November 2nd, 2009

ConOps

It Was Fun To Think About, Though

One of the things about which I feel personally frustrated about the just-ended 2009 World Fantasy Convention in San Jose was that our signage, while good, could have been better, particularly at a couple of key points, especially the top of the main stairs, which proved to be the most-common entrance for most people first arriving. It was not at all obvious where one should go from that point to register for the convention, and we had not planned in advance for signs directing people toward Registration. (We had nice large signs at Registration, but not leading to it.)

Because the hotel's floor plan is an square, and because the Registration area was on the opposite side of the square, you could walk either left or right and you'd end up going the same distance until you reached the Reg Desk. Although we didn't do it (except long enough to take this photo), we could have quite legitimately posted this sign:

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I have a feeling that people would not really have appreciated this sort of instruction, even if it was technically accurate. Instead, we made signs that pointed people one of the two directions toward Registration, and then put up some of these Registration arrows all around the square, always pointing toward Registration. I did hear at least one person say, "It said turn right for Registration back there, but when I come down here, it says to go this way instead." And on Thursday in particular, we in the Press Office spent a lot of time telling people who had reached us -- about a third of the way around the square -- "Just keep going that way and you'll get there eventually."

We've learned some lessons about how the Fairmont site works that I think will prove valuable for Westercon 64.