Event organizers know the event app landscape continues to evolve. From changes in the Apple App Store to a continuous flood of startups, products and services penetrating the marketplace. Event organizers have no shortage of options to get an app out there, but one element of event app creation that should be consistent regardless of the platform, is the user experience and the creative execution.
Here are some tips event organizers should consider as they work with their app team on the best possible UX (user-experience) and UI (user-interface) and why that matters for the entire branded experience.
Pump the breaks…what’s the difference?
User Experience: The practice and discipline of crafting a strategic workflow for any digital product like a website, landing page, app or even a kiosk. It has very little to do with the actual visual layer of the product. In fact, some of the best UX designers, are not visual designers at all. They’re practitioners of a multi-disciplined effort to best organize content for both ease of use and influence. User Experience design comes before user interface design, as the experience influences the look and feel of the visual interface. Form follows function!
User Interface: This is the visual layer of any digital product. It’s where the look and feel, branding selections, colors and fonts are put together, to bring the User Experience, and content, to life. You might call this the “make it pretty” part of the process.
Here’s how these two disciplines can work together to create the best possible event app for your audience.
How does your brand fit?
Your event app is an extension of your brand and your show. Slapping a logo on a template rarely translates to reflecting the brand strategy your organization has so carefully developed. Here are some things to consider about branding, as you craft your event app strategy:
- Do you have a brand style guide? If so, share it with your event app developers. They will be grateful that you did!
- From icon selection to images and video, there are many multimedia options that you can add to your app, but ensuring these components work together should be the goal.
- Getting found. Consider your app store presence, this may seem like a minor detail but it’s actually one of the entry points of your event app experience. Your brand can be present from the title you select to get found in the App Store, to the images you display in the preview. Also, consider a dedicated landing page experience to promote your event app on your website. This should be clear and concise and sync with the rest of your event collateral.
What types of content will your audience most connect with?
- First Timers: Consider adding a First Timers section right in your app. We know that having a good first experience at an event goes a long way in getting an attendee to the next one. Consider how your event app can help support that first timer user journey.
- Special Features: Audio Tours, Treasure Hunts, Networking and more. Your special functionality should fit with your show and audience. For example, if you suspect your audience is not using social media, don’t make that a key feature.
Creating a path for the best way for your unique audience to interact with your event app.
- Your event app should be second nature to use, it should be invisible! It’s there to help guide your users, not interrupt and distract them. Make sure the kind of user flow you’re putting together enhances their journey with your event, versus distracts them.
- Your most digitally sophisticated attendees are the ones using your app. Make sure they’re seeing the value in using it by providing instant gratification like alerts, targeted messages and for expos, powerful mapping and routing.
- Are your attendees older or less tech savvy? Make the event app easy to use by including a tutorial that dynamically walks your users through how to use the app.
- Promoting the App: The more users you have, the better. Seems simple, but having a game plan to promote your app on the front end, will help drive users and engagement. Which will help you show the value for the sponsors that invested in the app and further expose your overall digital brand activation efforts.
- Sponsorship: Providing guidance to exhibitors in terms of the best type of promotional ads to put together for your event app is also something to consider. If your show is highlighting a certain destination or annual initiative, consider baking that type of event specific content into your exhibitor’s in-app promotion. It only furthers the relevancy of the show and brings exhibitors into the fold of the brand.
Creating a data driven ecosystem to support the metrics that matter to you most.
- Decide in advance what metrics will make the most sense to tell the story of your ROI, before you start creating your app. That way the analytics outcome is baked into the build.
- What other data sources are you using that can show a more complete picture of your audience’s digital journey with your brand? Consider how you can use one of the many tools available to shape an analytics reporting dashboard that showcases brand touch points like the app and beyond.
Overall, your event is an often overlooked touchpoint for extending your brand experience. Consider talking with your supplier about the best ways to customize your event app experience for your users, your organization and your brand.