shdlr at foss.in

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.

  • murugprabumthu December 3, 2012 at 8:30 am

    While I was attending the conference, I was using this app(from mobile) for only one purpose. To see which talk is currently going on each hall. So, I had to see the current time and see which talks are schedule for that time. If the current talks that are taking place are available in the mobile version, it would be fantastic. Thanks for building this app 🙂

    @murugaprabum

    Reply
    • Team Shdlr December 3, 2012 at 9:11 am

      Thanks, Yes the mobile app will have the “Currently on” section right at the top

      Reply
      • sankarshan December 3, 2012 at 9:50 am

        Thanks for taking time to think over a conference scheduling tool and app. This is much needed.

        I haven’t tried the mobile app. So, this question may already be answered. An aspect I’d want is to be able to create a personal schedule (ie. sessions which I’d like to attend) from the complete conference schedule and then receive reminders for these. The personal schedule should allow conflicting talks and over-lapping ones (because I’d like to keep a note of which ones of the one I wanted to go to is running or, make a choice).

        It is nice to see well thought out apps and frameworks being put into place around conferences. At this year’s NH7 the Festivapp was neat and very useful. Primarily because of the amount of sensible information it collated and put up.

        Reply
        • Tarique Sani December 3, 2012 at 11:49 am

          Thanks Sankarshan for taking time to comment. Yes, personal schedules with overlapping and conflicting talks are coming soon. We assume that our users are smart and we don’t need to think the common-sensical things for them 🙂 There hopefully will also be a *very* open API soon, so that people can build upon what we are doing

          Reply

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