Glisser started when the founder realised that whilst a lot of his marketing budget was being allocated to events, it was difficult to measure whether that money was actually being well spent.
Event effectiveness was still being measured based on attendee numbers, and calculated by how many unused name badges were left on the desk at the end of the room. They were being assessed using paper feedback forms because nobody filled in post event surveys.
Glisser’s founder calculated that inputting the data from the paper feedback forms into the company CRM system would take his team almost 400 days! Whilst at the same time £1,000s were being spent printing copies of slide decks to leave on seats for attendees, only for them to be thrown away when last minute changes were made to the presentation.
It turns out he wasn’t alone. Forrester Research indicates that business-to-business companies spend nearly a quarter of their marketing budget on events. Despite big budgets, very little is being spent measuring, analysing and proving event ROI.
I worked as the sole designer, in a team with four developers – with occasional help from outsourced developers and testers. With the luxury of having a basic version working for customers, we worked on a V2 beta section-by-section. Existing customers using the basic version provided valuable feedback and helped to test prototypes. I created extensive documentation on the design and behaviours of the platform, firstly for sign-off by the stakeholders and investors, but also as a bible for the development team to work from.
I adopted a design framework based on Material Design to aid user familiarity, as it was set to become a complex presentation management system, often managed by the end client. I worked with the development team to build a component library, which although took some time to get right, it meant that any new features were quick and easy to build.
Presentation Management Users can upload their presentation slides from PowerPoint, KeyNote, Google Slides or even as a PDF, before being able to customise their presentation and add interactive elements, such as polls, Q&A, and surveys. Glisser is not a slide creation tool, but the user will have had to have used one to create their slide deck. Because of this, I looked into PowerPoint and KeyNote to mimic the user interface and behaviours as much as possible. Interactive presentations are a relatively new concept, so it’s important to make the transition from presentation to interactive presentation as smooth as possible.
Event Structure Events are a collection of presentations, organised within an event agenda. The event structure also changes the audience’s perspective, as the app becomes an event agenda with access to all presentations. Having spoken to event managers about how they plan their events it was clear that we had to integrate with other event platforms and import existing event agendas, to save the user having to build their event agenda twice. And with presentations often being supplied last minute it was also important that the structure could be built in a non destructive way for when inevitable last minute changes and additions are made.
Live Control (Moderation) Some of the bigger clients asked for more control over their presentations, specifically being able to moderate potentially embarrassing questions before they appear on the main screen. It is typically used by a presenter’s aid in the audience on a tablet or laptop device at high profile events. This user has a crucial role at an event, so I ran a lot of user testing to understand exactly how users interpret icons and buttons to control what’s displayed. Notifications and ease of use were crucial on this platform.
Analytics Interactive presentations are often described as Glisser’s Trojan horse, as it’s actually the analytics that are Glisser’s biggest sell. As pretty and as user friendly as the audience app is, paying clients are looking for a way to prove that their event was a success. The analytics platform targets event managers (and in bigger companies, staff engagement managers) as an easy way to provide their boss validation on the job they are doing. It’s these analytics stats on their events that will help them to push for a pay rise.
Live View The LiveView part of the platform is the element used to present on the main presentation screen at the front of the room. It should be responsive for large event screens (including giant 150” led screens) and be distraction free with minimal user interface. Not only should it show the slides, but present the interactive polls, the q&a feed, and a social media wall – displaying posts and images for a certain hashtag or username.