Designing a virtual experience for Wall Street Journal Live events

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing events to become virtual, I led a fast-paced design project to bring Wall Street Journal Live online.

Wall Street Journal Live events are an extensive affair with some of the biggest names in industry sharing their thoughts and experiences. Our task was to redesign the websites for Tech Live, Women In and The Future of Everything, all while keeping them within the same recognisable WSJ style.

The WSJ Live website acts as a hub for all WSJ events. This one page website needed to highlight the diverse range of events and allow users to view a timeline of events easily.

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With fifteen separate event series under the WSJ umbrella, the challenge was showcasing each individually without impacting the flow of the website and losing the reader's attention.

The solution – a horizontal scrolling catalogue, serving short snippets of information for each series and highlighting the next upcoming event.  This allowed for a complete overview at a glance with the ability to learn more and visit the corresponding website, registering for the next event is also available with one simple click.

Tech Live boasts an array of prestigious names in the Tech world, from world leading CEO’s such as Tim Cook of Apple, to Ron Howard of the film world. We needed the design to reflect the pioneering event that it is.

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The Future of Everything Festival boasts a vast array of speakers all with the topic of ‘the future’ in mind. With the world moving online, a previously in-person festival needed to adapt to virtual in a matter of weeks.

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With the (very fleeting as the months passed) hope that an in-person event could still take place, we created a homepage header that utilised WSJ’s fantastic video sources to really put the user in the front row, and showcase what an incredible and immersive experience The Future of Everything Festival is.

The WSJ hosts a series of events centred around women, and the challenges and successes women face in all areas of life. With this being a series of events, our challenges were to highlight upcoming events from the series as well as equally showcasing the range of events available.

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With each website requiring a similar structure, we needed to create a component library that allowed us to reuse and repurpose components across each website, switching up the brand for each but ultimately keeping the same ‘backbone’ throughout.

The most prominent example of this was throughout the event listing and event description pages — the same layout was the framework, with the brand simply changing each time to add unique flourishes and distinguish between them.

During the project the world changed around us, we started the engagement designing UX for in person events, with the ability to watch archived videos post event.

The pandemic changed everything, virtual events were pushed to the forefront and our task was to rethink how events were attended and experienced. The excitement factor needed to be the same, while also keeping attendees engaged and aware when talks were happening, all from the comfort of their living rooms.

Across the board we introduced ‘Join Live’ buttons, letting attendees know when events were happening. The ability to add events to calendars was also important, making sure a talk wouldn’t be missed at any point.