Designing the User Experience

One of the cooler perks of being the Creative Director for Event Rental is that I’ve been to more than my share of events large and small. I once stood next to the Saints’ much-deserved Lombardi Trophy on the Field of the Super Dome, I have ridden as the absolute last person in the Orpheus Mardi Gras parade, and I’ve sat through Steel Magnolias and one of the most mind-blowing fireworks displays I’ve ever seen in the awesome town in which it was filmed, Natchitoches, Louisiana (NACK-uh-tish, if you’re trying to pronounce along at home). At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been to dinner parties where awkward silence was the highlight, to weddings full of jokes that only the hosts laughed at, and to parties where people were more annoyed or bored than entertained.

For better or worse, I see events through the eyes of both an industry professional and a guy who wants to have a good time. That’s at the core of what the company I work with does daily: we help our clients make sure people are going to have a good time. If parties were websites, the concept would be called the User Experience.

In web design, User Experience is about putting yourself in the shoes of whoever is going to be using the site you design, and making sure that they’re going to be able to easily do what they came to your site to do without beating their head against the keyboard. Events should flow the same way, with intuitive calls to action and opportunities for engagement and amusement. User Experience should be central to planning almost any event, yet it’s a term that unfortunately has no equivalent in this industry.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, loves a good party. Let’s face it, even when we get suckered into attending the wedding of that weird cousin that crochets squirrel sweaters and always says something so inappropriate it stops all conversation dead in its tracks (yes, I’m basically talking about myself in the third person there), we still try to be optimistic. “I hope there’s an open bar at the reception” is the same as saying “I am going to try to have a good time no matter what.”

With this site, our goal was to bridge the gap between the User Experience on the web, the User Experience in party planning, and the User Experience as a party-goer. We recognize that in the era of do-it-yourself-everything, some people prefer to handle things on their own. Figuring that it might save you a little time, we’re trying to anticipate the things we know you are going to ask about, and provide the information for you here. The hope is that you will use it to plan your event well enough that both you and your guests can relax and have a great time.

Bear with us as we try to translate “planning the perfect event” which we do hundreds of times a month, into “planning a website that shows you every single step of planning the perfect event.” If there are things we haven’t thought of, or covered well enough, or you have a different insight on, feel free to get in touch.

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Christopher Anton received his education at Oberlin College before ultimately heading to art school for a Bachelors in Interactive Media Design. After running Event Rental for a year and a half, he retreated to a comfortable, quiet, phone-call-free office at the back of Event Rental's New Orleans headquarters. From there, he manages all of the IT needs, print, web and advertising campaign design, and tackles all the general "let's think this through for a second" and "can you write this letter so it sounds fancy" challenges that pop up. While not the perfect moniker to describe the scope of what he does, Vice President is the title currently on his business cards. With a knack for problem solving, process improvements and finding inefficiencies, he is most excited by anything related to monkeys, world travel, ingeniously written copy or brilliant design (two of which lend themselves perfectly to the work of Event Rental).