Before any event, there’s practice happening to make sure the quality is up to par. Dress rehearsals, run-throughs, event and keynote speakers practicing until they’re word-perfect. It’s no different for a virtual event! For software applications, quality control is achieved via extensive testing. In a virtual event pre-launch test, the goal is to find and fix problems that might negatively affect the attendee experience. It’s a vital part of getting the event in great shape for attendees to enjoy.
What Is a Pre-Launch Test?
In virtual event development, pre-launch testing is the final phase of development and happens in the final few days before the event is ready to go live. It’s conducted to confirm that every aspect is running as it should.
In some ways, pre-launch testing is similar to the dress rehearsal or dry-run that some traditional events have. It’s the last opportunity to iron out any lingering issues with equipment, check the event timeline, and confirm with speakers that they’re properly set up for their presentations. It gives you a chance to see how everything will work on the day and can also help you pinpoint potential problems that might affect the event.
Pre-launch testing is also important because it’s the last chance to confirm that the event properly meets its brief. Most events are heavily customized with client and sponsorship branding, as well as interactive content. So it’s important to make sure everything looks right and that any interactive features are working correctly.
What Happens in a Virtual Event Pre-Launch Test?
Pre-launch testing focuses on finding and fixing problems with equipment, and with platform settings and features. Pre-launch testing may involve a full-length rehearsal, but it doesn’t necessarily need to. For an event with an extensive content schedule, running a full-length rehearsal isn’t feasible. Instead, a pared-down rehearsal might involve:
- Checking platform settings
- Testing equipment
- Meeting with speakers individually or as a group to go over their roles and setup
Depending on the event, event platform, and content schedule, virtual event pre-launch testing might involve some of the following tasks:
- Work with speakers to confirm audio settings and test equipment, including audio and microphone, and virtual background.
- Ensure the speaker’s presentation space is set up correctly, including lighting and camera placement.
- Walk through relevant platform functionality, such as chat, Q&A, polls, and breakout spaces to ensure speakers understand how to use the platform.
- Test screenshare function for any speakers who are presenting visual material.
- Test content to make sure it’s loading and displaying correctly on the event platform. Also check to make sure that attendee accounts can see speaker content.
- Provide additional preparation to group panels, if necessary. For instance, confirm how you are managing the transition between speakers and keeping track of how long each speaking segment lasts.
- Confirm presentation length and content order with speakers.
- Walk through of the content schedule to confirm content order and timing.
- Check for potential problem areas. For instance, if one of your speakers runs overtime, how can you adjust to keep things running on schedule? If they run short, do you have content to fill in the gap?
- Confirm settings for platform functionality, including Q&A, polls, and other interactive features.
- Confirm additional permissions and settings for speakers and other participants (e.g. discussion moderators).
- Confirm that different types of content (e.g. livestreams and pre-recorded content) are working on the platform.
- Test content transitions to confirm that you can transition between different types of content seamlessly, with no dead air.
- Understand what the event platform looks like from the perspective of attendees.
- Log into the platform as a user to check that branding and sponsorship visuals are displaying correctly.
- Test-drive content and interactive features to confirm attendees can interact with the platform as intended.
- If the event has different attendance packages, check that restricted-level content is only available to the intended registration tiers.
What Pre-Launch Testing Can’t Do
It’s important to note that conducting a pre-launch test doesn’t mean there will be no technical problems at all during a virtual event. Pre-launch testing is an important part of producing a virtual event, but it can’t guarantee the event will run 100% perfectly. It’s still possible problems may pop up on the day.
The main reason for this is that pre-launch testing can’t fix “client-side” problems. These are issues that arise due to attendee error, such as an incorrectly configured microphone or headphones. However, if your platform has a troubleshooting guide or tech support team, those kinds of issues should have minimal impact.
Virtual Event Pre-launch Testing Is Too Important to Skip
One of the key parts of putting on a great virtual event is making sure the attendee experience is as flawless and user-friendly as possible. Testing before the big day is an essential part of this process, and it’s something that should never be skipped or skimped on. When you work with the XtendLive platform, pre-launch testing is part of our process. We won’t skip it, and we’ll keep you abreast of anything that arises. Ready to work with an experienced, dedicated team of virtual event professionals? Contact us.