ASAE Annual Meeting

Be Fanatical About Your Event App UX

By Association Adviser staff • August 12, 2020

If your association wants your members to use your event app widely and frequently, you need to make it as user-friendly as possible. Molly Holt, manager, event experiences at the Heart Rhythm Society, guided attendees through five event app areas to improve for a better user experience (UX) during her Express Talk at at the 2020 ASAE Annual Meeting:

  1. Eliminate scrolling on your landing page. If users must scroll to find a feature, chances are they won’t use it. Features immediately visible on an event app landing page get as much as 90% adoption while features below the fold might get as little as 10% use. To make your app’s landing page as useful as possible, prioritize the attendee and their event-related needs. Think: What are they using your app for? (Don’t frame this as, “What do you want them to use your app for?”!) Be ruthless in your landing page design. Move or delete features that are not being used. You’ll know this from scrutinizing you event app data. Speaking of data…
  1. Your event app will only be as good as its data and how you use it, so spend time with your app’s user data and apply it in every iterative app build. Audit your session inputs and exhibit info every year. Is it relevant? Is it helpful? How can you use data to make your event app better for the attendee?

Make your event app like Google. Index as much content as your app allows, and then create an analogue of search terms, including misspellings that people search for. Not every technical terms is easy to misspell, especially on a small phone keyboard. Your goal is to “have no search go unreturned.” Comb through search data and add terms as time goes on.

Every user should have to log in to your event app once, when they first start using the app. No one wants to have to remember their login information, and no one wants to have to log into an app every time they open it.

  1. Segment your event app’s users into user profiles, and then personalize your app as much as possible based on the needs and wants of those users. Such profiles could include exhibitors, speakers, members, nonmembers, attendees and sponsors. Add the features people in each group request most.
Language matters: Use the word “my” in front of your app’s features to help users feel like this app is made for them. Put the word “My” in front of app sections like “schedule, agenda, booth, sessions, credits, community.
  1. Upgrade your app regularly for its superusers. These are the people who use 80-90% of app features. Add a new feature every year to keep it exciting and useful. You might see only superusers accessing the more complex features of your event app, but give it time: As we all become more reliant on our phones, the user base for new and more in-depth features will only expand if the features are helpful.
  1. Finally, build out your event app’s data so you can improve your app year over year. Add multiple layers of data about users, sessions, feature use and frequency. The more data you have, the more personalized the event app experience which translates to a better user experience.

Final thoughts from Molly:

  • Start where you are. You don’t have to overhaul everything about your app at once to make it better.
  • Do you research on what makes a useful, pleasant app experience by downloading several (Molly recommends 10-15) event apps per year to learn what you like, what works, and what doesn’t. Note which app provider the successful ones use.
  • Be flexible and reactive. Your app doesn’t matter if users can’t download it, can’t log on, can’t find tech support if they have a problem.
  • Name your event app as self-evidently as possible. Avoid cute names that aren’t easily found in app stores searches.
  • Make it downloadable in as many places as possible.
  • Ensure your onsite WiFi supports the ability to download your event app.
  • Create a seamless log on process.
  • Have a knowledgeable onsite tech team.