You’ve already built a customized website for your event, you’ve automated the attendee registration and management process, and your event invitations have been sent. Now that all that is up and running, you’re probably working on the design of your attendee experience. How to engage my audience? How to create a smooth participant experience for my event ? How to capture and keep their attention? The answers to all these questions and more is an Event App.
Creating a successful event can be a real challenge, even more so when it comes to providing attendees with the best possible experience. An Event App is a true ally on your quest for success. It can help you interact and improve communication with your participants and even helps foster conversations between them.
In this article, we cover the different steps to successfully create an Event App.
- Choose an Event App Provider
- Configure The App
- Design the Event App
- Add Content
- General Event Information
- The Participant List
- Publish the Event App on the Web and the App Stores
- Publishing A Web App
- Publishing on the Google Play and App Stores
Choose an Event App Provider
First and foremost, you should know that you can either create an Event App that’s dedicated to a single event or one that can hold several events. The latter is most commonly known as a Multi-Event App. You can also have a web Event App, which can be accessed via any browser and/or a native Event App, which is downloaded onto a device. Decide which way to go before taking the official first step, which is choosing someone to build your Event App.
There are 3 different options to choose from for creating an Event App.
- An Event Agency. They take care of creating your application in addition to helping you organize your event. You just need to provide them with all the elements to be added to your app. However, they aren’t usually flexible when it comes to making changes to your Event App.
- An app developer. You can use an internal or external software engineer to create your Event App. They can build your app from the bottom up with their very own code. However, if you opted for a Multi-Event App and its framework needs to be changed, because of an iOS or Android operating system update that causes compatibility issues, further coding will be required. The same goes for apps built through an agency.
- An Event Tech provider. This type of provider specializes in technology used specifically for events such as Event Management Software (EMS) and, of course, Event Apps. Some Event Tech providers offer you total autonomy when it comes to creating an Event App and this feature is included directly in the EMS. For example, with Eventdrive’s EMS, you are able to build a custom event app and update content as you need. Opting for an Event Tech provider means opting for more flexibility when it comes to updating content and especially for those last-minute changes.
You should choose the option that best aligns with your business’ needs, your event strategy, and your overall objectives. Always ensure that they can provide you with what you need to make your event a success.
Configure the App
Now that you’ve chosen a vendor to create your event app, it’s time to configure it. Even if you aren’t creating it on your own with an EMS, you need to define your Event App’s settings.
First thing’s first, you’ll need to have a short URL for your event application. This will allow participants to easily access the online version of your Event App. Opt for one that’s easy to remember and communicate so that your participants can quickly access your Event App. With a short URL, participants who didn’t download the app beforehand can still participate in a live poll and other interactivities the day of your event. Therefore, no one gets left behind when it comes to engagement at your corporate event.
The next part is determining the access settings for your Event App. Will it be publicly accessible or do you want to keep it private and only accessible through a special link with a unique token for each participant? The latter ensures secured access and a unique authentication at all times. With private access settings, only people who are registered to your event and invited to access your Event App will be able to login.
If you’d like for your attendees to share their experience in real time on social media, your app needs to be public. You can use a hashtag dedicated to your event to track what’s happening online. It’s important to define and add the event hashtag when configuring your Event App in order to centralize all the posts on social media. We explain more about this in a later step.
Design the Event App
Now that you’ve configured your app settings, it’s time for a more exciting step in the Event App creation process, its design. This is where you can let your imagination run free, all while staying true to your event’s brand identity of course. We don’t want a unicorn party. 🦄
There are 4 essential assets when designing an Event App.
- The app icon. This icon serves two purposes: it’s the icon displayed on a mobile device after installation and the icon that appears alongside your event on both a native single and Multi-Event App. This asset is also required when publishing to the Google Play Store and App Store, which we explain below in greater detail. We recommend an image that’s 1024 x 1024 pixels in either .png (recommended) or .jpg format.
- The splash screen. This image appears right when an app is opened. The recommended image size is 2732 x 2732 pixels including a centered safety zone of 1024 x 1024 pixels. Why? The splash screen is often cropped to fit a device’s screen size and orientation (horizontal vs. vertical). With a safety zone, you’re sure that the important information in your splash screen is always front and center. You can use either .png or .jpg format.
Did you know?
The term “splash” originated in the comic book industry and has been around since 1940. They coined the term “Splash Page” to describe a full-page drawing often used as the first page of a story, which includes the title and credits. Today, it’s used to describe any screen that pops up at the beginning of a game while it’s loading, a website, or any other application.
