The event’s organizers did an amazing job of bringing together dozens of technologies to make the experience feel like an in-person event. They provided Dolby and the other event sponsors beautiful (and retro) 8-bit virtual conference space and booths. This gamification was surprisingly effective as an ice-breaker and a means to draw-out engagement from even the shyest of software engineers.
Through the Gather platform, attendees stepped into the space with their personalized avatars and roamed around old-school using just the arrow buttons of their keyboard. The real magic happened when two or more avatars were in close proximity and a spontaneous video and audio conference was spawned.
I chatted with dozens of attendees about many subjects and one theme was reoccurring; how this experience of walking up to a stranger while at a tech conference is strikingly familiar, yet more empowering in the digital world. For some, the avatars added an extra level of initial anonymity, at first; as they can just walk past another attendee without engaging. But, just after a few minutes, most attendees realized the real fun is in engagement in ad-hoc video conferences that connect and build community.
Teaching a remote workshop can have its own unique challenges; like how do you know if the audience is following along or missing a step? Thankfully, we used some simple features of the Dolby-powered Livestorm platform for presenting the workshop. Instant polls and emoji became a good measure of realtime audience engagement. Who’s finished creating their token server? Thumbs up !
Clone and deploy, then code was another pattern we used to create success upfront with workshop attendees. We created content that utilized Netlify’s one-click deployment process, enabling the ability to try out the source code and launch a live function or website with a single click. This meant with few exceptions, the entire audience was able to find that moment we all find so satisfying; entering in those API Keys, pulling a repo and having the code work within the first few minutes of exploration.