Retraining Users to be Human Again: InSpace at InstructureCon 2021
Earlier this month, the InSpace team was thrilled to join InstructureCon, a virtual edtech collaborative event and user conference hosted by Instructure, makers of Canvas, the world’s leading learning management system. As you may know, InSpace recently launched an exciting integration with Canvas, enabling users to make use of the InSpace video conferencing platform to connect seamlessly within the Canvas learning environment. The integration has been a joyful collaboration of creative forces, resulting in increased human interaction and connections among teachers and students who use Canvas.
The conference was held virtually and was attended by over 10,000 people from around the world who enjoyed a day of learning and connecting. As part of InstructureCon, InSpace hosted a virtual booth where attendees were invited to join in, ask questions, get to know our team and learn about what we do — and most importantly, to experiment in a hands-on way with the InSpace tool itself in real time.
As always, our team thoroughly enjoyed guiding our many friends at InstructureCon along their journey of discovery with InSpace. Witnessing people experience the InSpace environment for the first time never gets old!
In reflecting on the event, InSpace team members highlighted several key takeaways, most notably the remarkable contrast that users immediately expressed between the experience of the InSpace environment with other video conferencing platforms they had been accustomed to using.
What was so different about the experience of InSpace for new users? Here is what we noticed:
When visitors to our virtual booth at InstructureCon entered the InSpace virtual environment for the first time, they often felt surprised that they had the ability to move themselves around the screen. Within the InSpace environment, participants appear on the screen inside a small bubble where their video or photo is displayed, and they can click and drag their bubble anywhere they choose on the screen. Want to be in the middle, right in the center of the action? You can be there! Want to move yourself to the corner, out of the way? You got it! You can be anywhere you want to be on InSpace. The possibilities are endless.
What is so amazing to our team is that we noticed, when we introduced InSpace to new users, that people had grown so accustomed to inhabiting a fixed location on the screen within other video conferencing platforms that they were often surprised and sometimes even uncomfortable when they learned that they could move at all. And yet the freedom to move oneself, as a part of interacting with others, is such an elemental human capacity that users quickly recognized how essential this was to their interactions. The sense of joy that comes with this locational freedom is one of our favorite discoveries to witness in new users of InSpace!
Ease of use
One thing we noticed at InstructureCon about people using InSpace for the first time was how easy it was for them to understand how to use the tool. The simplicity of the InSpace platform helped users to gain familiarity more quickly, and to proceed with connecting and interacting with others in simple, fundamental ways.
For example, our team hosting the virtual booth noticed that users were enthralled with how easy it was to create and use breakout rooms. On InSpace, breakout rooms can be created with two clicks, and once they are created breakout rooms remain visually connected on the screen so that all users can see everyone at all times and can move into whichever room they so choose. People who experienced this in our virtual booth at InstructureCon noted feeling scared or hesitant to use breakout rooms on other platforms, because they found other breakout rooms to be tricky to set up, understand, and use.
InSpace’s research-informed design puts human interactions at the very center of our environment. We do this by ensuring the technology gets out of the way, so that people can simply be people — they can move, talk, interact and learn on InSpace in similar ways that they might move, talk, interact and learn in the real world. People don’t have to think about how to interact or communicate — they can just interact naturally because the product is simple, intuitive, and instantly easy to use.
It’s hard to talk about ease-of-use without also talking about safety. One leads to the other! When InstructureCon attendees tried out InSpace for the first time, they remarked at how safe they felt using our platform. The simplicity of InSpace — how easy it is to share your screen, create and join breakout rooms, use tools like chat and audio features — lowers users’ barriers to understanding what’s happening and how to interact. A few people at our virtual booth remarked that with other video conferencing platforms, they often felt unsure about what would happen when they shared their screen or joined a breakout room — but when they tried these things on InSpace, the simplicity and clarity of the tool removed that uncertainty.
The sense of safety shared by new users of InSpace helped them to feel liberated to try new things and experiment with the features of the platform as they moved along their journey of discovery of InSpace. Their enhanced sense of safety and security allowed them to more freely and quickly discover all that InSpace does to augment the learning environment.
A culminating takeaway from the InSpace team who hosted our virtual booth at InstructureCon was how eager our visitors were to try new things out for themselves. People experiencing InSpace were not satisfied to passively watch other people demonstrate features and tools to them; rather, they preferred to try things out themselves, to experiment, play and learn on their own. We noticed that users were ready to try out screen sharing themselves in breakout rooms, for example, completely independently and without being prompted to do so by our team. The intuitive design and simplicity of InSpace allows users to take charge of their own learning, to experiment in a hands-on way, and in so doing to be the drivers of their own education on our platform.
The InSpace team thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at InstructureCon 2021, and so did our virtual booth guests. Thank you to those who joined us there, and we look forward to seeing both seasoned and new InSpace champions at EDUCAUSE 2021 next week!