Many companies launch events in virtual worlds and, as is often the case, initial enthusiasm shoots to dizzying heights. False assumptions and inaccurate knowledge of the target group lead in over 90 percent cases not to the desired expectations. Ergo: the disappointments about virtual worlds are great among organizers and users.
Almost always, virtual worlds lose sight of the specific requirements and expectations of users. Event organizers should keep in mind that it’s always about people, not technology.
Anyone who has been following the tech industry since before yesterday knows that new visions are often praised. In the end, the real products often have little to do with the promised vision. Virtual worlds, which were touted as “game changers” when Corona began, are now at best a gadget for certain niche applications. In most cases, the expectations could not be kept.
Getting to the user in just a few clicks
“Content has to find its way to the user, and it has to do so in just a few clicks,” says Jürgen Mayer, CEO of plazz AG. According to numerous statements from companies that had a virtual world in place, virtual worlds will not succeed in the long term if they run according to the “search-and-find principle“. Too much searching and by the time you find something, it was usually too many clicks.
Cisco WebEx CEO Chuck Robbins recently announced as an important milestone in a press statement that WebEx has succeeded in being ready to send and receive with only 4 clicks. Whereas the years before it was still 5 clicks.
Founder and Managing Director of doo GmbH Christoph Sedlmeir: “The grace period for experiments and technical gimmicks is over. Participants & exhibitors measure the success of virtual worlds with the same sober standards of well invested time and money. The comfortable mediation of content live and on-demand has here a long-term justification in the virtual environment. Whether elaborate virtual worlds can occupy more than a small niche, especially in the expo & trade fair sector – remains to be proven.”
Stephan Rode, CSO of plazz AG: “Amazon doesn’t look like a department store either! If customers first had to navigate their way through any sales rooms until they got to the products they were looking for, Amazon would certainly not be as successful. The potential of digital tools lies not in mapping reality in a digital space, but in their efficiency, the smartly designed service routes and the generation of usage data.”
Five unnoticed difficulties
- The implementation of the content is an example. Does it take only a few clicks to reach the goal without confusing?
- Are the individual areas solidly linked or does the user have to keep going back to the main menu via the back button? Is disorientation impossible?
- Long loading times and sometimes technical difficulties result in high abandonment rates.
- Is there a critical mass over a defined period of time so that stand personnel at virtual stands are used sensibly and effectively and do not produce unproductive waiting times?
- Is the cost-benefit ratio right? The graphical preparation of virtual worlds is always much more costly than the way that e.g. the MEA follows with the principle of show floors. Here, a point-of-interest is stored on a site plan in the form of an image via a click, so that the implementation is simple and efficient.
So far, virtual worlds in the event sector are mostly a lot of gimmick, but not very pragmatic and result-oriented. We therefore continue to pursue the path of simple and intuitive showfloors, which can be created by the organizer within seconds and require no special resources or effort.
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