- The event logo. Your event logo often appears at the top of the app. If you’re building a Multi-Event App, you can create a logo that represents all your company events in addition to an event’s very own logo. Some Eventdrive clients simply add a variation of “Events” to their corporate logo. To guarantee the best display, favor a logo that’s 88 pixels in height and 460 pixels in width on a transparent background, which is only possible in .png format. This way, if you have a colored header, your logo blends in nicely.
- The event main image. In a Multi-Event App, the event’s main image makes it easier to differentiate between all the events. In a single Event App, the main image is often shown on the home page. We recommend using an image that is 600 x 600 pixels in either .png or .jpg format.
If you’re using an EMS, you can see the Event App design in real time. This allows you to adapt your visuals, icon and link colors, etc. to have a harmonious aesthetic. In addition, previewing your app as you move along reduces issues later down the line.
Have you ever seen a pixelated image on a site or mobile app? This problem is often due to the image dimensions. Ultra-definition retina screens on computers and smartphones are ubiquitous. Doubling the number of pixels or dpi of an image (from 72 to 144) optimizes your image for retina displays.
Which image format should you choose? You should opt for the .png format for graphics and transparent files. The .jpg format is best suited for images containing photographs. When you use the right format your image size is optimized allowing your event website and app to load faster.
Once you’ve finished designing your app, it’s time to start uploading content. The first thing to do is structure your content. The app menu is used to guide participants to the different pages available and you can control this journey with the order of the Event App’s tabs. You can also program your settings to add shortcuts on your app’s main page to a specific tab or content.
Adding and structuring your app content is very easy with a platform like Eventdrive. All the content that you’ve uploaded to build your website (your participant list, documents and other information) can be used in your Event App, meaning you won’t have to upload the same content twice. To change the order, you simply have to drag and drop without having to contact your agency or developer. Moreover, when any content is changed, your event agenda for example, it’s automatically updated in your Event App, saving you time and ensuring that participants always have the latest information on hand. Of course, you can choose which content appears in your Event App, so not everything that you’ve published on your event website needs to be shown and vice-versa: you can add content to your Event App that isn’t available on your website.
The most common types of content found in an Event App are…
General Event Information
- The agenda. Participants can access your event’s agenda directly in your event app. You can also use a technology that allows them to view a personalized agenda to see only the sessions they are signed up for. The agenda serves as a guide to keep them and your event on track. A small delay can have a huge impact on the flow of your event. You can also attribute categories to easily identify common themes.
- Practical information. Add your event venue address, transportation methods and directions, the event dress code, and most importantly, Wi-Fi codes. A strong internet connection is essential especially for engagement activities. We don’t always have a full-bar connection. 📶
- Maps. Add your venue, hotel, and other locations. If there’s an evening cocktail in the city center be sure to add this to your integrated map. You should also add an interior floor plan with rooms clearly labeled to help with onsite wayfinding.
The Participant List
Networking is essential at a professional event and it starts with the participant list. You should always add the participant list to your Event App. The guest list is a great way to increase attendance. People bring people. If you’re using an all-in-one Event Tech provider, linking your attendee list to your Event App is simple and flawless just like with adding content. There’s no need to import this data again or create APIs to link with your separate event management tool.
FYI, some Event Tech providers offer both a solution to manage your events as well as Event Apps, but they sometimes use two different technologies. You’ll have to export your data from the EMS and import into the Event App builder. It’s an extra step, but when exporting and importing data, there is always a chance for error. Keep this in mind when choosing your event tech provider. This is why more and more Event Managers are moving to an all-in-one event management software.
Your attendee-engagement plan should have been decided during the overall event design process. If you decided to engage your audience, chances are that’s why you considered using an Event App in the first place. However, there’s more to it than just saying you’re going to use one as a means of engaging your participants. You need to know how to use it.
You could always use your speakers as a guide. Ask them how they would like to engage the audience during their session. Chances are they’ve done this before. Or, you can decide which options they’re going to have at their disposal. In any case, you should always discuss engagement with your speakers and moderators well in advance so that they know what’s available and how to use it. Integrating interactive services into your Event App saves you and your participants from having to juggle between several tools.
Here’s which activities you should add to your Event App.
- Surveys. Carefully constructed event surveys ARE a way to engage attendees. You’re providing your participants with a voice all the while collecting actionable data to improve your future events. You can have a pre and post event survey and also one per session.
