At shdlr.com we strive to listen to our users and implement what they want in an online conference schedule maker or creator.
The feature which was most often asked was drag and drop re-scheduling of talks – this has been implemented and should be available for all the conferences.
Other features which were implemented in this release were:
- Ability to add a URL for custom CSS in the embedded schedules. This will help webmasters to match the colors, typography and any other style to their own website.
- Ability to hide empty rows in a schedule. Many conferences have registrations and welcome a day prior to the full day programs. This resulted in a mostly empty screen for the first day. To remedy this there is now an Option in the new Publish Settings to hide empty rows in the schedule.
- We have also added options to show the simple grid on your front page apart from being just able to embedding it.
- The new publish menu also allows you to decide what schedule formats you want to show or hide and then some more.
Do try out and holler if you find something missing!
I had wanted foss.in to be the first conference to be scheduled and completed on shdlr. The primary reason being that shdlr was born out of the pain we have experienced over the years in trying to have a system which allows flexible scheduling for conference and events. When you put out a service which you know is going to be useful to a lot of people you cannot make such assumptions. TIM 2012 conference thus became not just the first but also with 84 scheduled items larger than the foss.in schedule.
That said foss.in was still special because not only was I there taking notes and feedback, unknown to many Rakesh Temburne, our developer also was attending the conference as a delegate. The major end user pain points which became apparent were
- The speaker name should be shown right away with the talk: We implemented the simple grid embedded view almost immediately to address this
- Speakers need to have profiles: Currently this is being handled by linking to speaker’s website. This clearly is not enough, we are developing a feature which will not only allow speaker profiles but also multiple speakers per talk
- Usability of the mobile version is good but not excellent: The mobile version will be completely rehauled
- Availability of a printable version: This feature has already been coded and soon users will be able to download PDFs and PNGs of the schedule if the conference owner allows it
For the admins the most asked for features were
- Drag and drop rescheduling: Currently there is a click and drag interface but to reschedule a talk you have to go through a two step process, this will be eliminated by the ability to drag and drop a scheduled talk to an empty slot –
Being coded; coming soon!DONE!
- Adjust schedule for delay in start: Tardy starts to events are not just an Indian phenomenon, Admins will be given a slider control to adjust timings for delayed start. We are not really sure as to how we will handle the time made up later in the day as yet…
Apart from outright requested features there were some insights which were gathered. Everyone wanted to know the commercial status of the project. It would be great to keep shdlr free for everyone and forever, sadly reality dictates otherwise. Shdlr will continue to be free at least till 19th September 2013. The pricing page will be live very soon. Instead of just 2 tiers Free and Paid it became apparent that there is a market for additional classes of users viz: Event Managers/Agencies and Enterprises asking for White-labeling, yes at some point they will be catered to….
A live event wall which displays the currently on going talks and upcoming talks along with tweets is being considered. A deep integration with the ticket vendor sites to allow the registered delegates to choose talks and create their own list of talks they would like to attend will definitely be there. The selected list of talks will also be available as a personal iCal file. This will not only be useful to delegates but also to the organizers in helping them decide which hall/room to put the talks in. There were several occasions when it was said “lets switch the halls….”
There was a lot of appreciation too but we are not getting carried away by that. There were some persistent talks about partnerships and some about getting shdlr funded – thanks but at this stage “No Thanks!”
If you were there at foss.in and have some suggestions – do comment, it would be very much appreciated.