Project Overview
Isn't it frustrating when you're unsure how to initiate a conversation? Picture yourself manning a booth, eager to engage visitors, but lacking an icebreaker or conversation starter. During our exploration of booths at CicLAvia, both our team and many partners faced this challenge, resulting in awkward introductions. While the event itself was fantastic, we recognized these small interactions and experiences as areas that could use improvement. Hence, our innovative concept involves developing a partner toolkit seamlessly integrated into current communications. This toolkit aims to enhance engagement with event attendees and equip partners with the necessary tools for a seamless event day.
Project Details
Time Frame:
5 months
Team
Esme Ison, Yuka Seike, Mahabala Orlov, and myself
Tools:
 Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Figma, Chatbase
What Is CicLAvia?
CicLAvia is an event in Los Angeles, California, that temporarily transforms certain streets into car-free zones, allowing people to explore the city on foot, bike, skateboard, or other non-motorized modes of transportation. During CicLAvia, streets are closed to vehicle traffic for a specific period, to which participants are free to roam along the designated route. The routes often pass through different neighborhoods, showcasing the diverse and vibrant communities of Los Angeles.
My Role
I was assigned the responsibility of discovering novel and innovative approaches to support CicLAvia partner hubs, aiming to enhance the overall user experience. Additionally, I provided assistance in the realms of graphic design and web design to contribute to the improvement of these areas.

Los Angeles, 2018 @Xandershoots

What Is The Problem?
We explored ways to enhance the overall experience and discovered that both Partner booths and event attendees needed better means to interact and bond. Despite numerous opportunities, initiating conversations by approaching booths often felt uncomfortable and awkward.
Any Insights? 
We recognized that establishing a positive initial impression and possessing conversation starters are crucial elements for a successful event day and increased participation.
How Did We Solve This?
We've devised a thorough strategy aimed at improving the CicLAvia event experience, emphasizing efficiency and ease of use. At the core of our efforts is the Hub Partners Guide, which simplifies the planning and implementation stages, ensuring greater accessibility for our partners. In addition, we've introduced three supplementary tools: comprehensive infographics for booth design and engaging attendees, a user-friendly website serving as a central information repository, and an AI chatbot for immediate, real-time assistance.
Getting Into Research
Our research centered on ideas that CicLAvia team members and partners provided to us, for example:

"Challenges like equipment mishaps and tight budgets push us to be more creative and connected."
Alissandra V. (Event Producer at CicLAvia)
"It's not just about the event day; it's about creating a lasting impact and connection in our community in Los Angeles."
Kaitwan J. (LA commons)
What It's Like At A CicLAvia Event
Tons Of People!
Participating in a CicLAvia event was unlike any other experience. My team and I traveled to the heart of LA to observe firsthand how CicLAvia functions and identify areas that could be improved. It was exhilarating to witness numerous locals of all ages on their bikes, flooding the streets of LA instead of relying on gas-powered vehicles. 
Along the route, there were designated areas with booths and partner hubs, each diligently manned. These sections featured a diverse array of booths offering services and resources tailored to the local residents. In order to minimize pedestrian congestion, cyclists were instructed to dismount when passing through areas with partner hubs. This not only enhanced booth engagement but also reduced the potential danger for pedestrians on foot.
Some partner hubs offered interesting incentives for passerby's when interacting with them. Many organizations offered branded merchandise and other quirky knick-knacks to help promote their cause.




And Here's What We Found!

Engagement & visibility: High enthusiasm was shown for popular branded booths, as they showcased diverse themed activities and a popular photobooth for selfies and group pictures.

Communication is crucial: Providing clear information and signage is crucial, at times, we left booths unclear about their offerings due to vague communication. Effectively articulating who you are and what you stand for significantly enhances the visitor experience.

Leveraging social media: Specific stands held photobooths and other engaging activities which significantly boosted their visibility and attendee engagement.
Key Findings Summary:
1. A booth’s visual appeal is crucial for attracting visitors.
2. People working at booths need to initiate conversation (or it gets awkward!)
3. Free merch increases engagement and interactions decline when it runs out.
4. Despite its sustainability goals, CicLAvia utilizes disposable signage and promotional items.
5. Inadequate line management at booths can lead to visitor confusion.
The Big Question:
What might we do to create an effective toolkit for partner hubs to boost engagement and discoverability with attendees?
Solution 1: The Hub Partner Guide
We've developed a comprehensive approach to enhance the CicLAvia event experience, focusing on effectiveness and user-friendliness starting with the Hub Partner Guide. 

