MP spoke with Adam Riggs, Chief Executive Officer at Frameable and an experienced executive and investor in eCommerce, finance, and media companies. Before founding Frameable, Riggs was a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the U.S. Treasury Department and Secretary of State John Kerry’s staff member, advising on various open data and knowledge management challenges.
Riggs was also the first president and CFO of Shutterstock.
What is one thing all of these positions had in common? Meetings. As a result of these cumulative experiences, Riggs is determined to solve the disconnect between virtual meeting software and human connection to create a better way to work for everyone.
What is Frameable?
Frameable is a software company with a mission of making working together virtually feel as easy as turning around and talking to each other. This goal has been realized through our Frameable Spaces and Frameable Events products.
Frameable Spaces is a new approach to collaboration, enabling the kinds of serendipitous connections you’d have within a physical office, only virtually. A glance across the space gives colleagues insight into each other's work and availability, making it easy to tap someone on the shoulder to start collaborating virtually.
Frameable Events brings the much-needed elements of interaction and connection to virtual spaces. Clients can customize virtual events to reflect their unique brand culture and audience's needs and engage attendees in a beautiful, interactive environment.
How has Frameable differentiated itself from its competitors?
Unlike many other technology providers for virtual collaboration and workspaces, Frameable has taken a human-first approach rather than a tool- or hardware-centric strategy.
When companies have used technology to make interactions less directly connected to the humans behind the screens, it has frequently led to unsatisfying interactions at best and online bullying and harassment in some of the worst examples.
At Frameable, we consciously decided not to overwhelm our users with confusing UI. We give our users great control in customizing their online, virtual experiences. Our focus on graphic design and interaction creates an experience that is easy to understand for the people using our platforms and easy to set up and implement for the event planner or workspace manager.
We focus on what makes working together virtually better for the people involved, using technology that’s already part of their daily work to reduce the friction between their interactions. No headset that reminds you of seventh-grade braces headgear is required.
What factors must businesses consider when designing Metaverse spaces for their employees to engage in long-term remote work, and why?
Just as with your physical workspace, your online workspaces should be inclusive to everyone in your organization and accessible to all.
One of the frequently overlooked aspects of the Metaverse, as it’s currently understood, is just how expensive the technology is for the average U.S. worker (who earns $51,480 as of 2021) to acquire.
Interested in learning more about the Metaverse? MP covers many areas of the Metaverse, including business, ethics, legal, and more.
In addition to this tech not being economically inclusive, it also filters out people whose accessibility needs are not met by the hardware or the environments they are used in or who find that VR headsets make them physically ill.
How will design in the Metaverse increase or decrease employees’ productivity, and why?
Focus on how poor UI and distracting tech issues derail productivity.
Regardless of where you work, distractions happen that can easily derail your productivity. From having every incoming email announced on your screen to the ping of Slack or Discord, it can be easy to let your technology interrupt your workflows hundreds of times each day.
Our Spaces platform puts each individual in control of their level of accessibility. It’s easy to update your status to note your openness to connecting or lock your door and put on a virtual “do not disturb” sign when you are in focus mode.
When technology makes it difficult to seamlessly indicate your availability to collaborate or assumes you are OK with an always-on barrage of interruptions, it can easily derail your productivity.
How can enabling employees to engage in long-term remote work via the Metaverse improve employee communication, and why?
When companies had important news to share before remote work became widespread, they had two choices:
- Schedule and plan for a costly in-person all-hands meeting to share the information simultaneously with everyone in the company.
- Use a waterfall approach and cascade messages across the organization from manager to direct reports.
Both approaches had drawbacks because teams and individuals could fall through the cracks and never get the message, leaving them feeling left out, overlooked, and unappreciated.
When all employees across a company—in various time zones and on multiple continents–share one central virtual office, it encourages a quick and easy channel for two-way or all-inclusive employee communication.
Collaborative Infrastructure in the Metaverse
Hosting events in a virtual format can provide a variety of benefits. For starters, eliminating the need to travel removes a barrier to attendance for certain sociodemographic groups and members of the disability community.
A less obvious benefit of virtual events is that they have provided better opportunities for women. A recent study by Nature Sustainability showed that moving to an online conference format increased women's participation by 60% to 260%. (1)
Online formats have allowed more community members to be able to and feel comfortable joining virtual events; however, events are about more than just showing up. Attendees need to be engaged and involved to receive the best experience possible. This includes providing a collaborative infrastructure and ensuring platforms have the accessibility features necessary to accommodate attendees.
A study from Fable found that 45% of people with disabilities experienced accessibility issues at their last event, either preventing them from feeling fully included or participating in the event. (2)
While progress has been made in this area, much work still needs to be done. At Frameable, we hope to ensure all attendees can have a great event experience and are continuing to build and improve on the accessibility features we offer.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Many remote work naysayers keep insisting that working virtually doesn’t work.
But the truth is, they’ve just been doing it wrong.
As with any other critical business initiative, you must combine the right tools and teams to create a beautiful and productive workspace.
That’s what we are doing at Frameable, one virtual floor at a time.