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Aird: An event and video production management toolkit

Brief


Seervison suite is a solution for autonomous video production workflows. It allows trained professionals to produce high-quality content through multi-camera control software and workflow automation. The solution relies on a hardware DOP, a camera control robotic arm, and advanced computer vision for tracking.

Seervison invested in expanding upstream to investigate event management and video production management through a secondary product called "Aird".

The product vision was to create an intuitive communication system within event production to foster mutual understanding between teams and control turbulent information flow between event managers and video production teams.

 

Role


I was the Lead UX on the product. The primary team structure was CPO, PM, and UX lead.
My role included general research, surveys and interviews, wireframing, prototyping, user testing, high fidelity UIs and overseeing implementation and development of UX with an offshore development team.
 

Outcome

Extensive user testing and rapid prototyping revealed that our initial assumptions about the event managers as the primary users were proved incorrect. Instead, video producers found the product much more helpful and helped us re-align the value proposition and direction. As a result, we achieved an NPS of 87.5 for video producers, moving up from 40 from the event managers.

Defining the problem


(Research, product positioning, stakeholder analysis, competitor analysis, positioning, personas, user interviews and surveys, experience maps, journey maps, A/B split testing, developing requirements)

Researching event planning and management space

Researching the event management space revealed that there had been an exponential increase in the number of platforms that had focused their attention on this niche, primarily due to an inability to conduct on-site live events due to the global pandemic.
Hybrid and digital events have been on the rise.
 

  • 66.5% of event professionals plan to use hybrid as their go-to format once in-person events resume.

  • 71% of event professionals plan to continue to employ a digital strategy to maintain their virtual audience once they return to physical events.

  • 41.5% of event professionals are willing to pay up to $5,000 for virtual event technologies


We wanted to find out the major pain points faced by the people in the industry. Applying design thinking, our research included extensive user interviews and surveys to get a clearer picture. Split testing three landing page variations also guided us in taking informed decisions. 

Early insights on significant pain points:

General pain points
 

  1. The Industry was going through a significant transformation, and the professionals in the field did not have time to gain a deep understanding of new technologies.

  2. The success of the event was reliant on the ability of everyone involved to communicate the most minor and vital details at the time they arose.

  3. Two primary professionals were involved in delivering high-quality events; event managers and video producers- each with their own set of challenges while still sharing overlapping workflows.

  4. To find the best solution, we needed to solve individual problems event managers and video producers face and their overlapping workflows.


Event managers
 

  1. A lack of control made it hard for event managers to keep a pulse on the constantly changing information and rapidly evolving details.

  2. A lack of mutual understanding as people from different professional backgrounds had to work together who could not communicate professionally resulted in devastating misunderstandings.

  3. Due to the complexities involved, the extensive body of knowledge required, and the rapidly changing environment, event management is frequently cited as one of the most stressful career paths, in line next to surgeons.

Video producers
 

  1. Video producers needed much equipment to produce a decent hybrid event. Limited resources meant sub-standard video production.

  2. “Performance” of the production depended on preparation and planning, which was historically challenging to plan and manage.

  3. Unnecessary discussions on different channels (email, slack, skype, SMS, excel sheets) between the Event Manager and production company resulted in a loss of time and, sometimes, important information.

Personas

Based on our findings, we created two primary proto user personas as the main users of the product. The precise definition led us to interview several users to validate our assumptions.

Persona 01: Event manager


Persona name: Alexandra
Persona role: Primary User

Job description:
She is responsible for the organization, planning, budgeting and coordination of events of various levels of difficulty, serving multiple internal departments. She takes someone else's vision for the event and makes it a reality.
Events could be internal or external.

Usually has a team of 2-3 people under her plus an ability to hire freelancers.

Persona 02: Video production manager

Persona name: Max

Persona role: Primary User
Job description: Project Manager for a video Production company
Acting as a main point of contact between clients and everyone at his company.
Estimate/breakdown workload of the event, create quotes, consult clients on potential approaches and problem solve
Book equipment, hire freelancers or book internal crew needed for the event
Coordinate between client crew and internal crew
Coordinate event speakers as needed
Ensure work done up to client spec

Ensure client is happy, ensure return business.

Competitor analysis and positioning

The creation of competitive profiles (in terms of marketing strategy, target market, core business, usability, layout, navigation structure, compatibility, content, design, and performance) and SWOT analysis helped assess what existed in the market and position the product

Our main competitors were event management platforms and streaming solutions. Event management platforms focused on streamlining the experience for the viewers, making it pleasant to organize registration, self-organization, ticketing, and so forth. Streaming platforms focused on the user journey’s execution portion, providing tools for either non-technical event managers or technical video production teams to execute the video portion. Their value proposition only applied right before or as soon as the event went live.

One primary tool focused on Execution Planning. They targeted a professional broadcast user base.

User interviews/surveys

To discover more about the problem space, we relied on direct interviews from event managers and video producers to validate personas, challenges, and pain points.  The early surveys and interviews were more generic and focused on understanding individual workflows and fundamental pain points in the process.

User journeys, mental maps and experience mapping

We mapped out detailed user journeys and experience maps for both user personas to get a high-level understanding of the current workflows and user behavior to achieve their goals.

