ExpoCad floor plan review

Pros Covers the basics.
Cons Dated design. Map does not resize on Android phones
Verdict The reviewed ExpoCad floor plan is one of the weakest we have seen across the competition. The new version they showcase on their site is significantly better.

ExpoCad is a 30-year old company, and unfortunately, its age is reflected in its floor plans. For this review, we use this floor plan for the in-cosmetics North America show at the Javits Center, New York, Oct 17-18, 2018.

1. Mobile usability (Score: 1 out of 5)

Here’s how the map looks on a phone. While you can resize it on an iPhone, there is no way to make it larger on an Android phone. This means that half of the expo attendees will not be able to use the map.

If you test the mobile site speed using Google, the results are disappointing.

Based on the site speed, Google estimates that you would lose 30% of all visitors. However, since attendies cannot resize the map on Android phones, you should expect to lose around 70% of users just because of the outdated technology that is being used to build this floor plan. Note that the showcase map on the ExpoCad website is actually resizable and loads in 5s. We wish they would use it for the in-cosmetics expo.

To compare map loading speed of ExpoCad versus ExpoFP, you can run the same Google tool on an identical floor plan from the ExpoFP demo. The ExpoFP floor plan loads in 3s - almost 4 times faster than ExpoCad.

 

2. Desktop usability (Score: 2 out of 5)

Here’s how the floor plan looks on the desktop. The interface design is hopelessly outdated. Compare it with the modern ExpoFP demo floor plan.

 

3. How easy to find an exhibitor (Score: 3 out of 5)

With interactive search finding a company in the exhibitor list is easy. When you mouse over the list, it highlights the booths on the map. However, opening “Exhibitor info” box is supposed to show the exhibitor details. But, for this map, there are no company details — no description, no phone numbers, nothing. We assume it will receive the missing info prior to the expo. Also the “Exhibitor info” box often covers the selected booth on the map, thereby obscuring its location. Users would have to close or move the box in order to locate the booth highlighted on the map.

To find an exhibitor on a phone, a user would go to the menu, select “Exhibitor List” and search there. While it is an extra step (search should be made available on the main screen), the interactive search makes it easy to find an exhibitor. If the user then clicks on a booth link, then the map resizes, in a jerky animation, to something actually usable, i.e., a readable size with the booth highlighted.

 

4. Search by categories (Score: 3 out of 5)

There are no categories in the “in cosmetics” floor plan example. Their showcase map however does show categories.

Highlighting booths with red circles looks a bit unprofessional, but it gets the job done.

On a mobile, you cannot see all companies in a category at once on a floor plan. You have to view them one by one. Compare that with how all booths in a category are highlighted on the ExpoFP floor plan.

 

 

5. Exhibitor details (Score: 2 out of 5)

You can see how ExpoCad’s “Exhibitor Info” window looks in the above images. It has bare are minimum information — no company description or contact information and no design. On their showcase map however, they have more information with much better formatting. We wish they would use that new format on all of their maps, not only on the showcase. The new design, however imperfect, is a significant step in the right direction as compared to what they have now.

 

6. Allowing exhibitors to see available booths (Score: 3 out of 5)

On the desktop, the available booths are highlighted (however strangely).

On a phone, since you cannot make the tiny map any larger, the available space view is of no use to Android phone users.

 

7. Planning the expo visit (Score: 3 out of 5)

There’s no way to bookmark a booth in the example map. So, it is not clear how to do it in real practice. On their showcase map, however, they do have the “Add to my expo” functionality.

Other points

It is impossible to find context information of the show while on the floor plan. It has no show name, date, time, location, logo or a link to the main expo site.

You can view another type of floor plans from ExpoCad – a pseudo 3D plan for Techtextil North America. We wish the effort that went into 3D had gone instead to making company names readable.

Conclusion

ExpoCad floor plans would probably be fine — a decade ago. They have all the basic elements of an interactive expo map: the map, list of exhibitors, a way to find them, and (as long as you are not on Android) a way to actually locate the booths on the map. But nowadays they look hopelessly outdated. You can do better with almost any alternative product — like the top-of-the-line ExpoFP.