If you attended the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo, you’re probably still processing and reflecting on everything you experienced. Because the annual meeting is an intense event, and because many of us are introverts (for those who were not there, this was the topic of the opening keynote session), it has taken a few days to physically recover.
Post-ASAE nap and vitamin smoothie in hand, one aspect of the four-day event that was refreshing was the mobile app ASAE provided attendees. From the simple opening dashboard to the schedule, with speaker bios and handouts pre-loaded inside, to the Twitter stream embedded within, this was one tool we could not have survived ASAE Annual without.
Our favorite features:
- The ability to search the schedule by keyword: We read through the sessions ahead of time and knew which ones we wanted to attend, but couldn’t always remember the exact title. A quick keyword or phrase search immediately showed the full title, plus room number, of the next session on our list.
- Built-in note-taking boxes: Every session on our personal schedule offered a box for note-taking, which we could then export to my email or my colleagues’ inboxes.
- Map of the Expo floor/Georgia World Congress Center: For those visual learners and cartography enthusiasts who enjoy knowing where they are in relation to landmarks, major elevation changes, and the nearest restaurant – this feature was invaluable.
- Built-in Twitter feed: It was fun to see what others had to say about the meeting, and the session-dedicated feed was a nice touch in theory–although it didn’t work on our iPad 2. However, we liked being able to take notes and compose a “thank you” tweet to the speaker for sharing their expertise without switching screens.
Our least favorite features:
- Built-in Twitter feed: Sometimes the tweets were too much to keep up with, and it was easy to pay more attention to the Twitter feed than the live speakers. Plus, not everyone uses Twitter. Others prefer Facebook, LinkedIn, or another major social media network. An app that combines posts from other networks or hosts its own news feed, such as this one from Double Dutch, would show a more robust snapshot of the show. [reader note: in the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that Naylor has an ongoing partnership with Double Dutch]
- The members-only Collaborate function: If you’re not an ASAE member (or if you can’t remember your login info), you are not able to utilize this feature. Our recommendation would be to allow every paid attendee at the conference access for better engagement and to potentially further persuade non-members to join.
- Lack of photos: At large events like this one, it’s impossible to see everything, so others’ photos help us vicariously experience the parts we miss. There are several good apps out there that incorporate photos into event news feeds. Based on what we saw via the #asae13 hashtag on Instagram, there was plenty to share. Why not incorporate photos into the app feed, and make the app a true event hub?
Ideas for a future ASAE Annual Meeting app:
- A dedicated #asae[year] LinkedIn feed: Many professionals are using LinkedIn these days, so the ability to share the ASAE wisdom with our LinkedIn network would be a nice feature.
- Better use of the “Media” stream: Next to the Twitter stream was one called “Media,” but nothing showed up during the show. We weren’t sure of its purpose, but suggest using it for photos or links related to session content.
- Push notifications: We saw signs posted in the Georgia World Congress Center for last-minute room changes. Pushing a short message out to app users to notify them of such changes would potentially save a lot of people the trouble of trekking to the wrong room. A push notification feature would also offer exhibitors the chance to push out their own promotional message, for an ASAE-supporting price, of course.
- A map of the surrounding venue area: A map of downtown Atlanta was included in our bright blue bags, so we were covered, but perhaps ASAE could consider adding that information to the app as well. Including nearby points of interest with pop-up information and restaurants with the ability to link to their websites or call to make a reservation would be nifty, too.
Did you love the app, too? What show tool is indispensable for you?