Focus on Insights

Valuable insights gained from the process helped us define a broad product mission and vision, along with a clear value proposition for both user personas. In addition, a detailed competitor analysis helped us focus on finding differentiation and niche down on features not offered in the same combination.

With a specific focus on translating requirements between stakeholders from all backgrounds, execution planning was the core unmet need of the currently changing landscape in events.


3 main opportunities to focus on
 

Create a “rundown maker”: to help event-related content planning and delivery for event managers to other stakeholders.

  • To give event managers a place to organize the event agenda along with all needed pieces in one place

  • Replace direct communication with broadcast-style communication.

  • To collect and subsequently share all required visual elements specified with the event producer.


 

Create web-based interactive endpoints or “dashboards” maker: to help video producers create different interactive dashboards for presentations

  • To allow producers to use less equipment by creating video layouts through a browser and using it as a video source

  • To enable producers to create sources/endpoints for their video productions and display them on any screen size (phone to SMDs) by sharing a weblink

  • To allow producers to create custom layouts for different entires.


 

Create rundown automation and dashboard cueing for live video production: to enable video producers to run live events and switch between different dashboard states through the rundown.

  • To switch between entries and create workflow automation

  • To manually switch between different states of dashboards through one rundown

Focus on Insights

Valuable insights gained from the process helped us define a broad product mission and vision, along with a clear value proposition for both user personas. In addition, a detailed competitor analysis helped us focus on finding differentiation and niche down on features not offered in the same combination.

With a specific focus on translating requirements between stakeholders from all backgrounds, execution planning was the core unmet need of the currently changing landscape in events.


3 main opportunities to focus on
 

Create a “rundown maker”: to help event-related content planning and delivery for event managers to other stakeholders.

  • To give event managers a place to organize the event agenda along with all needed pieces in one place

  • Replace direct communication with broadcast-style communication.

  • To collect and subsequently share all required visual elements specified with the event producer.


 

Create web-based interactive endpoints or “dashboards” maker: to help video producers create different interactive dashboards for presentations

  • To allow producers to use less equipment by creating video layouts through a browser and using it as a video source

  • To enable producers to create sources/endpoints for their video productions and display them on any screen size (phone to SMDs) by sharing a weblink

  • To allow producers to create custom layouts for different entires.


 

Create rundown automation and dashboard cueing for live video production: to enable video producers to run live events and switch between different dashboard states through the rundown.

  • To switch between entries and create workflow automation

  • To manually switch between different states of dashboards through one rundown

Ideation and prototyping


Information architecture

Previous interviews, surveys, and journey mapping helped define a clear and straightforward information architecture based on existing mental models for event management and video production workflows. We focused on creating a familiar system that was to be instantly recognizable.

Wireframing and prototyping

Translating sketches and diagrams to Figma, wireframes, and user flows helped define the most critical user stories. A quick internal feedback loop ensured rapid iterative changes.

Our prototyping approach was two-pronged:
 

  1. Create a rundown maker and iterate on it through user testing to validate the concept

  2. Create a POC for a presentation module dashboard for video producers and validate features

We validated the most critical user stories and assumptions via clickable mid-fidelity/high fidelity prototypes through user testing.
We relied on SEM scores, SUS survey results, and open-ended Q&A, allowing us to gain a deeper understanding by combining both qualitative and quantitative information. A landing page was launched to gather beta users before the launch of an MVP.
 

Rapid iterative and testing allowed us to define MVP deliverables. Offshore developers were hired in order to develop an MVP.

Better Iterations

Rundown

Outcome

The current state of affairs

Results

1- The average SEQ score of rundown features moved from 5 to 6.5 (ease of use). But it was not telling the complete picture.
2- The NPS from event managers was low : 40 and their were reasons for that:

Major insight 01 - the bad

Although the event managers found the tool very easy to use and potentially helpful, they were too entrenched in their workflows (excel, google sheets, emails, slack, confluence) to move frictionlessly to a specialized platform.

They also cited reasons such as “difficult to convince the team to adopt a new tool” and also "a lack of the ability to integrate with existing tools" like gdrive/dropbox for storage, asana for task management, and google calendar for scheduling as a significant factor for not being eager to make a move as quickly.

As the MVP was not ready on time, the event managers found it hard to visualize how the real platform would feel to use. Even high-quality clickable prototypes were not enough to convince the users how the real platform would function.
That was a significant reason why the NPS was this low.

Major insight 02 - the good

Although the event managers were not that excited, the video producers reacted entirely differently.
The NPS from video producers was 85.7 - as they liked the toolkit and found it valuable and easy to use.
We have used the POC for our internal team meetings and got good feedback from the team.
We received a lot of feedback and new ideas for further development.

Next steps

Redefinition of the value proposition

Aird is a toolkit for the easy introduction of high-quality video production to any event.

 

  • The focus has shifted from the event manager to video producer as the primary user

  • We will be focusing on testing out new user flows imagined from the context of a video producer


Currently, we are focusing on the presentation module as the first significant dashboard module.

We are already showing ideas to video producers to get their feedback on the product.

Launching MVP in Feb/March 2022.

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