Swapcard has quietly released its roundtables in spring, which allows participants to join in small group discussions. Roundtables is not a new invention in the virtual event space, but what set Swapcard apart, and potentially a game-changer, was their audio-only roundtables.
Immediately it raised the question, was it “inspired” by Clubhouse? We didn’t get a Yes or No answer from the Swapcard team, but the success of the Clubhouse community in the past months certainly gave them confidence that this feature is what the market wants.
People clearly want to learn more. Over two hundred #eventprofs signed up, with around 130 of them actively participating on the event date.
Is it better than Clubhouse?
The capacity and accessibility of the roundtables immediately became a hot discussion item among participants. At the time we tested, the video roundtables only allowed 8 people on stage, and there was no way to control who was on. To maintain a certain quality level of the roundtables, it’s understandable to have some limitations. But it might be nicer if the admin or moderator of the session can have the power to bring people on/off stage.
The same issue happened to the audio-only roundtables, and it raised the question, were the Swapcard audio-only roundtables offer a better user experience than Clubhouse? To be fair, the UX between the two is so different, that we probably shouldn’t simply compare it like this. But if today an event planner likes to host an audio-only season, based on the post-event survey, 42% prefer Clubhouse. Why? Many people pointed out that it's because the host on Clubhouse has a better ability to manage the discussion in the room. If the objective for Swapcard to develop roundtables is to enhance the small group discussion and community building, then offering better tools for community leaders to manage the group should be a focus.
We purposefully set a capacity limit to two of the rooms and noticed that people won’t be able to know if the room became available during the event. Adding a waitlist and notification function for this will be nice in the future.
Bugs on the platform and technical issues also have been identified. Many people reported having an echo problem when in the audio-only room. And some reported screens froze and audio delayed. In the “audio-only” room, some people can even turn on their camera, making it obviously not “audio-only”.
One feedback from the participant says it well, “A great platform in my view, immediately shows HOW you want people to interact. This one doesn’t. So what is the vision of Swapcard on the way participants should participate in this platform? If you want a presentation only, with some mild dialogue, you’re on track. If you want real full-on dialogue, this needs a lot of work.“
Should Swapcard continue to improve the Roundtables?
We asked participants at the post-event survey whether they would consider using the roundtables feature on Swapcard now. Only 37% responded with “Definitely” or “Maybe”. But when we asked if they would recommend Swapcard continue to improve the roundtables feature, 84% said “Yes, and see a lot of potential in this”.
Swpacard is responding to a need from the market. And by improving a few critical UXs, I am no doubt that people will be using this feature a lot in the future. Keep up the good work Swapcard!
Sina has been a regular participant at the #EventProfsBreakShit events, and we are super excited to welcome Sina to join the organizing team.
Right away, she suggested we need a theme. We decided to go with “Spring Break” as it was in April, and we all wanted an excuse to party, even virtually. And it was for sure a party on April 20.
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