To the Summit!

Graphic Designer Kayleigh and Web Developer Sam spent a lot of their time in 2019 working alongside one of our long-standing clients on a project unlike anything they’d ever worked on before – UC Summit.

Spearheaded by the founder of UC Today, Rob Scott, UC Summit was proposed to the R52 team in June 2019 as an online, virtual conference and expo for those in the unified communications industry.

For the team, the first thing to address was the branding. Sister companies UC Advocates, UC Awards, and now UC Summit, all fit within and contribute to the content and identity of UC Today, so we had to make sure that the new brand of the Summit married well with the UC brand as a whole.

Secondly, the team had to address the question of how they were going to make this happen. “These virtual conferences do already exist, and you can actually buy templates for them online,” explains Kayleigh. “However, none of the templates Rob had seen really suited what he was trying to achieve, so we decided that the best option would be for us to build him a conference from scratch, an entirely bespoke creation.”

Having the R52 team on board to design and build this online platform meant that there were fewer limitations in terms of the functionality it could operate with, and the experience Rob could create for the end user. The conference could look how he wanted it to look and perform exactly how he had visualised, virtually without restriction.

“Rob came to us with a basic plan of what he’d like to see for UC Summit, before he began to approach potential attendees and sponsors in the industry,” says Kayleigh. “He visualised this virtual expo operating on two levels: as a selling tool for vendors, and as an engaging educational resource for users.”

As with conference events that take place in the real world, this virtual-world conference was designed with an Expo Hall where vendors could populate a booth with their material.

“We aimed for the booths to be as true to life as possible, whilst also being dynamic, which feedback suggests that we achieved!” explains Sam. “Vendors were given four different purchase options and their booth design was then dependent upon the subscription they made and how much content they had to showcase. Kayleigh did a great job of designing the booths as versatile spaces which could be fully branded, allowing vendors to add their own banners, videos, products, downloads and resources.”

Within the Summit, there are several key areas for users to explore, including a Keynote Theatre, where round table sessions are uploaded throughout the event, and a Conference Room, which acts as a hub spot for users, storing all videos in one convenient location. On sign-up, users were even provided with their own login which can be used to access their personal profile, where they can save videos and bookmark any resources that might be of interest.

“The really unique aspect of this project lies in the gamification that was applied, the concept and design of which Rob allowed us free reign over,” says Sam. “Users are encouraged to work their way around the expo to complete tasks, earning badges as they do so. Badges are collected and stored in the personal profile of each user, and they accumulate gradually in order to get them to the summit. When they reach the summit, they’re entered into a prize draw. It’s used as an incentive to keep people interested, to encourage them to get more involved, and to make it more fun!”

The team had their work cut out for them in the run-up to the launch, as they provided extensive support with marketing the event to ensure the word was getting out and to try and gain as many sign-ups as possible. Post-launch, our support is ongoing.

“This is the first time UC Summit has ever opened its digital doors, so we’re still learning every day and making tweaks as we get more of an of idea how users are moving through the expo and navigating the various pages and areas,” says Sam. “The direct feedback we’ve received has also helped us in making updates and actioning further developments within the site.”

“It’s not a finished product, and the success of UC Summit this year has encouraged Rob to consider hosting this event annually, perhaps even more frequently than that!” adds Kayleigh. “We expect that it will continue to grow into something even bigger and better each time, which means there will always be more for us to learn and challenge ourselves with.

“This project has definitely been a challenge for us,” continues Kayleigh. “Both me and Sam have never worked on something like this before, so inevitably we experienced some difficulties along the way. Because of the nature of a project like this, and the industry it covers, our brief was constantly changing throughout the whole process and as such we always had to stay on our toes and adapt to those changes. With nothing set in stone per se, we were working in stages and gradually piecing things together, keeping Rob informed throughout but also maintaining communication internally so that we could make sure we were all staying on the same page.

“While the brief and the visions we all had changed along the way, the outcome has been really positive and we’re really happy with how it all looks and how the site has developed. We’ve had lots of positive feedback and it’s been a great experience working so flexibly with one another.”

 

UC Summit is set to run until 19th April 2020, so there’s still plenty of time to sign up and explore!

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