Is Your Abstract Collection System Speaker-Friendly?
Do you make your presenters pull their hair out for you?
When you put out a call for presentations or abstracts for your annual meeting, chances are you’re tapping into busy professionals in your industry who have discovered something that their peers would love to know. But these busy professionals who want to apply to speak at your conference are just that – busy professionals! They want to be able to push a few buttons to submit their proposal. If your system to accept abstracts is confusing, your presenter pool is either going to get frustrated and quit or call you to ask a million questions.
That’s why we’re so surprised when we see abstract collection systems that are confusing, complicated and just plain clumsy. When your system doesn’t work for your authors and submitters, you create more work for yourself because you have to deal with unnecessary questions about the process as well as unneeded headaches from inaccurate or incomplete submissions. The same problem happens for reviewers and site administrators who can’t figure an online content collection system out. By not focusing on the user experiences for each person in your call for presentations/abstracts process, you’re adding to your own workload.
Is Your Online Collection System What It Should Be?
Here are three questions you should ask to determine if your online collection system is user-friendly enough for your speakers, presenters, authors, reviewers and other users:
- Could your mom submit a proposal in your online collection system?
There’s a little bit of a stereotype there that an older computer user might be less computer-savvy than a younger one, but it’s a good question to ask anyway. Would a non-techy person be able to easily follow the directions to submit or review a presentation online without having to call you for a walk through?
- Do your submitters regularly skip any fields or sections?
If half of the presentation proposals are missing the information you’re trying to collect about AV needs for the sessions, chances are your users are unclear about what information you need and when. Your online collection system should carefully walk the speakers and reviewers through every step they need to complete.
- Does the look and feel of the site represent your organization’s professionalism?
Your abstract collection system or call for presentations site is a representation of your organization, and the overall user experience visitors take away from the page will reflect on you. Does your submission page have clumsy buttons, fuzzy text or inconsistent graphic elements? Do your members and speakers consider this a system that’s commensurate with your brand, or does it seem like you’re taking a step backwards?
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Nine Considerations for Choosing an Abstract Management System
Chock full of key questions and considerations you should be thinking about when evaluating your call for papers, review and collection system.