Jan 26, 2018
by Irina Linnik

How to build a cool mobile app for events

Middle East is becoming a new technology hub and in recent years it’s been hosting many significant tech-conferences and related events.

Thousands of international participants and guests visit them so it’s crucial that all these events go smoothly and guests enjoy them from the moment of registration till the very end.

Mobile applications for events help organizers enhance the experience from visiting the event and pass all the information in a clear and interactive way.

However, there are certain things to consider before building such app so we collected some useful tips that may help you turn your app into an experience.

Why it’s important and what people tend to ignore

According to the statistics, 60% of event planners saw the increase in attendees’ engagement and 91% noticed positive ROI from the event mobile app.

As for the visitors, 88% of them said such apps are incredibly important – and these are some persuasive figures.

These numbers and overall feedback from app users prove the importance of having one for your event – however, there is one huge problem with building an app for the events.

Since it will be used for short period only, many people tend to ignore the quality and choose cheap options that can be built quickly. As a result, they are getting an app that looks almost identical to hundreds of similar apps and does not stand out at all.

But such approach is incorrect because for sure you want your event to be noticed and remembered and you want your users to use it and talk about it. So with UX/UI and originality in mind, let’s get down to the app building.

Essential features for any event app

Even though each event is different, some things are common for any of them. They are:

·Location: where the event is held

·Time: when the event is held, schedule

·Theme & topic: what it’s all about?

·People: who are the speakers and participants?

Schedule and timing

So first things first: your users want to know what will be going on so provide them with full schedule. You can go two ways here.

First one is: leave a single line on the main screens with the biggest things indicated. Such option suits for events that don’t have too complicated schedule.

Second one is: create a schedule on separate screen and state the timing in details. This option is perfect when you have two (or more) parallel branches, a lot of things going on, etc.

The main point here is to inform your users about the biggest parts of the event because you don’t want them to miss it. If you hesitate about whether to leave or dismiss some things, ask yourself: if you were a user, would you like to know about this thing or no?

An interesting add-on is a countdown timer implemented in the app. Such timer can let you know how much time is left before the event (or before certain activity) and is a great idea for improving your UX. It’s also cool if your users can schedule the event in their calendars and do it from the app itself with minimal amount of taps.

Program: make it noticeable

Why do people attend events? Because it has something interesting for them. So make sure users know right away what’s awaiting them at the event by listing the program down. Again, the way of listing it depends on the program and the event itself. You can either list the program in the schedule or describe it on separate screen.

Don’t forget the map

It seems minor but it’s important: make sure to include the map in your app.

Live directions, list of possible transportation, external map of the whole location – make sure your visitors and guests know exactly where the event takes place, how to get there and what else they can visit outside the event.

News and social media

Your event is interesting and big – so let people know about it!

Implement a news feed into the app and fill it with photos, videos, interviews and entertaining content. Start engaging people before the event, during the event and after the event as well. Heat their interest, interact with them and let the word of mouth spread as more and more people download your app.

What is also popular these days are live Twitter, Instagram or other feeds that let app users know what’s going on in real time.

Speakers: let people know about them

Key speakers are the reason the majority of people visit events.

Such speakers are normally industry experts from the leading companies and it’s a must to list them in your app and to tell in short what they will be talking about.

You can describe your speakers on separate screen, listing down their position, achievements, expertise and lecture topics. Many events are estimated judging by the speakers so let the speakers of your event shine.

Other features to be included

One more important thing that’s necessary for any event app is the option of ticket booking. You can implement it either on the main screen or on separate screens (if you have different prices for different programs) but don’t forget about it.

The user wants everything to be convenient and fast so give them an option of booking a ticket in few taps.

Another thing – instant customer service aka feedback, in-app messaging or chatbots. If users have any questions or requests, they should be able to contact the organizers and immediately receive a reply.

And in addition to customer service include push notifications: they increase user engagement and serve as efficient retargeting tool.

Building an event app

First thing to remember: focus on quality and take your time. It will take about 8-10 weeks to build a high-quality app and the price would start from approximately $15 000.

It may seem too much for some people, but in fact it is as important and worthy investment as printing or website development and maintenance. Don’t listen to those telling you they can make an app for 5000$ just because it’s simple and ordinary.

Off course you want your app to stand out, so think twice before choosing fast & cheap – go for unique instead.

Speaking about unique – don’t follow the exact canvas listed above. Yes, these features are essential – but think carefully about your event first. What’s special about it and how can the app emphasize it?

The problem with many apps is that they are all the same – but if you want your event to be remembered, you can’t go with an average application, can you? Dubai as well as the whole fast growing technically Middle East region is merciless to everything ‘average’, and it has been proved so many times these years.

Don’t forget about a bit of marketing before the app release – one of the most common reasons users don’t download it is because they have no idea about the app!

So invest into marketing in order for the users to get the app before the event and get some understanding of it.

Heat the interest! Include some interactions like polls or quizzes, start a merch giveaway and let your creativity flow. The event does not have to be standard – you can do whatever you want within the brand image and your budget and creativity.

Summing up, there are dozens of features to implement into your app – just think carefully which ones will resonate the best with the event mood and your brand image.

As well it might be a good idea to address an international startup for app development. Such companies consist mostly of diverse team so they can know about some peculiarities of different countries and can give you some useful advice on your app.

And of course, pay attention to the developers’ expertise: if you want a pure native apps, look for native developers, who specialize in Swift and Jave, and if you prefer cross platform app, such as React Native, choose a company that specialize in building such applications. You can find some in Dubai or try to outsource abroad.

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