The COVID-19 is a game-changer for many industries, especially the on-site event where many people meet up and talk about their mutual interests or have fun. And as a tech provider for professional event organizers, Happenn also witnessed the change and learned a lot from this unavoidable turning point of the event industry—and this is what we’ve learned from countless virtual events we’ve participated in throughout the year of 2021.
The Game Changed, But the Goal Still the Same
Almost all of 2011 Happenn’s clients shifted their focus from hosting the on-site event to mostly virtual events instead (with a bit of interest in the hybrid one). But the change that happened is only the “form,” because the heart of any event is still the same—you gather the people together in a place and let them participate in whatever they’re interested in.
And that’s mean, even without the actual venue for people to come. The works aren’t less easy; instead, it’s more challenging. Don’t think of the virtual event as a “lite version” of the on-site event because it isn’t. With no venue, you still need the platform. No stage setup? A stable live-streaming system is required. No registration counter? That’s when you need a professional registration system, to name a few.
UX Design Played a Big Role in Virtual Events
When hosting the on-site event on the actual venue, you don’t need to worry much about the direction because there are real doors, signs, maps, and also a reception booth to ask anything. But when everything is moved into the virtual space, you need to guide them more carefully because it’s easy to get lost.
What you’re going to do if you’ve been hosting the massive event years ago but have to use the virtual platform instead due to the COVID-19 pandemic? How do you separate each section for your audience? What should they see first after the registration. Where to click if they want to move from this section to those sections? Where to put the chat widget on? There are countless things to consider.
It’s not that hard if your audience is tech-savvy or familiar with the website/application, but thinking about the other group of audience? Well, that’s one kind of a challenge.
MetaVerse ≠ Virtual Events
The word “MetaVerse” became famous in 2021 after Facebook announced they would build one. As a result, this word has become the buzzword for some event marketers. But because this is a new thing, most people misunderstand it and consider virtual events as one kind of MetaVerse.
“Author Neal Stephenson is credited with coining the term “metaverse” in his 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash,” in which he envisioned lifelike avatars who met in realistic 3D buildings and other virtual reality environments.”—USA Today
Based on the definition of its root. There are three factors to define if it’s a MetaVerse or not: your avatar, the VR environment, and is it 3D? That means, building an online web-based platform for a one-off event will never be a MetaVerse, no matter how innovative it looks. But we can’t deny that MetaVerse will be the future of the virtual event for sure.
(In Some Way) Skeuomorphism is Back
The virtual event becomes more realistic when a smart device’s UI is minimal.
This is related to the UX design process that we’ve mentioned above. When we drastically change the form of an event from on-site to virtual. Some of the audience (in our case: attendees) are relatively unfamiliar with the online platform and feel overwhelmed when they have to face the virtual event for the first time. Where to click? Who I’m going to meet if I click this button? And more. The hard-to-pronounce word like skeuomorphism is the best way to communicate and compromise with this target audience.
Skeuomorphism design means mimicking the real-world object to simplify and lower the learning curve for those unfamiliar with the tech yet (and there’s a lot when it comes to the specific-theme event). In our cases, a virtual 3D venue helps the attendees use the v-event platform easier.
Virtual Event is More Challenging Than Ever
We’re all agreed that this is the rise of virtual events. But (there’s always a but), the big bang of any business doesn’t mean anyone can make it right. It’s become more competitive than any time in the event history—because everyone is doing it.
This proves one thing: there is PLENTY OF FISH IN THE SEA. Countless possibilities are awaiting. The technology is ready for you. The only thing you need to ask is: are you prepared to host your virtual event?
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