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Partnering Platform

The client is a company that provides world-wide partnering events in life science. Around 50,000 meetings are arranged per year on the platform. The platform is the only system available that supports the workflow of companies at such partnering events.

My role

UX Designer

Year

2018–2019

The Goal

The client came to us to design a new flexible and robust product, making it engaging for newer and younger users (because the learning curve on the old platform was steep) yet providing older users with a seamless transition between the old and the new platform. The new platform had to be scalable and customizable in order to support third-party events. It also had to be responsive which would accommodate the processes: from registration, to profile completion, to onsite messaging.

The Scope

The platform supports the whole lifecycle of the event: from setup by the admin, to registration by the companies, profile completion, messaging, meetings set up before the event, messaging at the event, and follow up after the event. The platform is made up of an interface for delegates and an admin interface. The delegate interface helps users fill out their profile, search for other delegates and companies, message them, request to have meetings. When a use arrives at a partnering event, their agenda is filled with automatically scheduled meetings. 

My Responsibilities

  • Rapid and Clickable prototyping

  • Pixel-perfect mockups development and Style Guide creation

  • Responsive design

  • Mobile design

  • Development process support

  • Conducting user testing sessions

The Process

1. User research

2. Analyzed existing platform

4. Information architecture

5. Prototype

6. Created design system

7.  Design

8. Usability testing

Challenges

The main challenge was the multi-faceted nature of the platform. The platform addresses the needs of multiple user roles (admins, delegates, companies, investors, publishers). Therefore, it had to be built in a way that would allow for easy configurability.

The next challenge was that the event consisted of many stages (pre-event, event, post-event). We discovered that users had different needs at different stages of the event. They also used different devices. For instance when preparing for the event, in the so called pre-event stage, delegates (or their assistants) would usually:

  • fill in the profile in order to get exposure and be found

  • do research and send out hundreds of requests

  • search and browse interesting profiles.

​At this stage they used their desktop computers or laptops.

Next, in the onsite stage, though, users usually went straight to their meeting requests and their personal agendas. They largely used mobile devices, though desktop Admin stations were there to help out with any issues such as printing out an agenda or rescheduling a request.

 

Finally, in the post-event mode users had to still have access to past events as a sort of knowledge base on that specific event. At this point, they would follow up, check details on delegates, and view their messaging history.

 

As for the admin interface, configuring and implementing events was the main goal. This entails many pre-event and onsite functions such as: delegate enrolment process, segmentation settings according to user roles, scheduling setup, supporting delegates and so on.

Pain Points Discovered

Running user interviews helped us identify the paint points throughout the user journey. 

Pain point: We found out that in the pre-event stage, in order to fill in their profiles, users stored their profile info in a separate text document and would go through a tiring copy-paste routine before each event.

 

Solution: Since many users were recurring attendees of the events, we made it possible for them to simply import their profiles from previous events without having to fill them out all over again.

Pain point: In the pre-event stage, browsing lets delegates find interesting profiles. At the event, specific item search lets them check up on a delegate in an upcoming meeting. Therefore, search functionality had to support both browsing and known-item search to accommodate users’ needs across all stages of the event.

 

Solution: In order for the user to be able to do thorough research before the event, we implemented Save Search functionality that lets them save lists of search results. In the Search page we used categories and filter which would help users browse through profiles.

 


Paint point: During the event, users would come up to the Admin stations and ask them to print out their agendas. These printouts would come out on four or more pages, consisting of personal agenda and a couple pages of conference agenda.

 

Solution: We realized that users needed a personalized agenda on their phones. This way they could access the meeting request and reschedule, cancel, and message the meeting participants. For example, a user has an upcoming meeting but is running late, they can go to the meeting request and message the meeting participants.

Paint point: At the event, users would come up to admins and ask them to print out profiles of the people they were about to meet. While in meetings, they would make notes on these profile print-outs. This was inconvenient, especially when ended up having to transfer these notes to other sources.

 

Solution: We implemented Notes functionality that would allow the user to add notes right on profiles. Afterwards, they could review all the notes they’d made in a separate list. We also implemented a tagging system. Users could create and customize tags such as “Interesting Profile” or “To Contact”, tag profiles and then see lists of the profiles they’ve tagged.

Paint point: After the event, users still access the event environment to follow up on meetings or write Thank You messages.

 

Solution: We decided to show users the distinction between events by showing some events in history mode (for events that have already passed) and active mode (for current events). This helped users look back at past events and and follow up on meetings.

Takeaways

We spent a week at one of the events in Berlin running usability testing. Having the possibility to test the platform in the real context of use – at the event itself – was an eye-opening and extremely rewarding experience. 

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