Elevating Virtual Event Dynamics through Harmonized Navigation and Scheduling


This project aims to enhance large-scale event experiences by providing an interactive minimap that displays designated places, real-time attendee locations, and integrated event schedules, ultimately simplifying wayfinding and increasing engagement.

Background and Timeline

In collaboration with the PM, who had conducted extensive user interviews, we identified key areas for improvement and structured the project into two phases:

1. Minimap Introduction:
We created the minimap to display both space layouts and user locations, released a beta version for gradual rollout, and conducted user testing.

2. Feature Integration:
We developed the custom location and schedule creation flows, integrating them into the minimap and side panel.

However, the company's strategic pivot towards remote work solutions shifted virtual event features into maintenance mode, suspending further development.


‍Kick-off:Β Oct, 2021
Beta Release: Feb, 2022


Product/Interaction Designer: ShaoPing Chen
PM: Jessica
Engineer: Connor

Limitations of Static Map

Gather Town's original map feature was just a popup showing the user's own location. This was inadequate for large events and interconnected spaces, making it difficult to locate people, sessions, or destinations in real-time, highlighting the need for more intuitive and effective navigation solutions.
Previous map feature.

Key Challenges

πŸ“ Extensive Pre-Event Preparation
Creating maps, agendas, and guides requires significant effort, increasing workload and preparation time.
πŸ“’ Intensive Attendee Guidance
Hosts frequently provide on-demand guidance to attendees, which can be time-consuming and distracting.
πŸ“ Difficulty Locating Sessions and Venues
Finding locations for sessions or activities is often challenging, leading to frustration and missed opportunities for engagement.
πŸ”— Dependence on External Resources
Referring to external links, documents for agenda details, or map guides disrupts their participation experience.

Our Vision and Goals

Streamlined Navigation
Provide a friendly mapping system that effortlessly guides attendees to their desired locations within large spaces.
Information Accessibility
Merge the calendar and spatial info for a unified view of 'when' and 'where' to ease planning and participation.
Fostering Connections
Highlight popular gathering spots on the map to encourage spontaneous interactions and facilitate networking.

Design Process

Mapping User Navigation in Virtual Events

Defined four main event types in Gather Town, analyzing their navigation and wayfinding and how they integrate with schedules:
Event Types:
1. Community and Social Spaces
2. Exhibitions and Marketplaces
3. Conferences and Seminars
4. Educational and Poster Sessions
Key Findings:
1. Embedded Wayfinding:
Clear room labels and paths integrated into space design.
2. External Guides:
Often relied on external resources (images, PDFs, websites) for guidance.
Collected from public online sources or personally attended.

Exploring Minimap Design Possibilities

I researched minimap designs from 2D and 3D games and virtual spaces, defining a suitable direction for virtual events. I tested formats such as radar maps, heatmaps, and grid layouts, creating initial concepts to effectively display user locations, active zones, and clusters.

Designing a Streamlined Location and Schedule Creation Flow

The map-integrated scheduling tool allows hosts to simultaneously create place names and sessions, facilitating the seamless assignment of sessions to locations and vice versa.

Refining MVP via UserTesting.com

We used UserTesting.com to evaluate the mini-map feature, gathering feedback on its ease of understanding and navigation effectiveness that guided our iterations. The PM led most of the sessions, with support from both the engineer and me.
These are marketing visuals from the UserTesting.com website, presenting simulated user test scenarios.

Final Design Solutions


Attendees can instantly view user information within the space.
Users can view indicators for individuals and groups on the minimap,
Click to navigate to those locations, and zoom in/out or pan the map.

Location Creation

Hosts can edit locations within the management panel.
Users can easily create locations anywhere on the map.
Users can switch between different rooms within the space and edit locations.

Schedule Creation

Hosts can edit agenda details within the management panel.
Users can add sessions under the schedule tab.
Users can add the title, description, time, and assign a location.

Schedule Panel

Attendees can instantly view schedule information within the space and on the event landing page.
Users can view the latest agenda and directly navigate to the corresponding places. (The navigation bar was upgraded during a parallel UX enhancement.)
The event landing page has been optimized with a real-time schedule section.


User Research Illuminates the Path to Design Excellence

From the start, the PM's extensive user interviews provided invaluable insights that helped me quickly grasp the challenges and solutions. As my first major project, this rich info was like navigating a river of insights, illuminating our design path.
Our commitment to user experience was evident through continuous testing and interviews, which yielded valuable feedback that reaffirmed the power of our user-centric approach.
I'm grateful to collaborate with a team dedicated to design excellence and nurturing an environment where designers thrive.