We saw a connection between the conference organizer's challenges and the frustrations for conference attendees.
Primary challenge is logistics - difficulty with communication and challenges duplication of information in multiple tools.
Prioritize networking & content.
Primary challenge is navigating logistics - sorting out when & where to go.
Building on the ideas generated in our research & the client design studio, my partner and I held another design studio to further flesh out the application. We decided to build both the attended and organizer side of the application and use that to demonstrate the importance of a comprehensive conference tool. We sketched and tested a paper prototype and made changes to the sketch based on the feedback.
In order for us to solve the most critical problem for the end user, we needed to understand the process, challenges and opportunities in planning and attending a conference. We approached this in two ways - interviewing people who had planned, attended or presented at events, and researching tools that people use in event planning.
A comprehensive conference management tool for organizers & attendees for mobile, web & tablet.
My parter and I collaborated on the research, interviewing and ideation of Journeyman. After the first round of concept sketching we created a stylesheet, then divided up the prototyping; I managed the Journeyman attendee application, while my partner managed the Journeyman organizer application.
We wanted to understand the current tools that event planners & attendees were using to ensure that we were not duplicating something that already existed, but also to learn best practices.
The existing tools fell into 5 main categories: event registration, space management, communications, organization and content management. A couple tools offered comprehensive event planning & tools for conference attendees, but the scope either was far wider than conference planning or focused on gathering event metrics.
The research & interview findings indicated that providing the conference organizer with a comprehensive planning tool would create a seamless conference experience for the attendee.
To understand & organize the interdependencies of the conference experience, we identified the steps an organizer, attendee & presenter needs to complete and organized them into time categories of before, during & after the conference.
To focus and humanize the data we collected from our interviews, we created personas. We chose to represent a conference organizer, attendee & presenter as they represented the range of people who would use the Journeyman applications.
After completing the first draft of the digital prototypes, we went into multiple rounds of usability testing.
The two objectives for our next client meeting, were to 1) communicate our findings around the conference organizer workload and their need for a comprehensive tool to create a smooth attendee experience, and 2) create a shared focus for how the attendee side of the application might flow as the client had emphasized a desire for simplicity in the application.
Two and a half weeks.
Andrea is a conference organizer who has trouble keeping track of all the changes and is frustrated by needing to juggle multiple tools to get the work done.
"We were only thinking about one narrow angle of this [the application] which was the attendee side. In our conversation you pressed for the organizer part of it and I appreciate this so much."
"It’s just amazing, the level of thought that went into the process."
Andy is a conference attendee who's interested in networking with people but has trouble finding his way around because the signage isn't clear.
The outcome of the card sort was the client emphasizing the attendee focus for the application. Our client worked in the same building so we showed him the whiteboard with all the conference tasks broken down by attendee, organizer & presenter with the objective of persuading him of the importance of developing a tool for both attendee and organizer but the attendee emphasis remained.
We were still not successful in convincing the client of the importance of the organizer portion of the application.
The Journeyman organizer & attendee application encompasses the essential elements for resolving the challenges we found in our research. Thinking ahead for Journeyman.....
Design Studio & Card Sort
To create a shared focus for the attendee app, we held a design studio with our client focusing on one user flow for the attendee app.
To shed light on the importance of the organizer side in a smooth conference experience, we decided to do a card sort around topics relating to pre-conference tasks for the organizer. Our client had been involved in organizing events and we thought this would provide insight into how to prioritize these features.
A comprehensive tool for both conference attendees and organizers that focuses on the logistical, networking & content.
Many tools offer limited functionality.
Tools or platforms that offer comprehensive conference planning tend to have a scope wider than conference planning or are focused on other areas such as gathering event metrics.
The majority of the work falls to conference organizers prior to the conference. Our task was to design a solution that transformed the complexities of conference planning into an easy, streamlined process that would extend to conference attendees.
In retrospect, I would use a visual to communicate the interdependence of the organizer & the attendee. In our final client presentation, we successfully demonstrated the organizer & attendee relationship using imagery.
Attendee Mobile App
A primary finding from testing the attendee app was that the conference attendee list was too broad - users wanted a more curated view of attendees so they could connect more easily.
This reinforced the discovery from our initial interviews that networking was a primary objective for conference attendance - in some cases, up to 80% of attendees time.
I solved the problem we discovered from testing in two ways.
First, I separated the list of conference attendees into presenters & attendees, then created an easy way to toggle between the two groups from the same page.
Second, I added a way to view attendees by the session they attended, accessible from the session screen.
All these changes make networking easier by providing the information in a more focused view.
One of the primary pieces of feedback on the organizer application centered around the page for venue spaces. Users were confused by the both the terminology and format of the page.
To solve these problems, we changed the way the venue page was displayed from a list to a map view - reflecting what was in the attendee app - so conference organizers could see the layout of the space in addition to room assignments.
To clarify the confusion with naming terminology, we continued to test various options. The original tab name was “Venue”, then shifted to “Locations” before "Space" testing well.
Simplifying the conference experience.
HOW IT WORKS
RESEARCH & DISCOVERY
VISUALIZING & TESTING
Ghost Note, a creative agency, conceived of Journeyman when they encountered the difficulties in managing conference content, communications & logistics. The directive in the brief was to create a tool for organizers & attendees that made conference content management simple. In the first client meeting, the needs of conference attendee was emphasized as central to the application.