This digital guide is a key component of our strategy, crafted to increase engagement with event-goers and ensure a smooth event day. It's a comprehensive resource providing clear guidance on everything from booth setup to effective attendee interaction, enhancing the experience for both our partners and attendees.

Moreover, printable infographics were created to provide detailed insights into main factors that attract people to booths and ensuring their success, and offering a more focused, concise resource for those who might find the full guide overwhelming. This approach allows us to cater to a broad range of needs, ensuring every partner, whether experienced or new, has the essential tools for a successful event.

Why It Works: 
User feedback with the Partner Guide has been instrumental in refining our approach. A notable aspect appreciated by partners, like Invisible North and Gatorade, was the "checklist" feature in our guide. Which proved incredibly useful for event day preparation. This underscores the guide's effectiveness in simplifying the event planning process.
Solution 2: A New Website
To increase accessibility for hub partners, We've also designed a useful website that's basically a one-stop shop for everything CicLAvia partners might need. We've filled the website with more detailed resources on every topic covered in the digital guide, such as conversation starters, booth decorations, and tips to engage with the participants. 
This is the place where partners can dive deep and grab all the info they need to make the most of CicLAvia, not just during the event but before and after too. 

Why It Works:
Hub Partners having easy access to online information such as providing a website is a great method of convenience. This accessibility ensures that a wide audience, including newcomers and seasoned professionals, can benefit from a wealth of information from a simple Google search. Additionally, this facilitates knowledge-sharing, enabling individuals to learn from successful booth strategies and innovative ideas. 
Solution 3: Angelina, An AI Chatbot
One of the most interesting features we have here is the integration of our friendly AI Chatbot called Angelina, a new pioneering AI member of the CicLAvia team. 
Angelina serves as an intelligent assistant, specifically designed to simplify and expedite the process for hub partners seeking feedback and optimizing their booths at CicLAvia gatherings. Powered by Chatbase, Angelina is proficient in comprehending all aspects of booth etiquette and CicLAvia event planning. Simply input your question, and Angelina will readily assist you. Whether you're a seasoned participant or a newcomer, Angelina aims to streamline your journey and elevate your success. Angelina can be accessed through a custom link or within the cicLAvia partner guide website.

Why It Works: 
AI is one of the leading innovations today in technology. Chatbots can address frequently asked questions, freeing up time for more strategic tasks. Common queries regarding event logistics, parking, and booth guidelines can be quickly and accurately addressed by the chatbot. In summary, an AI chatbot can streamline communication, provide timely information, offer personalized assistance, and contribute to the overall efficiency and success of event preparation for partner hubs.
Future Possibilities
Our solutions provided tons of resources and useful tips for partner hubs to use to their advantage. However, there are tons of ways CicLAvia can push these solutions to their limits. 

Improvements to The AI Assistant
Angelina, the new CicLAvia AI assistant, currently asks for a $20 monthly fee as part of the Chatbase subscription. Nonetheless, there are pricing options available where premium plans offer additional enhancements and customization for the bot. This digital assistant has the potential for expansion onto various other platforms like Zapier, WordPress, WhatsApp, and Messenger. Furthermore, there's room for amplification of the chatbot to higher-end specifications and customization, including increased message credits, integration of ChatGPT 4 intelligence, and the utilization of custom domains.

Website Enhancements
For the next move with the website, full on integration with the main CicLAvia website can be put into motion. This can be done with a hidden URL or a direct button right on the existing partner page.

Self Reflection
This project has given me a deeper understanding of the intricacies involved in marketing for a community. CicLAvia has shown me how crucial it is to capture others' attention while highlighting the beauty surrounding a cause. Through these events, individuals had the opportunity to connect with others and become immersed in their own neighborhoods. It prompts me to pose questions to myself, such as "How can my designs and solutions evoke an emotional impact on my users?" It also reinforces the idea of slowing down and taking time to appreciate our surroundings. This experience underscores that being a designer is not just about creating aesthetically pleasing products but about positively impacting users, fostering loyalty, and encouraging them to return for more.
As technology advances, I am excited about discovering more ways to bring it to a broader demographic. Artificial intelligence has proven its efficacy in solving various challenges. This leads me to contemplate how we can further its use for everyday tasks. I believe my chatbot was a great starting point in introducing people to AI and showcasing its benefits in addressing human issues. With that said, I am hopeful about getting involved in more innovations revolving around it!

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