Rant About Conference Websites

Approximate Reading Time: 2 minutes

I seem to be on a bit of a Rant-kick today.

Perhaps it is partly because I am now finished my dissertation and have successfully defended it. I don’t feel the same need to placate.

Many of the conferences I follow have not only a substantial web presence, but they now also support online submission, review, and registration to a greater or lesser extent. Some work very well and others are very amateurish.

I have a few suggestions:

  1. Keep your site updated.
  2. Provide student rates.
  3. If you give a date for when something will be available, MAKE SURE YOU DON’T LIE. Not only is it frustrating, but it gives the impression you don’t really know what you’re doing.
  4. Don’t make me click through half a dozen pages to get at what I want.
  5. Let me back out of and review any forms I am asked to fill in.
  6. Give me the ability to edit my personal information.
  7. Don’t say you have online registration and then tell me to print off and mail in a form. That’s just goofy.
  8. Don’t ask me to sign up for something (workshop, special session, etc.) without giving me an abstract and telling me who is doing it. There are people I will pay to listen to and others I won’t. Let me decide. If you don’t think you can draw participants if you reveal the speaker’s name, you’ve got the wrong speaker.
  9. The conference dinner is an important social event in a conference – make it good, and don’t charge us an arm and a leg to attend. Ideally, it will be included in the conference fee.
  10. Make presenters feel special.
  11. If you say something like, “The paper submission system is online.” then for heaven’s sake, make it a an active link so I can actually get to the paper submission without having to hunt around for it. In one example, the link for online submission was at the bottom of a page called, “author guidelines”. Webpage real estate is not expensive – how much more does it cost to provide multiple links to things and anchors within pages?
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Rant About Conference Websites — No Comments

  1. Sorry if I came across as “one of those”, at some point. Arrogance is probably my most common (and damning) trait.

    I find it funny that most of what you are listing, is something I’ve come to want from educational institutions in general. They’re good ideas, and they merit broader investigation.

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