By Ken Feurer, EVP, Design

Digital screens have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. As a result, whether we think about it this way or not, these screens have become one of the primary ways we engage with our communities. Through these screens we share our interests, find common ground, seek our dreams, and tell our stories. As a result, it is becoming more and more comfortable, even essential, for event strategies to incorporate a digital component. In fact, in some cases, the digital component is the event.

But, not all digital experiences are created equal. Just as in the live setting, thoughtful design can be the difference between a so-so experience and something people can’t wait to do again. With this in mind, here are 5 important things to consider when designing for virtual engagements.

Number 1: The Canvas is a window

The screen is a window into a virtual world where attendees will experience content, interact with other attendees, and receive active and passive messaging. These windows come in all different shapes and sizes, so it’s important to keep them all in consideration when making design choices. What is effective through a large window, such as a desktop monitor, must also translate to a smaller, handheld viewing experience, such as a phone or tablet. Consider the impact of color, typography, and camera angles. Lean into the advantages granted by the vast and versatile digital landscape, while also working within and understanding its unique realities.

Number 2: Location, Location, Location

While attendees may not occupy a physical location, many of the same rules for designing a physical environment still apply in virtual space. Consider how the digital way-finding and visual expressions will help the attendee navigate their way through the virtual space. Create staging and structures that translate and enhance the viewing experience through the screen. No longer confined by physical limitations, ponder how spectacular an environment can be, taking the attendee on a virtual journey unlike anything that can be experienced between 4 walls.

Number 3: the Screen, but Not only the screen

Just because we’re talking about digital experiences doesn’t mean we should completely ignore physical elements that aid in driving attendance and helping entice and excite attendees beyond the screen. Bring the same thinking you use on digital elements to the table in creating thoughtful complementary items such as printed invites, swag boxes, and pre- and post-event communications that elevate and support the digital experience in a way that feels smart and consistent.

Number 4: capture attention, again and again

At live events, where attendees share a physical location, it is customary to keep the attendee’s attention on the speaker. For virtual events we pivot to emphasize a more dynamic, engaging and appropriately high-paced graphic approach, one that boosts retention and audience participation. Using advanced animation, storytelling and transition techniques, screen content takes on an expanded role in engaging and exciting your attendees.

Number 5: consider the journey

Look for opportunities to visually connect moments along the attendee journey, creating a holistic visual story that is full of interactive connectivity. Consider the visual cues and Easter Eggs incorporated into the pre and post digital experience – and how they can weave through the live content and messaging. Think of how the attendees themselves are visually represented in the virtual space, how they are seeing themselves, and how are other attendees seeing them. Then, put yourself in their shoes and ask: what would make me say “wow”?

Technology is always evolving but one thing won’t change: digital experiences are here to stay. Whether added to a live experience or designed from the ground up to stand on their own, these elements, just like live events, will only go as far as we take them with thoughtful, strategic design that puts the spotlight where it belongs: on a great experience for your attendees.

Virtual Events & Experiences

Considering a virtual event or engagement? Our team of creative strategists, content creators, and technology experts can help your brand maintain competency and credibility in times of pivot. Learn more about our virtual offerings or contact us – we’re happy to talk with you!
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