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Lloyd’s Virtual Room: Latest improvements

How we’re responding to our users with new high value features and functions.

With the end of the year in sight, the Future at Lloyd’s Virtual Room team is readying itself for two key updates, while continuing to co-create more future features for the Room with the help of Lloyd’s users. Both updates will provide Virtual Room users with the most advanced digital experience of our business yet.

Our users know best what works well, and what can be improved. We are committed to learning and improving and since the launch of the Virtual Room in September have conducted 23 product development sessions (see below for more detail). From these, we have identified two key updates for improvement in the first November Virtual Room release (Virtual Room 1.4) going live on week commencing 16th November:

  1. Team view: team pages where companies can showcase whole teams, alongside contact details to make it easy to find multiple people from one organisation to chat to should their preferred contact be unavailable.
  2. Simplified, self-service onboarding: new users will be able to onboard and upload pictures of themselves without the support of product or IT teams.

What we have learned from our development sessions since September

Creating one integrated platform will add the most value. When we built the Virtual Room, we did it in six weeks, prioritising the profile and search features for launch. The feedback since then has been unanimous: calendar integration between the Virtual Room and work calendars is both wanted and expected.

There’s a growing reliance on voice and video calling. Most people are now working remotely, so voice and video calls have become the main mode of communication. Being able to initiate both, as well as adding dial-in details to meetings within the Virtual Room, will help us build more seamlessness into the user experience.

Viewing users by team will speed up outreach. Introducing a team view page (see below image) will create more connections and opportunities for people planning to reach out and connect with other members in the Lloyd’s network, especially those they’re not yet familiar with.

Mobile access is becoming more important: With remote working fast becoming the new normal, people expect a responsive, mobile-designed Virtual Room experience and interface that delivers the same consistency of experience as a desktop or laptop and lets users work from anywhere.

The more users, the richer and more valuable the experience. As more people start using the Virtual Room, it will be become more representative of the wider market.

We’re excited to keep enriching the user experience of the Virtual Room. Functionality tweaks like more automated and simple onboarding processes, easy personal profile updates and searching for people by teams all help our users save time and effort, while fulfilling our promise to make the Virtual Room as useful and engaging as possible.
Sam Irving, Virtual Room Product Owner at Lloyd’s

What about the features that aren’t adding value?

Just as recent research and feedback sessions offered a valuable steer on the next key features and functions to build into the Virtual Room, they also highlighted what we need to take out. Given the context and moment we’re living in, viewing onsite availability has been removed from user profiles; it’s irrelevant given that remote working will remain the norm until 2021 (on current assumptions). Another helpful insight was that users don’t want to manage two calendars. The feedback was clear: calendar integration between the Virtual Room and user’s professional calendars is vital. If it doesn’t get built, it’ll be a blocker for users heading into the Virtual Room.

We get it – nobody needs to double down on scheduling.

As an interim solution, we’ve worked hard to remove as much friction as possible from dual calendar management by co-developing improved journeys with users. We’ll continue to aim for one fully integrated platform, with forthcoming features including syncing your work calendar, booking a work meeting, do not disturb functionality and voice and video calling all on the horizon as we move into the Virtual Room 1.4 release and beyond.

We’ve plenty more in store for the Virtual Room and things are going to keep getting better and better, so make sure you sign up to receive updates on all things related to Blueprint Two and for the opportunity to take part in a future research session.

Last, we’d like to end on a big thank you, to all those who beavered away and helped to shape the first release of the Lloyd’s Virtual Room to exceptionally tight timeframes. You are all digital stars in your own right, and it wouldn’t have happened without you.

If you want to learn more about the progress and people behind the Virtual Room, or get involved in the user testing experience, get in touch at: virtualroom@lloyds.com

Sam Irving & Fiona Manders