Creating a successful virtual event requires a multi-pronged approach.
A poor user experience for attendees can lead to negative perceptions of the event and even the brand hosting it.
Reliability is a key factor in user experience, and a platform that is stable and easy to use will keep users coming back.
Dexper isn’t simply a reliable virtual and hybrid events platform – we allow for deep customization so that an enterprise’s flagship event is on brand and offers a unique experience for attendees.
In 2007, to launch Apple’s first iPhone, Steve Jobs famously took to the stage at the MacWorld conference to present his revolutionary device to a packed audience. In front of 2,500 excited fans and journalists, Jobs delivered a keynote presentation that was hailed as one of the best in history.
Fast forward to 2022, and events like this have faced a major shift with the rise of virtual and hybrid events. While these events offer unique opportunities for global audiences to attend and for businesses to reach their global audiences at lower costs, they also present new challenges in terms of creating a great user experience.
So, what are the key considerations for event planners looking to deliver a successful virtual or hybrid event?
How virtual and hybrid events are changing the enterprise flagship event landscape
For centuries, humans have gathered together to share stories, learn new things, and make connections. While there’s no replacement for a live event, digital transformation has given us another way to experience these gatherings: the virtual or hybrid event.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of virtual events. Companies with global communities like Apple, Salesforce, and GitHub are turning to virtual events as a way to continue engaging with their global audiences. This shift has also allowed for increased levels of participation with digital and hybrid events.
However, creating a successful virtual event requires a multi-pronged approach (as the above great example illustrate). To deliver a great user experience, event planners need to consider things like interactive elements, technical support, and ways to facilitate networking and connections.
Why user experience matters for virtual and hybrid events
The world’s preeminent UX professionals when it comes to user experience, the Nielsen Norman Group, defines UX as more than simply “giving customers what they say they want.” True UX is about bringing together all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with a product or service, including design, functionality, and emotional response. In the context of virtual and hybrid events, this can translate to everything from the event platform and layout to speaker delivery and networking opportunities for creative peers.
A poor user experience for attendees can lead to negative perceptions of the event and even the brand hosting it. On the other hand, a well-designed virtual or hybrid event experience can leave a lasting impression on attendees and provide tangible ROI for the business.
What works for virtual and hybrid event UX
A good user experience is essential for any hybrid or digital event. Users should be able to easily engage with the event platform with minimal instruction. The event itself should be designed in a way that is equitable for all users, regardless of their prior knowledge, experience or abilities. The event platform should also be enjoyable to use, with engaging content and an engaging user interface. Finally, the event content should be useful, providing value for the user beyond entertainment or education. By following these four principles, event organizers can create a hybrid or digital event that provides a positive and valuable experience for all users.
Knowing what underpins good UX for virtual and hybrid events can help you design and deliver a successful event. Here are some key considerations:
A digital events platform should be easy to use and navigate, and the event content should be well-organized and easy to find. After the event, the content should be available as video-on-demand, so that attendees can review sessions they missed or want to watch again. By making the event platform usable and the content accessible and consumable, event planners can ensure attendees have a positive experience.
This means making sure that your event website, registration process, and virtual event platform are all accessible to everyone. By definition, accessible virtual events are those that are designed to benefit individuals of all skills and backgrounds. In practice, this means using closed captioning, providing transcripts, and offering different formats for attendees to consume content. Referring to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) allows event planners to see how they should be working to make their virtual or hybrid event accessible to all audience members, no matter their abilities.
Event organisers must adapt to create favourable relationships with their users. This is where branding comes in; the design of an event should reflect the user’s thoughts or feelings and establish a good relationship with them. A well-designed event will be enjoyable and memorable, engaging attendees in a unique and creative way.
Event planners must consider the needs of their global audience and create an event that meets those needs. features like personalized schedules and meetups are essential in order to create a successful and useful event. One that attendees will walk away from with new knowledge and connections. Networking is a crucial aspect of any event, providing attendees with the opportunity to connect with potential collaborators or mentors. This can be achieved through dedicated networking breaks, private 1:1 video chat rooms, and group discussions. By allowing attendees to connect and engage with each other in a meaningful way, event planners can create a useful user experience.
Factors that impact the UX of your event platform
Good UX has always been essential for virtual and digital events platforms – and now, more than ever, it’s a key differentiator. Event organizers are looking for platforms that are reliable, easy to use, and offer a great user experience. Customization is increasingly important, as event planners look for ways to make their platforms more engaging and enjoyable for participants. One way to do this is by customizing the event to the brand. This lets global audiences feel connected to an enterprise’s brand totem, enhancing their overall experience and creating a positive perception of the brand hosting the event. Additionally, engagement features like live polling and Q&A can enhance the user experience by making the event interactive and allowing attendees to actively participate in sessions. Furthermore, adding sign language interpretation can make virtual and digital events more accessible for all which, in turn, creates a better user experience.
Those in the UX community know that user experience of virtual and hybrid events can make or break attendee engagement. By facilitating networking opportunities, contingency planning, and partnering with a reliable event platform, event planners can create a positive and dynamic user experience for their virtual events.
Dexper is committed to providing the best possible user experience for attendees of our clients’ flagship events. Our onboarding flow is designed to be as streamlined and user-friendly as possible. And we’ve recently implemented a backup authorization tool to make sure logins are always smooth and easy. Being component-based means our platform is very customizable. In fact, customization is at the very center of what we do. We want our clients to be able to use their own design processes to fully align their events with their brand and create unique experiences for their attendees. Our skilled team is also always on hand to quickly resolve any unexpected issues during events. Contact us to learn more about how we can help enhance the user experience at your virtual and hybrid events.