I have been thinking that my preliminary research is not enough to make the product convincing. I had to clarify how to differentiate my product from competitors before jumping into creating prototypes.

Rethinking about the positioning of my product

IxDA 2021 conference, I attended two weeks ago, was a good opportunity to observe how the event is organized and how people interact virtually. To identify pain points and opportunity areas, I distributed the survey on IxDA slack channel. It’s difficult to gather lots of responses so I asked people to spread the survey to the other communities.

As I create the user journey and wireframing, I realized…

I had a kick off meeting with my thesis advisor, Yaya. She gave me constructive feedback and brought up a couple of questions that inspired me.

  • An event would be one time experience. People don’t want to be sign in or sign up for a platform or an app.
  • Onboarding survey could be bothersome for users. Keep it as succinct as possible. Think of what types of data this platform has to get from users
  • What motivates people to join breakout rooms where there are a bunch of strangers?
  • What would be minimum etiquette for breakout rooms? …


I started the project with a broad topic: Virtual Event. I had very ambiguous idea: There must be some ways to improve them. Though the process was slower than I thought, I found myself scoping down the area that I’d like to focus on. Little by Little, I have been still shaping the project.

Video conferencing area is still evolving. One of tough critics I got during the final presentation was that there are similar products on the market. My major question was like, ‘How could I differentiate my product from competitors in a highly changing field?’

I digged in…

What if..

What if breakout room sessions adapt the rule of Chess game?

People might be assigned limited time to speak in turns. They have to put efforts to understand what other people think and feel. The more they engaged in the talk, the more they get meaningful takeaways. Like we did during Chess game!

Photo by Artyom Kabajev on Unsplash

I briefly create a lo-fi wireframing to think of the user flow. I categorized the flow into 3 sections: Pre-event, during the event, and post-event. The main interaction would occur during the event so I need to focus on clarifying the conversation topics and communication flows.

Last week, I presented my idea to guest critics, Dave and Monty. To showcase my project to strangers, I put more effort into storytelling. Though it was not a pitch, I would like to create convincing slides that everyone can empathize with my intention and goals. It was a great opportunity for me to re-diagnose a problem context and clarify my thought process.

Keeping the time in the presentation made me nervous because it took more than 7 mins when I did a dry run. Fortunately, I finished a little earlier in the actual presentation. The feedback time flies so…

I have talked with eight people who have different backgrounds. I incorporated their answers and grouped them under similar keywords, to discover key insights on virtual events and online interactions.

Diagram about how to discover key pain points

Key painpoints (converged by 8 interviewees)

  • Low authenticity
  • Lack of in-depth communication
  • Miscommunication

Key findings

  • Virtual interactions cannot fully replace in-person interactions.
  • Good moderation helps people being engaged in conversation.
  • Depending on personalities, people have different approaches on social interactions

Scoping down on problem statement

  1. Target users: Introverts / Participants (Speakers)

Throughout the interviews, I found it interesting that a digital environment helps introverts be more confident and relaxed about social interactions in some way.

Problem Statement (WIP)

How might we elevate virtual event experiences so that people feel more connected to each other?



  • People might feel disconnected during online events.
  • People might have technical difficulties.
  • People might feel excited by doing physical activities such as buying tickets in a ticket booth, going to the venue, looking around exhibitions, etc.


  • Speakers might have a hard time catching the audience attention.
  • Speakers might feel less thrilled to present online.


  • Participants might feel isolated when attending virtual events.
  • Participants might have trouble focusing on virtual events from the start to the end.
  • Participants…

Topic: Virtual events focusing on design festivals/summits

User Volume

  1. 1on1 meeting
  2. Team-based meeting (2~10 people)
  3. Collaboration meeting (11~25 people)
  4. Small speaker sessions (26~100 people)
  5. Company-wide conferences (101~5,000 people)
  6. Global summit/festival (5,000+)

Structures (Need to be visualized with an estimated time and order)

  1. 1on1 meeting: Waiting/Small talk, QnA(Coffee chat/Walkthrough), Offer a recording(Rarely)
  2. Team-based meeting: Waiting/Small talk, Agenda, Share-out/walkthrough, Review/QnA, Offer a recording(Occasionally)
  3. Collaboration meeting: Waiting/Small talk, Agenda, Brainstorming/Discussion/Review, QnA, Offer a recording(Sometimes)
  4. Small speaker sessions: Waiting, Introduction of the event/speakers, Live chat(by participants), QnA, Offer a recording
  5. Company-wide conferences: Opening, Introduction of the event/speakers, Live chat(by participants), QnA, Closing, Offer a…

Last summer, my internship was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It goes without saying that all art&design festivals and conferences were also online. What makes it worse, it is still an ongoing situation! I have been highly frustrated that I cannot join any on-site experiences.

One benefit I noticed is that I can easily access watch design summits in different regions or countries. They might not be supposed to be held online if the virus did not exist. How can I optimize the advantage and redesign online design festival experiences?

  1. Redesign online design festival experience

Pain points? There is…

I kicked off a 1-year project for the thesis: It’s an exciting yet scary to execute my idea from scratch.

I created a mind map to visualize my interests and thoughts on social issues. The goal was to generate as many ideas as possible and see my thought process. Based on this map, I chose five topics that I’d like to dive into. Then, I created keywords & following questions that help me think further.

Self-brainstorming on Miro board

1. Online privacy

  • User agreement and privacy policy: It’s too long and boring to read. Most people don’t read it carefully when signing up.
  • What…

Hyelim Lim

MFA Student studying interaction design @ SVA

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