But Ferrigato, a veteran project manager and former Managing Director of Moët Hennessy in Austria, was up to the challenge. They had a vision of a more intuitive, stripped-down user interface for both, the event-planner and the ticket buyer.
When the site launched in 2019, however, Ferrigato knew it would be challenging. The site, as designed by the in-house IT team, was confusing and slow-loading. It wasn’t close to being ready for prime time.
With a hard launch date looming to satisfy prime customers like Formula 1 and ambitious stakeholders, Ferrigato moved swiftly to rescue the project, convincing the stakeholders to invest in a partnership with outside agency Bright.
The Bright team moved swiftly, switching the development methodology from Waterfall to Agile and pursuing an iterative deployment strategy to produce a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) by the launch deadline.
The result - eventWorld launched in 2019 with a beautiful, intuitive user interface, ready to take on the big names.
We caught up with Markus Ferrigato to ask him about the challenges, solutions, and revelations that sprang from the collaboration between eventWorld and Bright.
Question: What were the major challenges when it comes to the digital user experience?
Markus Ferrigato: In my opinion, the challenges are to create a truly tangible situation that users can sense.
Users must have the feeling that someone takes their hands and literally guides them through the entire experience—but without an awkward and troublesome process
Q: How did you accomplish that with eventWorld?
MF: We created a very intuitive way of either creating events (for event organisers) or of buying tickets (for end-users).
At all stages in the process, the customer—both organiser and end-user—gets feedback immediately to see the result of their actions. This creates a secure feeling with both parties because they see that they are accompanied on their journey.
The KISS (“Keep It Simple, Stupid”) principle still applies no matter how elaborate and mighty a platform might be. It’s the simple things that improve the digital user experience—such as friendly response emails or hints about what to do next.
Q: How did the new website provide a better digital user experience?
MF: In our case, the new website supported easy categorisation without confusing the user. The colours indicate when there is action needed from the customer, and the entire process design facilitates the event creation and the purchasing process.
Q: What effect does COVID-19 have on eventWorld’s digital user experience? MF: Well, first of all, the COVID-19 crisis caused a lot of changes in an industry whose major objective is to sell tickets for events—events which almost always included a real gathering of people, not a virtual event.
The major advantage we have had so far is that eventWorld was fully focused on digital business. We never created “hard tickets” and shipped them by mail. Hence, our target group is already used to communicating digitally. But of course, many of our ticket offers focused on events with a crowd of people coming together.
In the end, I think for the next couple of months everybody will have to accept that most of the events are going to be virtual. As far as our digital user experience is concerned, we will include several features to give organisers and consumers an increased sense of safety.
For example, we are currently working on a seat-map tool with the option to specify the next available seats according to COVID-19 regulations. We will also create an option for a verified ID check to enable contact-tracing of COVID cases.
Q: What do you think the future holds for digital user experience?
MF: Digital user experience, in my opinion, has just gotten started. Many companies that are still in the “physical goods” business will have to include digital elements to complete the user experience as a whole.
I would go even further and say that the touch and feel of products will still be important, but that the digital user experience will ultimately be the dominant influence in buying behaviour. Any company that succeeds in creating a seamless interaction of in-store and digital user experience will be the winner in the fight for customers.
Q: This project was done in an agile and iterative way. What have been your experiences with that approach?
MF: Honestly, coming from a GANT chart project management approach, I felt a little uncomfortable with this [agile] approach. I had the feeling that I’d give away all the control I thought I had with a classic PM approach.
The more I got involved with the agile and iterative method, I realised that this approach perfectly made sense for a complex development like ours.
Looking back, I can confirm that this way of development was the right choice, saving time, money, and energy.
Q: What does it take for agile to be successful?
MF: For me, there are two essentials. Most importantly, the project team has to fully understand the case—not only from a technological point of view but also what the business is trying to accomplish. Once you reach this point of mutual understanding, the second essential is that the team has the discipline to stick to the rules of agile development. If you act half-heartedly it will do no good to the project. Sometimes certain rules might seem a little too much but when you stick to them you will see what potential agile development has for your project.
Q: You decided to partner with Bright for the website relaunch. What were the main reasons for hiring an external agency?
MF: In such a complex project, trust and mutual understanding are the most critical factors for me. I immediately got the feeling that Bright not only understood where we were coming from, but also what we wanted to achieve.
Q: What were the advantages of hiring Bright compared to doing everything in-house?
MF: From my point of view, the major advantage is objectivity. With in-house decisions, there is almost always company politics involved, no matter how big or small a company is. Having someone external gives you the option to “buy” additional knowledge, capabilities, and resources without compromising the big picture.
Q: What do you think are the most common reasons stopping companies from collaborating with an external agency?
MF: This is a tricky question and I don’t really have an answer to it. I would assume that for some companies the cost factor of paying additional resources on top of the resources they have in-house might prevent them from going external.
I can relate to this way of thinking, but I must say that any company should also calculate opportunity costs for delayed launches or compromised goals, which can happen if you are relying on in-house staff only.
Q: What’s your advice for getting buy-in from stakeholders for the hiring of external help?
MF: I learned that drawing the bigger picture is important to get everyone on board. Fully include the external party in the project—not only in the parts that the externals are directly responsible for.
Don’t underestimate that this bigger picture also helps them to fully understand the scope, provide additional input, and ultimately create a strong commitment to the project. Select a partner with a relevant skillset and know-how!
Markus Ferrigato is an experienced senior manager specialising in strategy, marketing and business development.
His passion for Marketing and Digitalisation lead him to eventWorld – a tech-startup in Austria with the goal to establish a new fully digital ticket platform.
In all his tasks – in premium multinational companies as well as in small startups – he succeeded to drive business with a strong sense for customer needs, for brand building and for the necessity to push digitalisation.