virtual events

virtual events

some things that would help me, personally attend more of them

shelby spees's photo
shelby spees
·Nov 20, 2020·

3 min read

Copied from my original twitter thread and edited for readability.)

I have a full-time job. I have ADHD. I struggle with executive dysfunction and auditory processing issues. These are some things that would help me, personally watch more talks/panels/etc. live:

  • a Google Calendar invite for the specific event time, with a link to the actual live stream that'll open with my credentials when I click it
  • live captions transcribed by a human that I can overlay on the video or open in a separate window
  • a very obvious "watch now" CTA button at the top of the main event website
  • ticket confirmation tied to Google Auth, so I can just click the Google login thingy to watch the stream (for paid events)
  • stop having a separate "booth" experience if you already have a conference Slack. (also stop trying to make "virtual expo halls" happen)
  • single track! I can't decide between your 11 different conflicting talks, I can barely decide what to eat for lunch

Regarding calendar events: Please let me close the tab and then come back without having to click through a bunch of webpages or search through my email. Each click I make that's not opening the event stream from my calendar is another chance for you to lose me.

And when I say "another chance for you to lose me," that's not a threat that you're gonna lose my support or money. You're just going to lose me as an attendee because I saw a new email when I went to find the event stream link in gmail and now I'm replying and 20 minutes go by...

Continuing the list:

  • in your conference Slack, vendor channels should have their event landing page (with links to videos, PDFs, etc.) pinned to the channel topic.

It's probably possible to automate this if you have more than a handful of vendors, but idk Slack's API at all. I guess that's less about attending talks, but it's how you eliminate the need for a "virtual expo hall."

  • please make sure your speakers are using decent mics!

Consider mailing them usb mics to use for the event if they don't own one. Static, background noise, echoes, can make it nearly impossible to process what people are saying. Sounds interact with each other and make it harder to understand speakers, so control for as much as you can. E.g. I can easily understand someone with an accent I'm not used to when we're in a quiet room, but if we're walking next to busy traffic I really struggle.

I wrote all this because I want to watch more talks live. I want to support speakers and learn from them. I want to engage with other attendees. Please make it easier for people like me to do this.

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