IntuiLab has been selected to participate at South by Southwest this year - come on by Booth 1231 from March 9 thru 12 - so we are in the throes of arranging every detail. I thought this might be a good time to share some of the best practices we’ve learned over the years. Here I’ll focus on the production and display of interactive experiences as generic trade show advice can be found everywhere.
- Favor vertically-mounted displays over tables: Tables are great for collaboration but their screens can’t be seen from a distance. To generate interest amongst the foot traffic passing your booth, vertically-mounted displays are easily more effective.
- Assume self-directed use of your experiences: Wouldn’t it be awesome if you were too busy to handle all of the traffic in your booth? Of course, so make sure the experiences you build are sufficiently intuitive that they don’t require a host. Keep the overflow engaged and busy.
- Use attract loops: Even the most amazing interactive experience will be a total failure at a show if it just lies there when no one is using it. Make sure your experiences are actively doing something - typically, that would mean looping through a video - that encourages approach. This is particularly important if you’re busy and no one is available to rope in new visitors.
- Reconsider use of gesture-driven experiences: Kinect is extremely cool but on a crowded show floor it can be easily distracted. If you must use Kinect, be sure to physically protect an area within your booth to ensure no one accidentally distracts the camera.
- Consider use of a remote control: I’m sorry if your solution doesn’t have a remote control but IntuiFace does - the IntuiPad. This thing is great because it lets you wander the booth while controlling your display. Not only is it great eye candy but it lets you be more creative in how you handle the crowds.
- Max out the PC: Don’t skimp on the PC just to save a few dollars. Maximize performance so you won’t have to apologize - or pretend not to notice - sluggish response times. The best investment? A solid state drive.
- Don’t worry too much about audio: Sure, you could incorporate audio in your experiences, but where would you put the speakers? Anyway, show floors tend to be loud so folks may not hear your musical accompaniment anyway - unless it’s loud enough to be annoying.
- Bring multiple lint-free cloths: Expect crazy amounts of finger prints and who knows what else on your displays. Under trade show lights this isn’t going to look very good so keep the displays clean.
- Bathe in hand sanitizer: Have you seen some of those people who have been smearing the same screens you’ve been touching?!?
- License software before the show: Ok, this isn’t interactivity-specific but it’s relevant for IntuiFace which, for me, makes it count. You have to assume lousy Internet access on the trade show floor so don’t wait to license software before going onsite.
Have any others you’d like to add? Let me know! And don’t be shy - drop on by Austin for SXSW!