Let’s talk about Web Summit, the biggest tech conference in Europe. Four days of the conference when the Lisbon streets and subway stations filled with tech geeks, startup founders, investors, and makers.
How did we prepare for web summit?
1. We set clear goals and desired outcomes
For starters, we defined certain goals:
- expand our network with fellow attendees;
- improve our customer profiles;
- conduct surveys and introduce them to the concept of cx-aware solutions development;
- find out if participants think this approach is really important for product development (spoiler: it does).
2. We defined how to approach interviewees
As the event is highly startup-oriented, we chose startup founders and representatives as our focus group. To get as much information as possible from communicating with attendees and startups, we decided to effectively organize our approach. We created a survey and prepared an initial script with questions that interested us. To systematize the received data and have a separate profile for each respondent we used our own approach. This is the part where we decided to develop a simple yet useful mobile application.
3. We created a simple yet useful mobile app
You might wonder: “Why you guys bothered creating an app instead of just using the Google Forms?” There are a few reasons why the existing solutions didn’t fit us and we decided to create our own.
The number one reason for creating an app was to ensure effective data collection and analysis.
To kick things off, we held a workshop to paint a clear picture of what the app should look like and what we wanted to achieve while using it. For us, it was important not only to interview attendees while adhering to the initial list of questions but carefully listen to them and build a constructive dialogue.
Additionally, the application allowed us to:
- gather information faster and more efficiently;
- be able to immediately add audio and photo to each profile;
- analyze the information and use the data obtained to prepare the research on the role of product design for startups.
4. We prepared a well-thought list of questions
Creating a survey seems simple — just ask a few questions, and receive data. However, designing a survey properly requires some time and knowledge. A poorly-designed survey will lead to useless data as well as a waste of time and money.
The most important part of our survey was to determine the main objective of this survey and what do we want to learn?
By setting clear research questions and outcomes, we managed to write the rest of the survey faster. Moreover, while working on the survey, we ensured that everyone in our team is on the same page about its purpose.
In the end, the idea was to have a so-called framework to help us put all these pieces of information in place and ensure efficient data collection and analysis.
How does the application work?
The way it works is simple: open the app on any smartphone or tablet, fill in the survey electronically (it’s possible to do this offline for as many submissions as necessary - everything gets saved and backed up).
Later when there was Internet access, the app syncs all the data to a cloud server. Data from all devices of our team synced to the cloud server from where we downloaded as a single, aggregated, clean dataset.
It took us a week to develop the application. Since each member of our team has different operating systems, we decided to make the application cross-platform using Flutter, the best tool to develop high-quality apps for Android and iOS. To store data and work with analytics, we used Firebase. In case of the poor internet connection, we used an offline-first approach to developing a mobile app. An offline-first app allowed us to download updates from the server when the connection was available, while simultaneously uploading the changes that we made while being offline to the server.
You will find plenty of articles tips on how companies prepare and what they learn from attending Web Summit. Well, we won’t be an exception and would like to share with you our ideas:
- Be strategic with your time. Don’t spend all of it with your group. You see them every day. Expand your networking and use every minute at the conference to good use.
- Identify the companies and people relevant to your work. Contact them and try to schedule a meeting during Web Summit. Come prepared and try to get the most out of every meeting. Listen more, talk less.
- Be prepared. It’ll be much harder to set up all meetings and arrange schedules once you arrive and Portuguese madness begins. Have a fixed schedule and clear goals. It’ll give you a sense of accomplishment once you follow them.
- Don’t burn out. Give yourself time to rest, and don’t forget that you’re in sunny Portugal.
As a result, we were able to interview representatives of more than 50 startups from different industries and with different products. Every time we explained to someone the cx-aware solutions development approach and its benefits to startups in terms of product design & development, we looked at their reaction. All respondents willingly participated in the survey and asked questions that in the future will help us improve our approach. In addition, we talked about product design in startups, and, based on the results of the surveys, we’re preparing a research paper which we will publish shortly.