We had a list of required features (check-ins, direct messaging, schedules, an activity feed) and a few stylistic guidelines (TED's now-iconic style), but aside from that, we started with a blank canvas. This meant doing a lot of preliminary work just to find our footing: we sketched, we tested, we revised. We met with TED regularly and tossed around ideas, slowly inching towards the amazing experience that we both knew was just around the corner. And when we both felt like the plan of attack was complete, we went to work.
The app evolved to become the blend of intuitiveness and pixel-perfection that we had set out to create. In-app notifications and coaching eased the user through their first experience, effectively acclimating attendees. If you wanted to meet someone new, the activity feed and the schedule kept your finger on the TED pulse; if you already had, you could share their contact details with them, make a note about how and why you met, and send them an email in-app to keep the conversation going.