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:
- Keep your site updated.
- Provide student rates.
- 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.
- Don’t make me click through half a dozen pages to get at what I want.
- Let me back out of and review any forms I am asked to fill in.
- Give me the ability to edit my personal information.
- Don’t say you have online registration and then tell me to print off and mail in a form. That’s just goofy.
- 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.
- 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.
- Make presenters feel special.
- 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?