I'm having trouble making a decision.....................if I come right out and say what I think I may very well be dismissed as a platform vendor who is taking cheap shots at the competition or the virtual events industry in general. Believe me, I am not - I believe in virtual events and feel the market will be richer and more likely to succeed with a rich array of platform choices. On the other hand, if I'm too diplomatic or polite, where will I get the feedback to tell me if my opinion is isolated or the general consensus?
So, let me just say I have a problem with what seems to be the generally accepted graphics and user interface we, as virtual event platform vendors, offer to our organisers, exhibitors and visitors.
I vaguely recollect that it was when I was working as a project manager launching a new e-learning conference and exhibition in 2000 that I was first called by a company who explained virtual events were the 'next big thing' and I should look at a platform they had created around an event at the National Motorcycle exhibition in Birmingham. Needless to say, at that time, the user experience was fairly woeful, but I seem to remember the graphics being not a million miles away from what we see today.
I really think we need to at least offer a option to get us away from a 'literal' view of an exhibition hall, conference centre, networking lounge and so on. Why can't the exhibition stands be displayed on a carousel for example? I understand the linking of visuals to existing functionality so new visitors have a more intuitive experience, but surely we also want a little bit of the 'wow' factor? Virtual events should be cool and look up to date or even 'cutting edge'!
Typically, the back end of a lot of platforms available today are very impressive, delivering statistics and lead generation information for exhibitors that physical event organisers can only dream about. Stretching our imaginations on the way we present the front end can only increase the quality of the concept, product and experience.