Simplifying the conference experience.

Overview

Challenge:

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.

Solution:

A comprehensive conference management tool for organizers & attendees for mobile, web & tablet

My Role:

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. 

Duration:

Two and a half weeks.

 

How it Works

Meet Andy...

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.

Meet Andrea...

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.

Client Response

"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."

Research & Discovery

Attendee App

Organizer Tool

"It’s just amazing, the level of thought that went into the process." 

Interviews

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. 

We learned that the priorities for conference attendees were networking & content and the primary challenge was navigating logistics - sorting out when & where to go.

For conference organizers, we learned that the primary challenges were also logistical; duplication of information and challenges with communication.

We saw a connection between the logistical frustrations on the attendee side and the logistical challenges on the organizer side.

Competitive Analysis

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.

 

 

Competitive Landscape

Competitive Landscape

The existing individual process tools fell into 5 main categories: event registration, space management, communications, organization and content management. A couple tools offered comprehensive event planning & attendee tools, but their scope was either far wider than conference planning, or focused on gathering metrics from events

Opportunity

Opportunity

The opportunity for Journeyman lay in providing a comprehensive tool for both organizers & attendees that was focused on the networking and content aspect of conferences.

Making Connections

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. 

This confirmed that the majority of work falls to the organizer prior to the conference. And, confirmed that our task was to design a solution that transformed the complexities of conference planning into an easy, streamlined process for the organizer that then fed to the attendee.  

Personas 

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.

 

 

Attendee

Organizer

Presenter

Client Collaboration

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. 

 

 

Card Sorting

Card Sorting

To emphasize 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.

Unexpected Outcome

Unexpected Outcome

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.

In Retrospect

In Retrospect

We were not successful in convincing the client of the importance of the organizer portion of the application. 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.

Design Studio

Design Studio

The design studio with our client around one user flow for the attendee application was more successful as we came out with sketch ideas to start the prototyping process.

Visualizing & Testing

Sketching

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.

 

 

Usability Testing

After completing the first draft of the digital prototypes, we went into multiple rounds of usability testing.

 

 

Attendee Usability Outcome #1

Attendee Usability Outcome #1

One of the primary pieces of feedback on the attendee application was that the format of the conference attendee list was too broad - people wanted a more curated view of attendees so they could connect more easily. This reinforced the findings from our initial interviews that networking was a primary objective for conference attendance - in some cases, up to 80% of attendees time.

Attendee Usability Outcome #2

Attendee Usability Outcome #2

I resolved this by providing multiple attendee view options in the application. I separated the lists of conference presenters from attendees into views that you can toggle between on one screen. I also added view of attendees who attended a particular session, accessible from the session screen. All these changes make networking easier by providing the information in a more focused view.

Usability Testing - Organizer

Usability Testing - Organizer

One of the primary pieces of feedback on the organizer application centered around the venue space tab which was originally in list format. Organizers wanted to see the layout of the space in addition to room assignments, so we added a map. We also heard feedback that people were unclear about the name of this tab. The original name was “Venue”, then shifted to “Locations” before testing well with “Space.

Outcomes

Thinking Ahead

The Journeyman organizer & attendee application encompasses the essential elements for resolving the challenges we found in our research. Thinking ahead for Journeyman.....

 

 

© 2015 KATHERINE YODER