If you’re new to event apps, the design and development process can contain a lot of unknowns. One of the first steps is to get a general idea of the timeline involved, which can vary depending on the event and the app provider. Before you choose a provider, you should know what to expect from the mobile event app design process, and what’s required of you. We put together a timeline, assuming a straightforward event app, to help you make an informed decision.
6 months prior to event: Initial contact
We recommend that you start talking to a mobile event app provider 6 months in advance of your event. This will ensure that you have enough time to sort out schedules and availability for the discovery stage.
10-12 weeks until event: Discovery phase
Schedule a initial kick off call around 2-3 months prior to the event to begin the discovery process. You’ll want to discuss event goals, details, features, onsite support, name badges, equipment needs, etc. to make sure everyone is on the same page.
8-10 weeks until event: Basic design begins
Within the next two weeks, our clients provide graphics and images to be used on the app homepage and attendee badges. We then develop mock ups of the homepage, side navigation and badges for your review.
Once approved, pages and badges are coded into the app. At this stage, we also work on any app integrations with other providers, such as registration, etc.
6-8 weeks until event: Add content
Two weeks after the initial kickoff call, our clients begin to provide content for the app. Clients usually do not send content until it is about 90% finalized. This includes content related to the venue, travel, wifi and all other helpful info to be listed in the “General Information” section of the app. Other content and information includes:
♦ Floor plans
♦ Speaker information
♦ Attendee data (if not integrating with third party registration)
♦ Sponsor/exhibitor information
♦ Push Notifications
MeetingPlay handles this stage a bit differently: we input all of our client’s content and information. We provide simple templates as a means of getting the information to our team, and we take it from there. We also handle all information syncing — like speakers to sessions, locations to sessions etc. — and we can make small tweaks if content changes. There’s never a time that the client has to manually enter anything or re-update a spreadsheet, but we do give clients admin access to make manual changes if they prefer.
4-6 weeks until event: Training and QA
We typically begin admin training a few weeks before the event, to ensure that our clients understand how to use all of the tools at their disposal. QA begins as well, with both client and provider thoroughly testing the app. We also create an example app download email to go out to all attendees at time of launch.
The app download email can be sent from within the app admin or sent directly from the client. Some clients prefer to send app download instructions along with another marketing email, which is totally up to you. But one advantage of sending the email from the admin is that our designers can style it to reflect the app’s theme. Sending from the admin also ensures that everyone in the system receives the email at the email address used to register. We can also designate the sender address through the admin to make sure attendees recognize the email.
1-3 weeks until event: Final details and launch
Any content edits are made, and the content is finalized. When QA concludes and any issues are resolved, the app is ready for launch! App launch typically occurs one week prior to the event.
Keep in mind that many providers take a hands-off, DIY approach, handing off a template and a support number to dial. Our process of how to design an event app is different at MeetingPlay — we work much more closely with our clients, especially during the content input and design stages. We’ve found that a dedicated account manager can speed up the process and make for a much smoother experience for everyone involved. If you have any questions about event apps or the design process, contact us — we’d love to discuss!