Our recent work with COST action group, AttoChem, enabled us to think about the attendee’s journey and the experience of abstract submission online. As one of the first events our project manager Jon worked on, here he reflects on the experience and how he made the event engaging for all the attendees.

Making the online experience engaging

The 2nd Annual Workshop of the COST action AttoChem took place after the success of their first virtual workshop in September 2020. We had a great time working on this event and were delighted when they got back in touch. Creating an engaging space for researchers in the scientific community can be challenging online. Students wanted to present their work to their peers, but also share ideas, engage in discussion, and meet new people in the field. The abstract exhibition, typically seen at scientific conferences, needed to be redesigned to suit the virtual space. This is where we got involved.

 

What did we recommend?

It was important to ensure accessing the platform and starting a conversation was easy. The platform also had to be familiar for the attendees. We put forward EventsAIR as the platform of choice which offered familiarity to those that attended the first workshop in 2020. To provide even more familiarity, Zoom was used alongside EventsAIR, and we encouraged speakers to use this as a way of having more in-depth conversations. Posters were not uploaded as PDFs, but as short videos to give speakers more opportunity to bring their content to life.

What did we do?

Each abstract author was given a brief to create a short two-minute video showcasing their work. This could’ve involved simply talking through their poster, having a slide deck or even just a piece to camera. When a delegate navigated through the poster displays, they’d be able to watch upwards of thirty videos covering different topics. Delegates could then go into a Zoom meeting room to discuss further with the author. We provided training to all authors and support on the day. We also took responsibility of building the platform components; authors simply needed to add their video link and Zoom meeting room link.

What was the result?

Sharing knowledge and having open discussion was essential for making this event successful. There were great conversations happening in various Zoom meeting spaces throughout the event, and fantastic video content from the exhibition.

We realised how important familiarity is online if you want to facilitate good conversation. Initiating a conversation in-person will always be more natural compared to being sat behind a screen. Using simple solutions, such as Zoom meeting rooms can provide that familiarity and the answer to getting people talking. If you can get extra faces on the screen, do it! It will only create a much more engaging experience for everyone involved.

If you are looking to create more engagement during your online events, get in touch with our team to find out how we can help. 

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