Last month, I wrote a post about software tools for conference-goers in which I asked for reader input: “If you were designing a mobile app specifically for attending academic conferences, what features would that mobile app have?”
Now, we have published a number of posts regarding apps that already exist and are helpful when attending conferences, including these:
- “Using TripIt to Organize Travel“
- “The Redesigned Evernote iPhone App“
- “Using Personal Assistant to Organize Your Life“
- “Got Milk? Using Remember the Milk for Task Management“
- “Encouraging a Conference Backchannel on Twitter” (See also “Academics and Social Media“
What I’m interested in, however, is a flexible app designed specifically for those who travel to academic conferences. Not an app created for a particular conference, mind you, but rather one that could be used for almost any conference.
As I wrote in my post seeking reader input, such an app might incorporate features that help with some combination of these conference-related tasks:
- Traveling to and from the conference location,
- Taking notes and/or Tweeting during conference sessions,
- Preparing and delivering our conference talks,
- Creating and following a schedule based on the official conference program,
- Receiving official updates regarding the conference,
- Finding a good (and healthy!) place to eat,
- Fitting exercise into your schedule,
- Finding exercise partners for running,
- Identifying fellow conference-goers who share your academic interests…
In the comments to the original post, readers offered several opinions and suggestions:
@kfitz asked whether or not a dedicated app was even necessary. Why not just make the conference Web site mobile-friendly?
swerner responded by saying that while mobile-friendly conference sites would be very helpful, a mobile app could allow one to create a customized schedule, to take notes on presentations within that customized schedule, and then to export those notes to a format that could be re-used as a spreadsheet or word processing document. As @kfitz pointed out, some conference sites already facilitate some of these functions.
@sselisker expressed a desire for an app that would easily browse conference schedules, paper abstracts, and participant bios, and that would be integrated into the Twitter discussions for the conference.
Cherisse Gardner pointed us towards an app called Lanyrd, which facilitates crowdsourced information collection about conferences. (Read more at “Lanyrd Keeps Your Conference Life On Track, Via Twitter.”)
@swerner brainstormed several features: presenters able to share materials with audience members via the app, either in real-time or ahead of time; finding other people as dinner companions or who will keep track of concurrent sessions; keeping up with special events or offers associated with the conference; staying on top of the book exhibit, including knowing which presses are there and what discounts are being offered.
@pstisser drew our attention to Moblmedia and the Expo App.
Ian Gadd mentioned a commercial system by the name of conferenceM.
Greg Wilson wants “an electronic conference program that is searchable from my phone, and that I can tag with meta-data.”
@deanterry suggests geofencing, a feature by which “organizers and/or participants” can “select an area on a map, and when triggered, certain events happen and objects are generated and shared.”
And finally, @kfoxt11 describes several desirable functions: taking notes, Tweeting, creating and giving presentations, customizing one’s schedule and adding it to a calendar, being notified of conference updates and announcements, connecting with others who share similar interests.
How about you? If you were designing a mobile app specifically for attending academic conferences, what features would that mobile app have? Let us hear from you in the comments!