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. The aim of this project was to collect and use event data to give event managers a way to prove that their events are successful.
The Team and Our Tools
As the Head of Design at Glisser, the complete design lifecycle was my responsibility, from gathering requirements directly from clients, to helping with front-end testing. I worked as the sole designer in a team of five developers, as well as a testing team in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Without a Product Manager I was also expected to take on responsibility for documentation.
For wireframing and prototyping I used Sketch and Adobe XD. The platform was built using Node.js with Web Sockets for the backend, Angular 6 with TypeScript, SCSS, and Bootstrap 4 for the frontend.
Meeting with the QA team in Kharkiv, Ukraine 🇺🇦
The Discovery Phase
When I joined Glisser there was a basic proof of concept working for select clients. I met with these clients to understand the key problems that they were trying to solve, what tools they were currently/previously using to solve them, and any workarounds that they had found so far. Along the journey I also met them to help me to test any prototypes – which for me was invaluable, but it also made them feel more involved, like they were helping to shape something special.
Within these clients the key contacts/personas would be:
- Presenters – How did they manage their presentations? What would they like to do more of? How do they think they could involve and engage the audience better?
- Event Managers – How do they manage their event agendas? How do they communicate with presenters to receive their presentations? And to what timescales do they work to?
Overcoming the Problem
I designed a custom 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. With the development team I worked to build a component library, which although took some time to get right, meant that any new features were quick and easy to build.
Glisser was not going to become a slide creation tool, therefore for content creation we had to work with Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple KeyNote (amongst others). Presenters would be responsible for uploading their slide decks into Glisser, and adding interactive elements, polls, and slides to their presentations, so I looked into PowerPoint and KeyNote to understand and in some way even mimic the user interface and behaviours that presenters were already used to. Interactive presentations being a relatively new concept it was important to make the transition from presentation to interactive presentation as smooth as possible.
The documented logic on how we should handle presentation types
Presenters want to engage their audience and keep their presentation fun. Linking to the audience member’s phones, the presentation management platform would actually use that audience engagement as a trojan horse to encourage audience members to provide valuable data – essentially the Facebook modal for live events.
The documented logic on how we would handle file conversion for potentially large files
We built an event structure, housing 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.
Getting presenters on board with fun presentations was key, but the key persona in all of this was the Event Manager. We needed to not only make their jobs easier, but to arm them with data they’ve never had before on their events to take to their managers to prove the event’s, and their own, success. Therefore the analytics platform would be Glisser’s biggest sell.
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. A moderation platform would typically be 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, managing what is being displayed on the big screen, so I ran extensive user testing to understand exactly how users interpret icons, buttons, and terminology in a high-pressure situation such as during a live event.
The Final Outcome
The Glisser Presentation Management System is now used by some of the some of the biggest companies in the world, including LinkedIn, Herbalife and EY. It has been used at events such as Mobile World Congress, Cannes Lions, and various TEDx talks.
Below, Joe Chabot from Bowlero Corp. discusses their experience using Glisser, and the problems it solves for them. I filmed this in New York and edited it back in London.