Challenge
Pandemic resulted in moving a lot of things virtual. Workshops and conferences for large scale would benefit from a tool that could meet their needs. Video Facilitator fills the gap that was present in the conferencing tools available in the market.

Challenge
The project aims to highlight one of the most important but underrated activities of human body; sleep. The most affected people are the ones who work in emergency services. Sleep is integral to such professionals as its an important driver for productivity on the job. The challenge was make a design solution which is physical and can evoke a visceral response.  

Outcome
A web-based platform for running conferences with large number of people.

Responsibilities
Client engagement
Concept development
UI Design

Prototyping
Product strategy

With the surge in online education, conferences and workshop, there has been a demand for a tool that would mirror the real-world experiences of such events. This project was a redesign opportunity for the team where the client wanted an uplift to the UI. However we treated this project with a vision to launch V2. In order to proceed in that direction, we needed the client and his team onboard with our thinking.

Because the current state of the product was unappealling, we heavily emphasised on short term strategy to re-build trust amongst the exisiting users and provide an easy onboarding experience to new customers before diving into long term strategy.

Video Facilitator

Video Faclitator

We made a pitch that outlined the current problem in the product and inspired the managers on how it could be improved in a short as well as in a long term.

UX hierarchy
‘UX hierarchy of needs’ by Stephen Anderson influenced our product strategy.

Insights

facilitator icon

Facilitations are more effective if facilitators know the age group and tech saviness of the participants.

Facilitations are more effective if facilitators know the age group and tech saviness of the participants.

People often point outwards to their external circumstances as the cause of their physical state of being. They will often point towards their vocation or day on the job as the reason for experiencing depression, anxiety or sleep disorders.

network

Participants seek opportunities for networking but don’t get the chance to.

Participants seek opportunities for networking but don’t get the chance to.

Not having access to visualizing or measuring the quality of sleep easily makes it easier for people to ignore the role that sleep has in the quality of their life.

We identified patterns in form of attributes that users looked for in the product. These attributes became our guiding principles for the design decisions we made from there on.

Design Principles

Simplicity
The product should convey the choices of interactions to the novice users in a direct manner.

Agency
The product should allow the users to use their discretion while performing tasks.

Ease of use
Allowing users to find and do what they are looking for.

Flexibility
Making sure that the product provides leeway for errors and allows to come back from them.

Stage of the session
Depending on the part of the facilitation (start, middle, end), the product can cater to the services accordingly.

We changed our outlook from looking towards online facilitation by not looking at it only through the lens of real-world facilitation. Soon we shifted our efforts to leveraging the digital capabilities while being mindful about the shortcomings of technology.

Challenges

How might we make setting up and conducting of a session faster, easier, smoother, and more inclusive?

How might we make setting up and conducting of a session faster, easier, smoother, and more inclusive?

How might we create a space for conversations to occur organically?

How might we create a space for conversations to occur organically?

We mapped out features in a way so that users can find what they want where they expect it.

facilitation control
speaker control
room panel
VF mockup

Room panel is one of the unique feature of VF as it simulates a real-life like conference with the help of virtual rooms. A room offers one session on a particular topic. The sweet spot was to strike a balance between keeping facilitation private and public. One cannot enter a room if its locked or until one has a passcode to a passcode enabled room.

We added a search box to easily locate the room and an ‘add new room’ button that shows where the new room got created upon getting activated. The lobby would be the first place where everyone joins in before dispersing into their respective room to foster networking opportunities.

We incorporated the room setting into this panel for the facilitator so that they can keep the rooms ready by sharing the relevant links to the rooms, name the room and its topic of discussion before the conference begins. This allowed participants to get organised easily.

Room panel is one of the unique feature of VF as it simulates a real-life like conference with the help of virtual rooms. A room offers one session on a particular topic. The sweet spot was to strike a balance between keeping facilitation private and public. One cannot enter a room if its locked or until one has a passcode to a passcode enabled room.

We added a search box to easily locate the room and an ‘add new room’ button that shows where the new room got created upon getting activated. The lobby would be the first place where everyone joins in before dispersing into their respective room to foster networking opportunities.

We incorporated the room setting into this panel for the facilitator so that they can keep the rooms ready by sharing the relevant links to the rooms, name the room and its topic of discussion before the conference begins. This allowed participants to get organised easily.

Room panel
Room panel on the left and room setting on the right.

Facilitation control uses some basic controls that VF offers like sharing links, creating a poll, broadcasting a message, putting a timer, assembling all the participants back to the lobby and asking help from the facilitator. The pop-up for features are shown next to their button.

Facilitation control uses some basic controls that VF offers like sharing links, creating a poll, broadcasting a message, putting a timer, assembling all the participants back to the lobby and asking help from the facilitator. The pop-up for features are shown next to their button.

Facilitation control uses some basic controls that VF offers like sharing links, creating a poll, broadcasting a message, putting a timer, assembling all the participants back to the lobby and asking help from the facilitator. The pop-up for features are shown next to their button.

facilitator controls
Facilitation controls and their respective pop-ups.
room keeping
Speaker controls are above and the room keeping controls are below.

Primary speaker control was the most important part of the facilitation. In order to help a facilitator to arrange what she is presenting, we decided to make all the controls on the canves draggable. To prevent the speaker control getting lost by moving around, we made sure to make it large in size so that spotting it will be not a problem. In addition, to make it more accessible, we made the icons appear with a dot when they were activated.

Room keeping contains room name, topic of discussion that one can change during the conference. This offers flexibility to users who wants to change the agenda of the discussion in the room. Participants can also add lock, enable passcode and share the meeting room link thus, providing agency to their product.

Our proposed ideas were categorised by principles and gained trust within the product team and helped anchor conversations in having a very broad view of the product.

Our proposed ideas were categorised by principles and gained trust within the product team and helped anchor conversations in having a very broad view of the product.

ideas proposal
Since this was an exhaustive list, I’m sharing a representation of the proposal where
 lines represent an idea or a fix.
Since this was an exhaustive list, I’m sharing a representation of the proposal where lines represent an idea or a fix.

We launched the second version of the product after 2 months of work that involved research, design and development. The longer term improvements like sound cues, smoother video transition and higher level changes would be worked upon in the future.

Try the app here.


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