On a computer you may stop the automatic scroll of the slider by simply placing your mouse over it.
This recent experience, mostly as a volunteer, included both a strategic side and an implementation side –with a website overhaul and animation tasks. I decided to write about these because they show the range of services I provide.
An opportunity to seize
TEDx events are local and independant declinations of the famous TED conferences, which have been taking place in Northern America since the 1980s. In the beginning, such events were dedicated to technology (T), entertainment (E) and design (D), but topics are much broader today.
The principle: several speakers come on stage, one after the other, to share his or her ideas or experience in a few minutes. Thousands of TEDx conference were organised across the world and they became very popular in Switzerland for some years. Each talk is filmed and the resulting video is broadcasted on the Internet. Anyone can watch it for free. Therefore countless TED(x) talks are watched online everyday.
I was proposed to become part of the volunteers’ team during the 2015 edition of TEDxGeneva on April, 16th. I agreed and I eventually invested a significant amount of time not only during the event, but also before and after it occurred. Firstly, because it was a chance to experience a TEDx from the inside. Secondly, it was also a chance for a first –kind of– professional experience in Switzerland.
A priority: website’s optimisation
I realised quickly that I would have significant improvements to suggest. The appearance of the TEDxGeneva website was a bit old-fashioned and it wasn’t mobile-ready yet. A quick comparison with several other similar websites and I got convinced that this site had to look less disappointing.
The TEDxGeneva core team was aware of this. They inherited the site as it was, they updated its content but they hadn’t enough time yet to modernise it. Nonetheless, having organised my ideas on how the digital communication surrounding this event should look like, I got convinced that optimising this site should be a priority, something which is both important and an emergency :
The TEDx audience, curious by nature and also mostly rather young and geek, is certainly receptive to the overall quality of a website. Furthermore, this website remains the only common — digital — place for all TEDxGeneva subcommunities between two events (Facebook users, Twitter users…). Not only it is the only place where one can buy a ticket before the event, but it is also a convenient online resource for those who want to search and watch a TEDxGeneva talk.
The next event was coming in a few weeks only, and one or the team’s main concern was to make the ideas heard by a wide live audience. An optimised website could convince more people to get his ticket for the conference.
- modernise the site by making it both more engaging and comfortable, with an appealing theme, more and bigger images;
- choose a theme which allows browsing the site with a mobile device (responsive Web design);
- take into account the many simultaneous or successive roles of the site: call for volunteers, promote an event and sell tickets, a blog part to provide information continuously, a visible connexion with selected social networks in the footer (Facebok, Twitter);
- optimise the browsing experience across the videos, by allowing visitors to select only videos in a specific language or set of available subtitles;
- keep the site simple to administrate and to animate;
- optimise the search engine optimisation.
Having written and shared the specifications, I sent to the core team a commented list of themes I found. Then I installed the new selected theme on a copy of the site. The brad new version of the website was online on April 9th, 2015.
Several improvements remain to be done. French and English contents are still mixed together in some parts, a few contents only are available both in French and English. This is an significant accessibility issue and an important translation work is required.