From good to great: 10 essentials for any event app (part one)

Elevate your event or festival with an app that fosters an engaging and unique mobile experience.

So you’ve decided your event needs a mobile app. Fantastic! The good news is, new tools like make it easier than ever to create your very own customized event app without spending a fortune or needing a whole technical team to back you up. But beware, building the app is only the first, easy step. Next, you have to create a unique mobile experience that not only serves a practical function, but elevates the festival experience for every single person using the app In this first of a two-part series, we’ll unveil our secret sauce to creating that experience; we’re dishing out what our over 200 customers have taught us about building a truly great festival app, so yours can be incredible too.

#1 – Information

Though event apps can certainly be playful and creative, they do have to serve a few basic functions and help your festival-goers take full advantage of everything your event has to offer. Here are a few of the practical basics, all of which come pre-integrated and ready to go with any app template: schedules, venue maps, ticket prices and basic artist information. You want to make sure your app is the go-to place for any questions your guests might have before, during and after your event. And more importantly, you want them to find the information quickly and intuitively, which brings us to our next priority…

Make sure your users can quickly reach the basic information they need

#2 – Accessibility

Lowering your app’s barrier to entry is key to widening your audience and reaching a larger portion of your festival-goers. All of the information in the world will do you no good if it’s difficult to find and navigate. Recent studies have shown that between 80 to 90% of all downloaded apps are only used once before being deleted.

Moreover, while 79% of users will give an app a second chance if they don’t enjoy their first experience, only 16% are willing to give an app a third go – so your users need to find what they’re looking for quickly, and with little to no effort.

- Joshua Pramis, Digital Trends

So keep it simple and straight-forward, do your research, carefully consider why most of your users will be turning to your app and give them those functions within one or two clicks – you can wow and delight them with fun additional features later.

#3 – Engagement

Once you have your festival-goers in the app, the trick is to keep them there. So they’ve navigated all of the necessary information, they’ve checked out their favourite bands – why stick around? Give them a reason to keep your app open, to keep re-engaging with everything it has to offer. At the 2013 edition of Montreal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, our team collaborated with artist Daniel Iregui to create a beautifully interactive art piece that allowed app users to control the volume and tone of music being played in sync with a public art piece located at the center of Montreal’s city core. Beyond providing information about the festival’s line-up and cinematic background, we gave users a reason to stay in the app and experiment with their own ability to impact and shape live art. That, in no uncertain terms, is engagement; engaging people in crafting the event, in becoming deeply involved with the content you’re offering and in leveraging your technology to elevate and define their unique festival app experience.

Festival du nouveau cinéma de Montréal – Installation WATERFALLS / created by Iregular from Greencopper on Vimeo.

#4 – Intuitive User Experience

It’s been shown that the first 7 seconds a user spends on your website – let alone your app – is crucial to their way of defining and interacting with your entire brand. Festival-goers need to quickly understand your app’s architecture, purpose and call-to-action; or they’ll simply get annoyed and drop it – we all have. The most crucial elements of your app should be only a few clicks away, and all of the additional added value features need to fall in line with your strategic initial logic. If you’re looking to introduce Music Discovery, for example, it’s only logical to integrate it with the calendar and artist profile sections of the app. If you want to provide venue information and details; be sure to make it part of the event calendar. And if you want pricing and ticket purchase instructions to be simple and quick within your app, you’ll want to make sure new users can navigate from that newly adored “recommended artist” to ticketing information in no time. Think about how your users will be practically leveraging your technology, understand the architecture they’ll expect and cater to it. Having an intuitive, comfortable app is central to boosting your engagement levels and harnessing user interest and loyalty.

#5 – Added value

Basic information is just that – basic. Think: is there any additional information you can provide to help people understand the context and background of what they’re witnessing? Recently, we tested out a new concept called Logbook at the latest edition of the Reeperbahn Festival. Having been to countless industry events and festivals ourselves, we wanted to find new ways to help people remember and collect information from every event, conference and concert they attended, hence the Logbook functionality.

At its core, Logbook used beacon technology to build a personalized and automated timeline of every event and concert you’d attended; then giving you a full retrospective of your festival experience to date. To top it all off, Logbook allowed festival organizers and coordinators to immediately upload valuable content directly to the platform and timelines as the days progressed. Quickly, full biographies, live videos and edited clips from every event were added to every user’s personalized timeline. So if you found yourself at your 28th event of the day wondering what the heck that second event had been about – you were set: head into the app and you’ll see a full resume of the talk alongside clips of key parts of the whole event. Beyond basic information, your app should provide valuable bonus information; now all you have to do is strategically decide where that content and information lies!

Our Logbook functionality provided a detailed timeline of every event you’d attended

We’ll be revealing a few more of the tricks up our sleeve in the next blog post, so be sure to stay tuned! You can also add your name to our exclusive newsletter list if you’d like to be kept in the loop about all things mobile, Greencopper and!