BlackOak developed a custom platform for The University of Chicago Law School’s virtual reunion in 2021.  Custom platforms are uniquely crafted software programs developed for a particular group of users.  The platform was the central hub of this event which hosted programming, networking, audience engagement, and registration. Building a custom platform is a robust process.  Below are some questions to consider to successfully build one for your next virtual or hybrid event.

1. Identify the needs of the virtual or hybrid event

a. What is the main purpose of the event? Information distribution? Networking and community building? Marketing or promotion of your work?
b. Is there an in-person component that connects to the virtual component?
c. How will the registration process flow and how does it connect to any in-person attendees?

2. Align on the overall design aesthetic and user interface

a. What brand guidelines need to be considered?
b. What do you want guests to take away visually from the event?
c. What elements can you add to keep the audience engaged?

3. Establish a development and event timeline

a. What testing, validation, and integration deadlines will allow for a comfortable project pace?
b. When should the custom platform launch to the audience?
c. Are guests accessing it before the event goes live? What do the guests see when they access the custom platform before the event begins?

4. Identify the features of the platform

a. Who are the attendees and how tech-savvy are they?
b. Are there Q&A, Polls, Guests directory, Chat, Games/Engagement, Agenda, Networking/1:1 chat, On-Demand video, or other brand media?
c. What low priority features could be removed to simplify the user experience?
d. What information needs to be available after the event?

5. Select your CDN

a. Is your audience domestic or global? If global, which countries will they need to access from?
b. Does your organization have any existing profiles to stream to? Would you like to multicast the program to any social media pages?

6. Establish a Risk Mitigation Plan

a. What potential failure points in the system and plan exist? What can be done to minimize the likelihood and magnitude of impact?
b. What is the communication plan to presenters and guests in case of unexpected issues?

7. Decide what analytics are important to you?

a. Do you want to capture clicks, time spent on the page, geographic location, e -mail information?
b. When would like to use and access this data? Real-time during the event? After the event as part of wrap up?

The University of Chicago Law School’s favorite part of their event was the insights around their attendees gained by digging into the analytics. We provided a full set of information through the custom platform that typically wouldn’t be available after an in-person event. Robust analytics are one of the biggest benefits of a custom platform. Let’s build something tailored just for you. Contact BlackOak Technical Productions today.



What have you been thinking about with your event?