Event apps are no longer just a good addition to the overall atmosphere at a conference or another large-scale event. If you organize an event that will accommodate hundreds of participants, they will expect you to use an event app, as well as partners and sponsors will - and they will be frustrated if their expectations are not met.
This means one thing - the demand for such apps will keep increasing, and you can hop onto this train before the market gets flooded with all kinds of apps and all niches get occupied. That said, you need to find your niche before diving right into the mobile event app development - and this is where your brainstorming abilities will come in handy.
Just think about one particular feature that will make your app unlike others - and we'll help you with the rest. In this article, we'll cover what features event apps may have and the peculiarities of the event app development process. Enjoy!
Event Apps' Features
Let's start with figuring out what an event app is, in its essence. Usually, it is a mobile app that allows organizers to provide information and other opportunities to the event's attendees. The main goal is to enhance their overall experience.
However, it may be hard to pinpoint what those other opportunities can be because this type of apps is still evolving. Many event apps offer networking functionality (in-app messaging, participants' profiles, etc.), to-do lists and personal scheduling, surveys and polls, gathering feedback, etc. - the range of features depends on the main focus of the app.
To help you come up with this unique selling point of your app, we have looked through the most popular event apps out there. Based on our event app comparison, we have come up with the list of the features you can include in your event app.
You need to include a content management system to allow users to post notifications, posts for the news feed, create and edit other content. CMS is, basically, the admin dashboard for the event's organizers.
To make sure it doesn't get lost, the event schedule should be easy-to-find in its own tab/section. Besides, it should be easy to navigate and organizers should be able to add additional information about the sessions, like the speakers, brief descriptions, etc. Your app should also allow joining sessions into tracks and/or categories.
Bonus points if you add the user schedule and bookmarks/favorites features to allow attendees to choose the sessions and keep this information in one place.
Map of the Event
When you have a large-scale event, the "large-scale" part is usually applicable not only to the number of participants but to the venue as well. During the event planning app development, you can integrate your app with Google Maps or any other map API and allow uploading the blueprints of the venue in image format.
Customizing the Design
Organizers want the app to reflect their brand, and a lot of that is about its design. Allow them to customize the mobile themes (you can offer several pre-made templates and allow customizing their color) and upload event-specific graphics.
There are two dimensions to this feature. First of all, this is how organizers can facilitate networking and make it easier. It allows attendees to create public profiles with contact details, information about themselves like occupation and interests, their role during the event (attendee/speaker/organizer/etc.) and so on. These profiles are visible to other attendees - so, they can always find that person and contact him/her during or after the event.
On the other hand, some user-specific information should be kept private - for instance, their notes (if you add the notepad feature), bookmarks, chosen event sessions, etc. Besides, you need to allow attendees to customize the app's settings to make sure they have an excellent user experience.
Polls and Surveys
Getting feedback in real time and afterward from attendees is one of the primary aims of using an event app. So, your conference event app development should include features like polls, questionnaires, and surveys, both for general feedback on the event and session-specific evaluation.
Besides, they can be used during the sessions to find out the audience's opinions and views on the topic, for instance. These questionnaires should be able to accommodate at least multiple choice questions.
Analytics and Reports
Help organizers become better based on the attendees’ feedback. You can add the reports feature that would visualize the data from surveys and polls. Besides, it is always a good idea to track user behavior - so, you (and the organizers) can know how many, how often and how users use the app.
How to Build an Event App
So, have you chosen the features your event app should definitely have? Have you determined what will make your app outstanding? We hope the answer is positive. Now, it's time to dive into the peculiarities of event app development.
Event app development, just like any other mobile app development, can be divided into three main stages. Let's take a closer look at what should be done during each of them.
Preparation & Planning
Obviously, the app development can't get started right after your first meeting with the event app development company. There is some (actually, quite a lot of) preparation you need to do on your own and/or together with the development partner:
- determine your business objectives and needs;
- define your target audience, its demographics, and psychometrics;
- pinpoint how you want your brand to be perceived (e.g., innovative and trendy or stable and reliable);
- determine the must-have set of features and the nice-to-have functionality;
- create the product roadmap;
- identify and analyze your competitors, their functionality, target audience, positioning, drawbacks, etc.;
- define what OS you want your app to work on;
- find the development partner (this topic deserves a separate article);
- choose the technology stack (better to leave this to professionals if you are not tech-savvy);
- prepare the development plan and all the documentation.
Design & Development
After all the preparation is done, it is time to start creating the app itself. This is the stage that people usually imagine when they hear the words "app development".
As a rule, your development partner creates the prototype for the app's design and, once it's approved, proceeds with front-end (user-side) and back-end (server-side) development. Another crucial component of this stage is testing conducted at every step, from unit to functionality tests.
- Here's a quick checklist of the things you should keep track of during this stage:
- development methodology (make sure to check whether your development partner has experience working according to it);
- user interface and user experience design;
- continuous testing;
- security risks evaluation;
- performance evaluation;
- data collection and responsiveness to it (basically, you should determine how data-driven you want your app to be beforehand).
Deployment & Maintenance
Before the deployment, the app should be tested in a variety of ways. Its performance, security, and usability are the key things you need to check. You can use automated or manual testing, but we recommend using both depending on the type of test itself.
Once you are sure every bug and error has been revealed and fixed, your app can be published on Google Play Store and/or App Store. However, we can guarantee that some bugs will be revealed post-deployment by real end users - it is natural, and there is nothing to be afraid of. All you need to do is make sure you have someone to support your app, fix such bugs, and, of course, update your app regularly according to the latest technologies.
How Long Does It Take to Make an App?
This is often the first question our potential clients ask us. There is only one question that may be more frequent than that - how much the development will cost. We wish we could answer these questions precisely right here and right now and be confident we gave you the correct answer.
Yet, it just doesn't work this way - there are too many variables the development company has to consider before answering these questions. There is one thing you can be certain about - the development cost heavily depends on the number of working hours required to make your idea a reality and the hourly rates of developers.
The hourly rates vary geographically - developers from Asia and Eastern Europe take $35-50 per hour on average while those based in the US and Western Europe ask for $150-200 per hour. As for the duration of the development, this depends on the range of features you want to include in your app and what OS you want it to work on.
If you want to launch the app on both Android and iOS, you have to choose between native development (basically, developers create two separate apps from scratch), hybrid (combining shared code basis with OS-specific code), progressive web app (websites that look and feel like apps) and cross-platform development.
If we suppose you opt for native app development, here's our estimation of how much time each development stage can take (and how much it would cost you):
- documentation - 40 hours on average (from $1,600 at $40 hourly rate to $6,000 at $150 hourly rate);
- user interface and user experience design - 60 hours on average (from $2,400 at $40 hourly rate to $9,000 at $150 hourly rate);
- front-end and back-end development - 400 hours on average (from $16,000 at $40 hourly rate to $60,000 at $150 hourly rate);
- quality assurance and testing - 80 hours on average (from $3,200 at $40 hourly rate to $12,000 at $150 hourly rate).
Therefore, a native event app for one OS may cost you anywhere from $23,200 to $87,000 on average depending on the developers' hourly rates.
However, keep in mind that getting an app to work requires more than a one-time payment. You need to update it and support it, which requires regular investments. Besides, you should consider marketing costs.
All in all, the event app market is relatively young, so find your niche and conquer while the competition is not that cutthroat. Surely, event app development is not a piece of cake - you need to dedicate enough time for preparing for it and make sure you keep your hand on the pulse of the development.
Are you ready to conquer your niche? Reach to us with your idea, and we'll make it a reality!