Virtual Events

Virtual Event Design Ideas That Heighten Engagement

Eventually Learning Team
When we talk about event design, we usually imagine an in-person setup! However, the shift in priorities with virtual events has forced us to reimagine event engagement ideas and design elements. As attendees are navigating through virtual venues, the best way to hold their attention is to focus on design aspects that some of us tend to miss.

Let’s move beyond slapping together PowerPoint presentations on Zoom and calling it a virtual event. Instead, take a look at some design ideas to engage attendees in an unforgettable experience!

Set a Visual Theme to Prop Up Your Narrative

You are already missing out on the in-person connect, touch and feel in a virtual event. In addition, challenges like attendee engagement and event dropouts can be avoided if your virtual event has a defined theme with solid visuals.

Once you have a set of event objectives, try explaining the same to your target audience through creative storytelling. Then, focus on creating images and designs that reinforce your event’s narrative.

For example, The Augmented World Expo Europe 2022 is an event that talks about the future of technologies like Extended Reality (XR), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). As the landing page depicts, the event has an interstellar theme throughout the event website. Because the new technologies can provide ‘Otherworldly’ experiences, the landing page shows a person using VR and transporting into outer space.

The event has also used the space theme as a backdrop for the stage talks to provide a consistent experience.

A Stellar Backdrop Captures the Attention

For a virtual event, attendees might be tuning to your sessions from different locations. A recent new wave has even experimented with flying down speakers to one place with a proper setup, including backdrop, mics, lights, and décor. Some are even calling such locations virtual venues where you can record or stream sessions.

From start to end, you have to weave in your virtual event design carefully to maintain a certain level of consistency and flow during the sessions. One way to go about this would be to use branded backdrops or different designs for new sessions.

The branded backdrops give the event a professional edge and make the audience feel like they are a part of something big! In addition, mishaps like unknown appearances, cluttered rooms and poor lighting can be avoided with themed backdrops.

In addition, Zoom has added a new feature to its event platform. From April 2022, Zoom users will be getting virtual green rooms! The panelists, speakers, and the rest of your event staff can use the virtual backstage environment to stay backstage while viewing the live event feed. The experience goes beyond viewing! Speakers can even answer attendee questions and test-run their presentations in the virtual green rooms.

Even Zoom Webinar has new features for their audience! Now, the event organizers can customize the in-webinar experience by adding a branded wallpaper in all panel session videos and displaying the name tag of the speakers.

Networking Over Coffee Is the New Trend

Business and networking over coffee and cocktails are a well-known move! At in-person events, forming groups and chatting with peers happens while having refreshments or beverages. But, for virtual events, can coffee and business subsist to maintain the same dynamic?

49% of marketers believe audience engagement is the biggest contributing factor to a successful event. (Markletic)

Socio by Webex organized an EventHack Hybrid Games series in which they organized a ‘Coffeehouse Connection.’ They offered $5 coupons to attendees encouraging them to purchase coffees from their favorite store. Later, the attendees felt comfortable interacting and had exciting topics to talk about.

Similarly, you can design virtual ‘Coffee Break Rooms’ with enticing backdrops that keep changing with fun messages to help attendees combat screen fatigue and get down to networking.

One more exciting example of a brilliant virtual event engagement idea at work is the French startup Molotov! The company lets you enjoy streaming television on different devices with a single account, and it is geared up to launch an app that will enable users to watch TV with a VR headset. In a recent move, they created a virtual reality coffee shop called ‘Molotov Cafe’ to let long-distance buddies enjoy coffee together while watching TV. Isn’t this exciting?

Innovative Virtual Event Activities: Are Your Virtual Booths 3D?

Tradeshows and exhibits have a tough time going virtual because attendees love to see and experience the products or services in person. If your virtual tradeshow has flat images and icons instead of interactive booths, the attendees will grow weary of your events.

The need to stand out is at an all-time high, and 3D virtual booths are here to help you with it! You don’t have to feel pressured to recreate the exact carbon copy of the in-person booths. Instead, try exploring the different experiential features of the virtual event tech platforms to create 3D experiences. Then, welcome attendees to walk through the virtual booths and explore all products or offerings from the comfort of their own homes.

Having a virtual booth enables you to store attendee data, generate more leads and have a 24/7 online presence. For example, ConneXion 2020 landed first at the Digital Event Awards 2021. The virtual expo had over 2,300 global visitors from the corrugated industry, and they were allowed to browse the company’s videos, images and products in real-time. Furthermore, they could indulge in text or voice chats and exchange online business cards for any inquiries. In addition, they displayed 3D representations of the products along with various virtual reality presentations.

For hybrid events, Augmented Reality (AR) apps are a great way to focus on driving traffic through attendee engagement. Using apps like Google’s ARCore will help guests at your booth interact with your products in a whole new way! It uses motion tracking, environmental understanding, and light estimation to understand ambient lighting and illuminates the virtual products to match the surroundings.

Wrapping Up

Planning event design, activities and networking for in-person events can be easier when compared to virtual events, when it comes to building unique virtual conference engagement ideas. However, if done rightly, virtual event activities have the scope of providing immense traction with more leads and better return on investment.

Try adapting your design approach and creative ideas to a virtual space going ahead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which platforms enable you to create virtual exhibits?

Some platforms that allow you to plan, create and execute virtual exhibits are:
  1. Zuddl for tradeshows
  2. Dreamcast for virtual exhibitions
  3. Artsteps for VR exhibitions
  4. Shapespark for 3D exhibitions, museums and art galleries

What is the biggest benefit of designing a virtual event?

The benefits of designing a virtual event are:
  1. It is cost-effective
  2. The design can be seen and experienced by a global audience
  3. Mapping audience engagement and interactions with the virtual spaces are easier
  4. As the audience is global, you can explore different designs and patterns to capture the attention
  5. You can enable personalized designs to engage the prospects effectively

What are the essential elements of design for virtual events?

A few essential design elements for virtual events are:
  • Lines – Horizontal, vertical and dynamic lines with curves and angles
  • Forms – Fuse characters, statement pieces, shapes or even everyday objects
  • Color – Use of trending and seasonal colors at strategic places such as backdrops
  • Patterns – Try using themed patterns like florals, geometric or striped

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