• Company: Vendini

  • UI Design: Steven Ackerman

  • Interaction Design: Paul Seymour

  • Product Manager: John Uetz

Vendini Patron Connect: CRM for performing arts venues

Patron Connect is a CRM app for performing arts venues who use the Vendini solution that facilitates such contacts. It runs natively on iPad and iPhone, and has a desktop component within the main Vendini web app. The system culls internal data from event venues and analyzes it to give employees insight into their most loyal fans’ behaviors and preferences.


The problem

Performing-arts venues don't make the bulk of their money selling tickets. Most of the revenue comes in the form of charitable giving — partly through grants, partly through corporate gifts, and partly from the generosity of dedicated patrons who are devoted attendees. Development directors responsible for this fundraising look to technological solutions that can support deeper engagement with their high-value patrons.

Their primary context of engagement is at the venue on the night of a show. Venue employees want to see who's at a given performance, review a patron's purchase history and assess their contribution potential. They can then determine if and when contact should be made, assign such tasks to colleagues, and log these activities for future review. 


Integrating a CRM

As Senior UI Designer at Vendini, I worked collaboratively with the Product Manager and UX Designer to define interaction patterns and reusable interface components. We tested our assumptions against user needs, product goals, and technical capabilities, and iterated frequently throughout the design phase.




Patron Asessments

For the development office to quickly assess and qualify patrons, the most important data — their total spend, sales ranking, and current purchases — needs to be accessible at a glance.

Patron Contact Lists

Reviewing a list of hundreds of patrons attending a given performance and finding the ones you want to talk to can be daunting, especially on a mobile device.

Activities and Tasks

We researched several popular CRM applications, culled the most relevant functionality and wrapped it in a seamless user experience. 


UI Kit and design system

As the visual lead, I developed a UI system that fit into Vendini’s existing application suite, and which laid the groundwork for future mobile apps in the offering. I expanded the product color palette and introduced a new lexicon of iconography specific to the Vendini system’s components. 

Web dashboard design 

For the desktop web-based portion of the system, Vendini's UI received a major facelift.  Collaborating with the UX Designer, I built a web pattern library that solved the interaction problems at hand, while preparing for future scenarios anticipated in other facets of the solution.


Web prototyping and living style guides

Part of my design process for the web includes prototyping in HTML/CSS/JS.  For my documentation, I used code snippets developed in the prototyping phase to specify look-and-feel, behaviors and animations. Then I coordinated with the front-end team to implement a living style guide, facilitating development of the next generation of Vendini's web application.




Customers were impressed with the value proposition and potential for the system. However, due to development delays, the iOS app was lauched before the web app  integrations. This frustrated customers and severely impacted user adoption. Once the features were expanded to the web interface, customers came to love the capabilities. 

Meanwhile, Vendini salespeople found the app extremely helpful in their sales cycle. In the first six months after launch, new customers cited Patron Connect as being among the top three differentiators that won their business. 



  • Customers love the manifest (ability to see who's at a given performance)

  • A small handful of customers enthusiastically embraced the tool

  • The app was well received in sales demonstrations and conributed to new business



  • Technical integration between mobile app and web app needs more attention

  • Some mobile app features are little-used; reduction of feauture set will lessen cognitive load, improving adoption and engagement