Conference season is year round and more and more companies are trying to enrich the experience by accompanying their events with a mobile app for its attendees and employees to use. These are some things to think about when designing a conference app:
How are you going to make the app intuitive and remove all barriers of adoption? What are the top three things attendees would want in a conference app? These should be available immediately when launching the app and be easy to use. If you need to explain what the app can do, then app engagement will be low.
How will you communicate with attendees? Can you do this in a targeted fashion rather than just blasting all application users at the same time? Do you want users to be able to communicate with each other? Can you enable a two-way interaction for a real dialog with attendees?
What happens when the network is down or you are buried in the bowels of a convention center with no connectivity? Thinking about off-line capabilities ahead of time can avoid a disaster.
For the best user experience, build a native app for iOS and Android. For more on why, read my earlier blog entry on native development.
What 3rd party integrations do you need? Ticketing, schedule management, party maps, surveys, social media are all frequent candidates.
How will you make the app fun and increase app engagement? Are there things you can do to gamify desired behaviour?
How are people using your app? What actionable insights can you gain and respond to in real-time? How will you make the app better next time?
Think about pushing the limits – integrate beacon technology or something new that hasn't been done 1,000 times before. Just make sure you’ve tested anything that’s new 10x more rigorously so it doesn’t crash when everyone’s using your app.
Plan for after the conference. Can people who connected with the app still contact each other after the event? What happens to messages and exchanges after one party deletes the app, or stops checking it? Where does media stored within the app – e.g. pictures taken and published in the app’s social feed – live on?
Your 2nd event app should be much easier to build than the first. Can you reuse data, structure, functionality from event to event? If not, your app architecture can likely be improved.
This is the simple checklist. Want a deeper discussion? raw engineering has been building mobile apps for 7+ years, including conference and event management apps for some large and well known conferences. Do you have an upcoming event and would like to spice it up with a mobile app that your attendees with rave about? Drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you!