliver a new platform that would offer relevant, exciting and accessible content for the diverse audiences that East Street Arts engage with.

Key Challenges

East Street Arts primary aim is to create space for making art, social events and learning opportunities in order to make our cities better places to live and work. From a communications perspective, the priority is to draw attention to East Street Arts’ work with artists, local communities and neighbourhoods, as well as their service offering and the work of artists in their spaces.

The original site was not fit for purpose. It was very slow and the content was heavily siloed into different areas. East Street Arts could not publish the sort of relevant and exciting content they needed to engage with their audiences in flexible, creative ways.


The new designs aimed to be clean, spacious and polished – with the odd visual quirk intentionally hidden within the layout. The idea was to provide an elegant but intentionally neutral backdrop for the wealth of photography and video media produced by East Street Arts. Nothing should distract or get in the way of the most important visual ingredient – the artworks.

One of the really important guiding principles for the user experience was the interconnectivity of the content. When a user engaged with a piece of content they would find more and more interesting pieces of connected content leading them deeper and deeper into the wealth of articles, blogs, editorials and other published pieces on the website.

"Throughout the project Fablr made the whole process painless and prioritised keeping our wants and needs in at the forefront - which is especially important during such challenging times."

Jon Wakeman
- Artistic Director

The site keyword was to be another part of the vision – a thematic keyword which would tweak the content offering to add weight to a specific topic. This could be scheduled to change at regular intervals so that the site content shifted in ways which felt relevant and dynamic.

East Street Arts already had an established and well considered brand (particularly in its printed communications) and Fablr worked to sensitively transfer what makes it distinctive to that of a content managed digital platform. Brand colour accents can be scheduled to appear in subtle places throughout the such as the navigation, the social icons in addition to other flourishes.


For an editorial team steeped in creative backgrounds, having flexibility in how content is published was very important. Fablr implemented an extensive library of modular layout components that put limitless options at the fingertips of content managers in how articles could be formatted and presented.

East Street Arts’ identity stands at the borderline of where the ordered meets the disordered, and it was essential that our design and technical delivery could allow for self expression – avoiding fixed, repetitive template conventions, but without compromising the user experience.

Since its launch, the new website has hit most of its objectives and, as it continues to grow and develop with new and richer content, it looks set to continue increasing engagement with artists and the local community. The analytics are impressive, as well. Compared with the previous year, the number of users on the site has increased by over 50% and the amount of time users spend on the site has also increased substantially.

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