To evolve their platforms for enhanced experiences and broader adoption, virtual event platforms should consider the following:
Make it easier to experience
Most virtual event platforms are easy to use – on a first-time visit, users tend to grasp the overall user experience and can figure out where to go (and how). That being said, for wide scale adoption, virtual events needs to be as easy as Facebook. That is, our grandmothers need to be able to access the site and figure things out. On Facebook, grandmothers can update their profile, read their “friends” posts and write updates to their Walls. Can a grandmother login to a virtual event, update her profile and participate in a group chat? We’re not so sure. Similarly, navigation and interactions need to be easier. Most virtual events are intuitive to navigate (e.g. Lobby, Auditorium, Lounge, etc.) – but may not be so intuitive with regard to message boards, chat, blogging, rating, etc.
Make it easier to find
The typical “location” of a virtual event is quickly becomin outdated – microsite with registration page, with no ability to experience the event prior to completing all mandatory registration fields. The registration page serves as a “wall” not only to potential attendees, but to search engines as well. Virtual event platforms need to move “outside the wall” and expose their technology on Facebook, on blogs and on publisher web sites. Platforms should widen their distribution via widgets, embed code and application programming interfaces (API’s). Facebook is not limited to Facebook.com – it has Facebook Connect, Facebook Open Graph and much more. Virtual events platforms, on the other hand, seem to be restricted to “VirtualEventPlatform.com”
Make the experience available on more devices
Most virtual event platforms support Windows, Mac and Linux. They need to support more platforms, especially mobile. On the mobile front, it’s important to consider iPhone/iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows 7 Phone and WebOS (listed in our order of importance). To start, we don’t believe the entire virrual event experience needs to be “ported” to mobile devices -rather, vendors should determine the most critical features for attendees and exhibitors – and prioritize based on importance. For instance, chat is an important element of virtual events, so why not make a mobile app that allows exhibitors to staff their booth via their smartphone.
Make the platform more adaptable and flexible
This article was developed collaboratively via PBworks. Contributors to this article include:
- Dennis Shiao, Blogger at “It’s All Virtual”
- <YOUR NAME HERE>