Rik Marselis: My Experience at a EuroSTAR online conference
Curious about what’s coming up at EuroSTAR 2020 Online? How it all works? How you’ll connect with people on a virtual platform? We asked our programme chair Rik Marselis to tell us his experience from the Test & Quality Summit, a EuroSTAR-organised conference we held in September.
Here’s what Rik had to say:
The Test & Quality Summit was the first time I used the Hopin online conference platform (where EuroSTAR will also take place) – and it was a very positive experience.
I have become quite accustomed to working from my home office and have done my fair share of video meetings and online webinars.
But this kind of online conference platform has so many more features to offer.
Starting with navigation: the menu bar makes it easy to visit all the different ‘areas’ of the conference – the main stage, sessions (bonus talks), expo, and networking.
The main stage is of course where the programmed presentations are broadcast. But to get the real ‘conference feeling’, the other items on the menu are also important.
For example, the expo where the exhibitors had their virtual booths. I visited several of these booths: some featured product presentations, while I had good conversations with others using the built-in video-calling facility. In one conversation in particular, a few of us came together, which resulted in a meaningful exchange of views and ideas.
A feature that I really liked was the Speed Meeting. This is where you click to meet a random person to chat with. I just clicked the button to indicate that I was open to a meeting, and then I was connected to a random attendee.
To my – and her – surprise, the first random connection was with someone I’ve known for many years: Dorothy Graham. So, the 3 minutes for this speed meeting was far too short, but it was very nice to chat to her!
I also spoke to attendees that had watched my keynote presentation and wanted to know more. One person had a concrete practical problem in his job, and we were able to talk about a possible solution.
Luckily, the platform offers a variety of opportunities to contact people, so if the 3 minutes of the speed meeting is too short, we could just enter another room and connect via a 1:1 video chat feature!
At the Test & Quality Summit there were no parallel presentations, but there will be at EuroSTAR Online. Which means even more engagement and access to lots more sessions and talks.
I was pleasantly surprised by the direct interaction I had with attendees during my speaker presentation. Everybody can ask questions in the chat feature, and since my presentation was recorded to assure the quality, I could answer questions by text throughout, as well as coming on live for the official Q&A, which gave a whole new dimension to the interactivity of the conference.
There were lots of ways the platform captured the community feeling of a live conference. For example, the table quiz at the end of the day, the way you could virtually walk to the reception desk to ask questions about the programme, the organization, or whatever else you have a query on; and how you could travel from room to room.
All in all, the online conference was a great experience, and now I’m really looking forward to EuroSTAR Online in November: to enjoy the community feeling, and exchange ideas and knowledge about our fantastic quality & testing profession.
Rik is the Programme Chair of EuroSTAR 2020 Online this November. Together with his committee Mette Bruhn-Pedersen, Marta Firlej and Zeger Van Hese, they have created a full line-up of incredible speakers giving insights on all the topics you care about, including agile, DevOps, automation, test management, and lots more.