- Live polls. These are a great way of allowing attendees to actively engage with you on the spot. You can poll the audience, create quizzes to test their knowledge and even gamify this using a point system, and use a dynamic wordcloud to have them sum up their day in one word, for example. Live polls turn passive guests into active ones.
- Photos. Selfies and group photos are always happening. Encourage participants to share their photos via your Event App. You can add their photos to your news feed and display them on a live social wall.
- Social media. If you added a hashtag to your app settings, you can collect all mentions of your event (before, during, and after) on social media into your Event App. As with photos, you can also display your event activity on your event’s social wall.
- Push notifications. Use push notifications to communicate with participants. It’s important to be able to send up-to-date information at any time. If you can program them in advance, even better. Ideally, you’d want to bring participants to a specific page of your app when they click on the notification.
- Messaging. Push notifications are a one-way communication street, but messages aren’t. If you integrate a messaging feature in your app, you’ll be able to send your participants messages that won’t disappear like notifications do and allow them to message each other. Go even further and ask for a feature that allows them to create group chats.
The great thing about engagement activities is that you can keep track of what’s happening and include this data when measuring your event performance. Ask your provider if you are able to download the photos uploaded to your app so that you can use them in your post-event communication, like a photo gallery on your event website.
Engagement via an Event App is perfect for in-person events. If your event is hybrid, we recommend using a technology that can also be used to interact with online participants. For instance, Eventdrive allows you to engage both audiences so you don't need to use two different tools.
Publish the Event App on the Web and App Stores
Congratulations, you’ve finished setting up your event app! It’s time to test it thoroughly before officially publishing it. Check every nook and cranny. Click on each tab, link, etc. See how images, documents or texts are displayed. Make sure to do all this on different devices, not all phones and tablets are created equal. 🍎🤖 Don't forget to also test the interactive services, polls, quizzes, etc., on both the mobile and web versions of your app to avoid any surprises the day of the event.
If you used an EMS to create your Event App, making and publishing changes is easy. If you’ve chosen another route, be sure to anticipate adequate time to test and relay all bugs to your provider. It would be a pity if your Event App weren’t ready in time.
Publishing A Web App
The web version of your Event App is the easiest to publish. You simply need to click publish rendering the URL that you configured at the beginning, in your EMS or via your provider, accessible. If you followed all the steps up until now, you’re ready to start engaging with your attendees.
Publishing on the Google Play Store and App Store
Unlike a Web App, a native event app needs to be published on the app stores in order for your participants to download it. You’ll need to publish to both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. To publish on the app stores, you’ll need to have a developer account for both Apple and Google. Your provider cannot publish on your behalf.
Here’s what you’ll need to have when publishing your native event app.
- The official app name.
- The app name for mobile devices. This is the name that’ll be found under your app’s icon. The shorter, the better.
- A short app description. It’s a short text that basically explains what your app is. If your company has multiple apps, a clear description can make all the difference when you don’t know which app to choose. This description is found next to your app when searching for it.
- A detailed app description. Once a user has clicked on your app, a detailed description provides your participants with more information. Some Event Managers use the same description. We’ll leave this up to you.
- App screenshots. These images provide your attendees a glimpse of the inside of your app. Screenshots are required and sometimes multiple sizes must be submitted before your app can be reviewed, especially for the Apple App Store.
- The app category. You’ll need to tell the app stores how to categorize your app. We recommend using the category “Event”.
- Keywords. Carefully chosen keywords make finding your app easy.
- The app language. You’ll have to let the app store know which languages your Event App is available in. FYI, with Eventdrive, you can create multilingual events and thus multilingual Event Apps.
- A list of countries. App stores are based on location and not all apps are available worldwide. You can publish your app in a specific country’s app store, but we recommend allowing your Event App to be accessed regardless of location. If one of your attendees has a Google or Apple account outside of your country, downloading your event app won’t be possible.
Publishing an Event App can be stressful, but if you follow these steps, you can do it worry free. No computer science degree required. You can always look into the details of the publication process for the Google Play Store and App Store if need be.
Our last piece of advice is to keep in mind that last-minute changes are inevitable in the event world. The first step of choosing your provider is of the utmost importance. An Event Tech provider that specializes in Event Apps is definitely the way to go because ain’t nobody got time for waiting for their Event App to be updated.
You now know all the steps to creating an Event App for your corporate event, from choosing a provider to publishing it on the app stores.
Opt for the flexibility of updating your content in your Event App