Getting the Most Out of Accento 2021
There are only a few days left until Accento 2021 and we're excited to meet you! Of course, we would have been glad to welcome you back to Karlsruhe's Südwerk, but as we've learned from last year, the online experience will be almost as good as the offline event would have been. To make sure of that, we'll be using Hopin again and we composed this guide to help you prepare for a perfect online conference day.
Important note: If anything goes seriously wrong during the conference and Hopin becomes unreachable, the show will go on - check the backup plan for how to proceed in that case.
Before we get into the thick of things, we want to thank our partners for supporting us!
Preparation is Key: Technical Requirements
We had a great interactive experience with Hopin in 2020 and will repeat it this year. As every tool has its own technical requirements, we've put together some helpful tips for you:
- Internet speed: For a great online experience the recommendation is a minimum of 5mbps download and 2mbps upload speed. Ideally would be 30mbps download and 10mbps upload or higher for guaranteeing best quality.
- Browser recommendations: Make sure you are using Chrome or Firefox and that your browser is fully up to date. Safari and Internet Explorer are not fully supported as they lack the support needed for live video events.
Just in case: If there is constant buffering, it could be a sign that your browser is not up to date. If it is, flip to compatibility mode/view as the buffering could then be an indication for an insufficient internet speed. There is still buffering after going to compatibility mode? Then try to switch browsers and go into compatibility mode in that one.
- Perfect device: The recommendation here is to take part via computer. If you cannot and have to use mobile, please use Chrome or Firefox.
- Hopin usage: Make sure you only have one Hopin tab open as there could be feedback or sound looping otherwise.
For more, you can also check out Hopin's FAQ.
The Details: How Hopin Works
Never used Hopin before? No problem! It's very intuitive and will be easy to use during Accento. To let you get to know the tool in advance, we've created this site providing a basic introduction.
(If you prefer videos, you can take a look at the tutorials we've created for last year's event. The main functions are still the same, but please note that some organizational and conference details as well as some aspects of Hopin's design have changed, so not everything applies.)
Account and Registration
To register for the event, head over to Accento on Hopin. On the right-hand side, in the Tickets box, click Join event. Then log into your Hopin account and you're good to go!
If you don't already have a Hopin account, you need to create one — it takes less than a minute. (Unlike other conference tools, you can't just drop into Hopin.) Remember to check your inbox for the confirmation mail from Hopin.
Getting Started with Hopin
The reception area is the first thing you see when you enter Accento. This is the best place to orient yourself. You'll find a quick description what to find where, a digital job board, and the schedule.
The event then offers five different areas on the left side - a virtual venue with different rooms: Reception, Stage, Networking, Expo and Sessions.
On the right is the chat - it's important to know that there's a single event-wide chat and a dedicated char for most areas, e.g. the stage or the expo booths. You can also directly chat with other participants under the People tab.
At the top, you can also change your personal information at any time by clicking on the profile icon.
The Stage: Our Assembly Hall
The first area on the left side is the stage. As our conference will have different tracks, we are using the stage a little differently than the name would suggest. For us the stage is like an assembly hall to meet before or after talks and during breaks. On stage there will be a permanent stream with Nicolai trying to entertain you. And the keynote will take place there as well - all other talks will be in the expo area.
Speaking of talks, this is a good opportunity to let you know that the talks were recorded beforehand. We feel that a remote live talk has all the downsides of both worlds: because it's remote, it's tough to form a connection between speaker and audience, and because it's live, things can go wrong. Instead, we will chat with speakers live before and after their talk and in between play the recording during which speakers will be active in chat.
You can ask them all your questions using the Q&A tab, which can be found next to the chat on the right-hand side. What can't be answered during the recording will be picked up for the live Q&A afterwards.
Accento's Core: The Expo Area
The expo area is the core of this conference. Here you can choose between the three rooms Java, Borneo, and Sumatra, which will host all the talks and panels - check the schedule to see what's on. Additionally, our sponsors will present their stands in this area, so feel free to join them.
Virtual Business Speed Dating: The Networking Area
We want Accento to be more than just video and chat and are therefore very happy that Hopin offers tools that allow you to meet almost as you would at an offline event. The networking as well as the session area is where we want to make this happen.
During the event, the network area is open, which may best be described as virtual business speed dating. Simply click on the Join button (quickly configure your audio and video settings in a preview) and you'll be matched up automatically with someone else in the networking area for up to three minutes. To give it a little push, we'll all join it together during the last 15 minutes of each break - check the schedule for details.
If you're not sure how to initiate the conversation, start with your name, your background, and the last development problem that was either frustrating or fulfilling (or both). At the top, there is a timer that counts your speaking time, but you can of course leave whenever you want by using the Leave button and then be matched up with another colleague by clicking on Join again. Are you enjoying the conversation and want to stay longer? No problem! Just click on Extend and your conversation partner can confirm. During the one-on-one meeting, you can also click on Connect to exchange your contact information - a virtual business card.
The connection is only made when both persons click on Connect. At the end of Accento, you get a summary of your connections to make it easy to follow up. It can be seen on your "Home" side in Hopin.
Here you can also find last years' video explanation of the networking area. Please not that even though core functions are still the same, the design and detailed functions are somehow different.
Hang Out Together: The Session Area
If you want to have a conversation with an attendee or a speaker, check out the Session Area.
A session is similar to a Skype or Zoom call with optional participation and it's very easy to join one: Simply click on the session you want to go in and you'll see and hear those sharing their camera and mic. You can either participate in the chat or, if you want to jump in and share your thoughts without having to force them through the chat window, you can simply click on the Share audio and video button.
No Webcam? No Problem!
Unfortunately, Hopin won't let you join networking or the sessions without a webcam. If you don't have a physical one or prefer not to turn it on, there are workarounds, though. There are a few tools that let you simulate a webcam:
- Webcamoid works on Linux, Windows, and Mac
- if you're already using OBS and are on Windows, use OBS' virtual camera
- if you need more options, a good search term is virtual webcam
This way, the operating system, browser, and ultimately Hopin will have a webcam available and you can join networking and sessions without actually sharing your image.
One more important thing: If you have any problems or questions during conference day, use the people chat on the right-hand side to find Uta (Leonhardt-Hamm) and let her know what's wrong. If you can't access the Hopin event, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org-
And remember, for the unlikely event that Hopin becomes unreachable, check the backup plan.
How to make the best out of a digital conference day?
Here are a few more hints to make July 7th a great conference day:
- Having a plan is always a good idea — At Accento there will be several interesting sessions at the same time. Hence it could help to look at the schedule in advance.
- Culinary care — The bad news: Unfortunately, you must prepare your meal and snacks by yourself. The good news: you can have your favorite food at any time you like!
- Take some breaks — You don't want to miss any important content? Easy to understand! Make sure that you take at least some breaks from sitting in front of the screen.
- Clothing & co. — Of course, there will be no dress code, so wear whatever you like (at least you should wear something if you intend to turn on your camera 😉).
- Best behavior — Last but not least, we want everyone to have a great experience at Accento and that means we expect everyone to make that possible for everyone else by behaving appropriately.