The first European UPA conference is over right now. I enjoyed three inspiring days in Turin and met several people I already knew and saw some new faces. It gave me the chance to collect lots of feedback and new ideas for pidoco° that we will have to discuss once I’m back in Berlin.
One major learning regarding pidoco° was that without a demo, it is hard to sell. You really have to focus on the main advantages and be able to present them in a short way. Especially, if a competing product is presented right next to you, it is crucial that within the few minutes that you have, your audience knows how to distinguish both products. For the next time, I will spend some more time to be better prepared.
When having a look at the conference program you will see that there have been several people coming from different continents. This made the conference even more international and provided the European community with good insights into best practices of world leading companies. Thorsten from eResult mentions two sessions in the usability blog (in German) with which I just agree.
However, besides the sessions there were these litte devices that every attendee got upon registration: spotme. These are handheld devices with a non-touch screen some few navigation buttons and a keyboard for writing text. They were stuffed with all the information you need for the conference: a list of attendees with photos, the up-to-date program, the conference proceedings, maps of Turin, etc. Using the spotme device, you can write messages to other attendees, exchange virtual business cards, spot certain people or get informed once they are close to you, you can make appointments, and you can receive news from the staff including feedback questionnaires. All together makes it a very interesting device to play with during the whole conference. I think there was not anybody who didn’t play with the spotme device.
As everything has also its disadvantages, I’m still wondering whether I will get the business cards that I exchanges. I was promised to receive an email sometime next week with all my data. And this made me think the whole conference: why is spotme only useful with having this device? Why is there no online experience before, during and after an event? Before the conference I would liked to have a look at who else is coming to make some appointments for the pre-conference evening. During the conference it would be nice to be able to see you collected business cards online to be sure to really have them. This would encourage people to use spotme event more extensively, because many people doubted to really get their data. And the experience after the conference might start next week, although I have no clue what to expect.
Therefore, I will wait to receive this email in order to have the opportunity to stay in touch with some people. Depending on how this experience will be, I might ask spotme for an offer for our UXcamp next year, because the device itself was fun to use.