Mush is a community and networking site for music fans, musicians and bands throughout Cambridgeshire.
Fulfilling the objectives of the National Plan for Music, Mush commissions activities, provides information resources, works with musicians through partnership support and inspires young musicians to develop their skills and interests.
Realnet worked with the Music Education Hub to develop their ideas and aspirations for the online hub into a richly featured and functional platform. User input and content would be the key to growing and developing the site, so usability and usefulness were of critical concern. To this extent, the design and navigation through the site were centred around the individual's user profile and user dashboard.
Consideration also had to be given to the different types of users and stakeholders catered for and what their specific requirements would be from the system. For the community to thrive it would need to appeal to organisations, educators, groups and venues as well as interested individuals. Further to this, the platform would need the facility to allow users to create and efficiently manage multiple profiles. For example, a school profile may have several different musical groups and choirs associated with it.
From their dashboard, users are able to not only manage their own events, news and resources, but the system also lets them set their own search parameters, favourites, preferences and filters all posts made throughout the site to display the most recent, relevant posts. In this way, it creates a community driven by the users' interests and content and interaction with other users' content.
The contemporary and easy-to-navigate front end of the site provides a very usable and richly featured service to anyone with an interest in musical activities. Behind the scenes, a bespoke software platform does all the heavy lifting to signpost users and encourage engagement. The administration panel has been designed to allow ease of use by the Hub's webmasters; consideration was given throughout the design and technical development of how to make the site as self-sustaining and light on administration as possible.
Mush is a scalable and growing platform, with additional functionality set to be released as the user base grows. This pioneering platform delivers a focal point for the region's musical community and will enable growth and development of musical activities and interest.
The site is the brainchild of the Cambridgeshire County Council's Music Education Hub and is a comprehensive community tool that allows anyone with an interest in, or appreciation of, music to develop and broaden their experience, knowledge and talent. It connects users through search and preference tools with activities and resources and signposts areas of interest.
Funded by the Arts Council England, the site is set to be the primary music resource for the region.