For Prairie Dev Con Regina I decided to use Guidebook – a service that provides a mobile application for conferences and events along with online administration/content-management tools. If you're running any sort of conference/event, you should definitely check it out! Overall I was really happy with it, only a few minor gripes. Here's my review.
The way Guidebook works is that you create your "Guidebook" on their website. Then your attendees download the Guidebook app and access your specific guidebook. There's different pricing tiers which grants different features, but for the free tier (which is capped at 200 downloads comes with almost all the key features. For PrDC Regina I used the following:
General Info – Info about the event, contact information etc.
Schedule – Mobile version of the schedule, complete with session description and the ability to "add to favorites"
My Schedule – Allows you to see all your favourited sessions by day and time! Worked really well.
Maps – You upload your own map images for the venue, its displayed here. Multiple maps are allowed.
ToDo – Just a place for attendees to add notes.
Twitter – A twitter feed based on whatever accounts you pre-configure.
Inbox – This allows you to message attendees with updates, although I don't think you can get push messages unless you do a higher tier of service.
Custom List – You can add custom lists of information. I'll talk about what I used this for later.
For most events, this is more than sufficient – it worked great and it was free! Feedback on the app from attendees was very positive as well. Critique wise, there's only a few things I'd mention.
If you want to see multiple maps, you have to press on the navigation arrows at the top. Some people didn't realize that, because their default was to try and swipe left or right from the map image to get to the next one.
It would have been great to have a Speakers section as well, and integrate the speaker information with the schedule data – so attendees could see the abstract for a session as well as the speaker details.
Feedback and Surveys
Remember that custom list I mentioned about? So you don't get feedback and surveys unless you go for a higher tier of service. What I did was put a link to the Survey Monkey survey for session feedback in a custom list and made it available. Now, I don't want to necessarily suggest that this needs to be available in the free edition because I get it – Guidebook is a business and they incentivize people to get more features by paying. But this leads me to my final point…
The tiers seem a little…off. You get a lot of features for free up to 200 attendees. My events usually cap out at 150 so I'm good. I'd love to offer the surveys and feedback feature in the app directly, but I can't justify the $1750 price tag just for that feature. It would be awesome if they had an a-la-carte type of scheme, where for x dollars I could get different features, or have another tier for smaller events that provide some of the other features but for a cost (just capped at 200 downloads).
I love what Guidebook is doing and I applaud them for providing such an awesome service at a free tier that so many community-based events can take advantage of! Very happy with the experience and I'll be looking to use them again at next year's PrDC!