Meeting Coordination Toolset.

Coordinating physical and digital meetings, creating agendas, managing attendees, assigning and managing action items is no small task. The folks at Cisco asked us to design a front and backend for their team of concierges that would do just that

Challenge
After our initial meeting with the operations people at Cisco, it was pretty clear that the concierges responsible for making sure meetings happen had their work cut out for them.

“Just coordinating attendee schedules was enough in itself, let alone all the other tasks that go into creating a meeting that may have global attendance. Moreover, they were tasked with creating multiple meetings each day.”

What was needed was a system that could take the heavy lifting out of meeting creation and management, leaving the internal concierge to do what they do best, support their customers.
About the users
In this case, we had two kinds of users: The concierges who were responsible for all aspects of the meeting creation, and the meeting attendees. 
The concierges: These folks are busy trying to organize every part of a meeting. Each element needed to be hand-wrangled using a wide array of disparate systems (calendars, external ordering systems, internal equipment request forms, etc.). Here are some of the requirements expected of them:
  • Must be mobile first
  • Receive meeting request from an initiator
  • Create a meeting based on initiating party preferences
  • Decide on location (based on attendees)
  • Physical meeting? Digital? Both?
  • Order appropriate hardware or change meeting space
  • Order appropriate food/refreshments (time dependent)
  • Generate a list of attendees and send out meeting information
  • Manage availability/non-availability of each attendee and adjust the meeting schedule as necessary
  • Generate an agenda for the meeting (or add to original agenda if this is a follow-up meeting
  • Edit attendee list (dis-invite, invite additional attendees)
  • Generate reports on meeting attendance
  • And of course, the most terrifying of requirements: Cancel a meeting

 About the attendees
Another group of busy people. They need to know that when they request a meeting and send out a meeting request, it’s handled. 

“Meeting attendees needed a single place to see what meetings they are expected to attend, who’s in that meeting, the meeting agenda (and any prior agendas) and their action item lists. Most of all they need it to be seamless and as unintrusive as possible.”

The thinking
Just like every other project we work on, once we had a clear understanding of what was required, we built a simple set of front-end flow diagrams. We’ve found these to be particularly useful for walking all team members through each of the user types and how we see them using the tool. 
These flow diagrams are designed to be really flexible and rev’d often. Later they’ll become much more technical for inclusion into an MRD, but for the purposes of high-level communication and iteration, these work really well. Here’s an example:one of the early revs:
The direction we took
We really wanted to create a tool that brimmed over with approachability. It should be elegant, use paradigms both user types were already comfortable with and most of all get out of the way when it’s not needed. Here’s a few sample Concierge screens:
And here’s some meeting attendee screens:
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