Posted by: Dennis Shiao | December 18, 2009

InXpo Release 8.3: Flexibility, Convenience, Function


Earlier today, we deployed Release 8.3 of the InXpo Virtual Event Platform.  I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about select features now available on our platform, going into a bit of detail on how/why we’ve implemented the features and how you can take advantage of them.  As I look at the capabilities we’ve released, I’d characterize the 8.3 Release as one of Flexibility, Convenience and Function.

Expanded Toolbar Options

Most virtual event platforms have a “toolbar” that’s fixed – every event on that platform has the toolbar in the same location and of the same width.  In some ways, a consistent UI (across events) is a good thing – on the other hand, we’ve worked with many clients who required more flexible toolbar options.  The most common request is for toolbar options (selections) that extend beyond the available width.  In the past, the InXpo toolbar was fixed:

Based on direct client input, we’ve now rolled out an assortment of new “event frames” that provide you with more flexibility in organizing your event’s toolbar – here’s one example of a new frame (and toolbar) that’s now available:

This particular design has the following benefits:

  1. Support for more toolbar elements, since the toolbar is split between the customary top placement and a new element in the footer
  2. Support for a fixed banner ad to facilitate branding and/or a call-to-action – the banner ad can rotate and is targetable based on attendee type
  3. Increased depth to the marquee message – now rendered in paragraph form, rather than a single line of horizontal text

Release 8.3 included two additional toolbar/frame designs – with more expected in subsequent releases.  We believe this feature yields a lot of flexibility into our clients’ events, shows and business communities.

Client-based Tool for Automating Language Translations

Language / localization support occurs at two levels:

  1. Core platform layer – core elements of the platform, including user input menus, navigational elements, private and group chat interfaces, platform search, etc.
  2. Show-specific layer – all elements (and associated content) that are unique to the specific show, event or business community.  Examples include the abstract of a Webcast, the toolbar labels (e.g. “Auditorium” vs. “Conference Hall”) and the content within an exhibitor’s virtual booth.

InXpo already supports localization within the core platform – in fact, we support English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian, Simplified Chinese and Japanese (with more to come).  Core platform support is very important; in my experience, however, there is more content to translate at the show-specific layer than the core platform layer.

Translations for content in the show-specific layer are typically assumed and handled by the client.  To assist in this effort, we’ve built an automated import/export tool for client use.  The tool works like this:

  1. Automated export (into CSV / Excel format) of all show-specific UI elements that require translation
  2. Clients can then hand this spreadsheet off to their translation providers (whether they be an internal team or a third party provider) – the content to be translated are populated as rows in the spreadsheet – clients then populate columns for each language to be translated
  3. The completed spreadsheet is then imported into the InXpo Platform

Once the import completes, the show-specific UI elements have instantly become localized.  Our experience with clients told us that a significant amount of time is spent inventorying all the show-specific elements that require translation – hence, we built this tool to automate the process, creating convenience for our clients. If it’s true that “time is money”, then figure that the ROI on this tool will be quite favorable!

Enhanced Briefcase

Previously, our Briefcase supported a few operations (e.g. add to briefcase and download-all from briefcase) and were similar to offerings from other providers.  We’ve expanded the function of our Briefcase to include more sophisticated options:

  1. “View filtering” on the briefcase documents (e.g. view only documents that I haven’t already downloaded – or, view documents added to my briefcase on or after <DATE>)
  2. Ability to select individual documents to download – in the past, the only download option was the “download all”

It’s our belief that as we add useful functions to the Briefcase, we’ll encourage further use of it – while also encouraging more viewing/saving of documents and links within our events.

Now that we’ve launched Release 8.3, we’re already hard at work on Release 8.4 – we’ll be back here in early 2010 to bring you insights into the exciting features we have planned!


Responses

  1. […] structure the navigational elements in an intuitive manner?  In December 2009, I wrote about our extended toolbar options, that provide new options for structuring the navigational elements.  We’ve now expanded upon […]


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