It's total makeover time, here at Act Sharp and boy have we got something to show off! Yes, it's been a long time coming for sure but getting things right has always been at the forefront of our minds and good things are always worth waiting for after all. It's simply not enough to just look smart as there are plenty of smart looking websites out there that are totally dysfunctional and frankly unhelpful. We wanted to really think about how helpful and user friendly we could make our new website and how we could ensure that our clients would have a positive experience when they visited the Act Sharp website. So, what's new? Well, lots actually and it's hard to know where to start but maybe the best thing we can do is to start at the top and break down the features as we go through the pages for you.
...and now for the science bit!.....
> Searching for entertainment and creating a wish list
In the top right corner, you will note that we now have a 'My Enquiry List | Sign in' area. The new website now allows you to select acts, in a similar way to how you might add products to a shopping cart. This allows you to build up a wish list of acts that you'd like further details on. You'll need to create an account in order to save, retrieve and amend your wish list at any time and when you're ready with your final list you simple send it through to one of our agents who will then check availability and get back to you with some costs asap!
Another glaringly obvious change is the new and rather useful 'Advanced Search' box, located here immediately under the main menu and hovering over the main banner image on the homepage. Act Sharp clients can now search for acts by artist type, genre, location and budget.
Incidentally, if you know the name of the act or wish to search for something more specific then you'll notice a new text search box, located directly under the 'Sign In' area.
> Additional search tabs to make it easier to find the right entertainment
Moving down the Homepage you'll spot a clever little tabs section where we've identified acts by broader parameters like 'what's popular?'...
For those of you that might need a little more hand holding we've also put together some event specific recommendations...
We also know that when you're searching for a band or artist it makes sense to look for artists closer to home to avoid excessive travel or overnight expenses or logistical issues but that doesn't mean you have to restrict yourself to searching in one county. Most folks will search the immediate county and then search in a number of surrounding counties as well. Our regional groupings allow clients to look at a number of counties in one go, rather than having to do multiple county specific searches using the Advanced Search tool...
> Wedding Entertainment
A broad grouping of all manner of popular wedding entertainment from live party bands and DJ's for evening receptions to acoustic artists (ideal for wedding ceremonies and sit down meals) and magicians or cirque style acts to entertain guests while you're busy with the photographer or to cover the drinks reception.
> Corporate Entertainment
A selection of corporate party bands, Jazz & swing ensembles, Aerial and Cirque Artists (including Aerial Bar-tending staff), close-up magicians and comedy lookalikes to entertain guests during a drinks reception or at their tables (between courses).
> Party Ideas
Some inspirational ideas for your party. This includes a range of solo acoustic guitarist/vocalists to entertain your guests at small intimate get together's, magicians, lookalikes, DJ's and an amazing range of very talented professional cirque style acts from stilt walkers, contortionists, fire & poi performers to a range of aerial performers and bar-tenders.
> Top Tips
A detailed guide on what to consider and what to look out for when booking live entertainment for your event to help our clients to avoid many of the obvious pitfalls regards logistics, timings, artists riders, inadequate facilities, access requirements, layout etc
> Sort filters
On the search results pages you will see a brief description of the search criteria, followed by a thumbnail list of all the artists assigned to the given search criteria. This list can be ordered alphabetically or by newest acts first or by price in ascending or descending order.
> Function buttons
The artists thumbnails are accompanied by an image, a short description, a list of key points and 2-3 function buttons. Most live music acts also have a 'Sample tracks' button, which is linked to a pop up media player and provides an immediate insight into the bands/artists style of playing and the typical range of material they might cover. All the thumbnails also have a 'More' function button which will take you directly to the bands/artists detailed profile page, as well as an 'Add to Enquiry List' button. Providing you have registered for an account and are logged in, you can use the 'Add to Enquiry List' button to build up a shopping cart format wish list which you can then edit before you send through a request to check availabilities and request formal quotes.
> Retaining search parameters
The 'Advanced Search' box can be found in the left hand column on the search results pages. This retains the previous search criteria but allows users to alter the search parameters if required.
> MAIN FUNCTION BUTTONS
As with the search results pages, we have the 'Add to Enquiry List' and audio 'Sample Track' pop-up buttons. These are located centrally and near the top of the artists profile page.
> SHARE OPTIONS
Immediately under the function buttons you'll find a list of share options, allowing you to share the artists profile page on a number of social media sites or to simply send an email with a link to the artists profile page. We understands that choosing the right entertainment often involves a certain amount of discussion and input from friends and family. Our share options are designed to make it easier to invite friends and family to view, discuss and offer their opinion on a number of options you might be considering.
> MULTI-VIDEO PLAYER
Something we're rather proud of is our fabulous multi-video player (also centrally located, immediately under the share icons) on the artists profile page. It works in a similar way to an audio samples player and allows you to simply click through a selection of videos available from the artist, all in one place, rather than having to scroll down the page to locate separate video players.
> ARTISTS GALLERY
The artist's gallery is located in the top right corner of the profile page. It comprises of a main profile image with a number of smaller thumbnails underneath. Click on the main image or any of the thumbnails to pull up a lightbox style display and then use the backward / forward arrows to flick through the images. Press ESC to exit the lightbox.
> AUDIO PLAYER
Immediately under the gallery is the full audio player. This contains the same tracks as the 'Sample tracks' pop up but has added functionality in that you can fast-forward through the tracks and adjust the volume level. It also allows you to listen to the tracks in the background while you continue reading through the rest of the artists profile.
> ARTISTS TAB SECTION
The artists tab section underneath the multi-video player provides a significant amount of important information on the artists so it's worth paying some close attention to this. The 'Booking Option' provides a neat bullet pointed list of what's included in the standard package and also what additional options might be offered with respect to performance times, available line-ups or extended performance options, for example. The 'Repertoire' tab is self-explanatory in that it provides a full list of available tracks from the artist. Then there's the 'Testimonials' section, which lists feedback from former clients. At Act Sharp we do our best to ensure that all artists testimonials are listed with full provenance so most testimonials will include client information, type of event, venue details and the date of the event (rather than a short 'sound bite' style sentence that can not be authenticated).
> SIMILAR ARTISTS
In the bottom right hand corner of the artists profile page is a 'Similar Artists' section. This links in other acts that might have something in common with the profile you're viewing, but which you might not have previously considered. In other words, it's a list of inspirational ideas that might not meet all the same 'Advanced Search' criteria as the artist you're looking at but they may have some similar criteria or something else in common that you might not have previously considered.
> BLOG CATEGORIES
All blog articles are dated and categorized and the blog categories are located near the top of the right hand column on the blogs pages and also on the blog articles themselves. The Act Sharp blogs section will operate in a similar way to magazine website. The motivation behind this is to create a genuinely informative and useful resource for anyone trying to organize an event (regardless of their level of experience or expertise). We will use this platform to provide helpful advice, a general commentary, the latest news, information on industry trends etc. We will also use this platform to mention other suppliers who have been recommended by our clients and we will also invite clients, artists and other suppliers to submit any useful and helpful articles of their own.
> BLOG SHARE
All Blog articles carry share icons to make it easier to invite discussion but also to allow clients the option of being able to pass on useful and informative articles quickly and easily.
We hope this article has been useful and informative but if you feel we've overlooked something or you spot an error on this page then please contact the webmaster at [email protected] and let us know.