How to Make a Conference App for your Event?

Events and conferences market is growing well: only in a year market's size increased by 1 billion USD: from 29.3 billion to 30.3 billion U.S. dollars (according to Statista). Just in the US, the events industry has spent around $325 billion and gained around $845 billion in business sales (Oxford Economics and Events Industry Council, 2018). Isn't it interesting?

Conference Mobile App: Trends

Let's think how mobile app can help to save time and money for both organizers and attendees:

  • showing an up-to-date schedule and speakers list;
  • sending announcements about changes and updates to all the users;
  • interactive description of each event. Not just a text, but with a video preview, links to speaker social profiles, chat, and more;
  • booking tickets right from the app with a couple of taps;
  • helping find a venue, nearest place for a snack;
  • always available customer support;
  • and much, much more!

Isn’t it great? Most of the conferences already have the application which helps their users to save time, feel more connected, helps with networking and helps not to feel lost.

So, what does it take to make a native iOS app for iPhones and iPads, or an Android application, how much time development will take, and most important, how much event app development costs?

First, let’s think about the main sections of the mobile app for conferences that you might need. 90% of the app have next:

  • Registration and Login (optional)
  • Event schedule
  • Speakers List
  • Details about each particular program: Speaker name, main topic, and so on
  • Notifications. Usually, it is an excellent way to post some announcements, schedule changes, and so on
  • Map: helps attendees to get to your venue, and reminds them where each program will be
  • Tickets Booking. These days it is not nice to redirect people to some weird places to buy tickets
  • Customer Service. People usually have many questions, and we need to help them!
  • Social features: conferences and events are all about networking, so we need to help people connect with each other
  • Admin panel, to see the list of users, manage speakers and their programmes, post updates, and more.

Let’s talk about each section in detail, and figure out how to make an event app. Why we need it, how to develop it, and how much time (and money) it will need.


in case you are not interested in event and conference apps, just get in touch to get an estimation for your application. Or you can browse our interactive estimations as well.


Table of contents
  1. Login and Registration
  2. Event Schedule
  3. Speakers List
  4. Program Details
  5. Notifications
  6. Map
  7. Tickets Booking
  8. Customer Service
  9. Social Features
  10. Admin Panel
  11. Technologies
  12. Conclusion

Conference Mobile App: Trends

Login and Registration

It is a good idea to let people create an account. First, it will allow them to save time, for example when booking tickets. We could save all their personal info so they won't have to fill it in each time they book a new ticket.

Besides, you will have more info about your customers, which is beneficial for startups. The more you know about your audience, the better results you will have with targeting: theme can be slightly updated for your audience tastes, speakers will be able to adjust their program accordingly, and even sponsors will be happier. Win-win, no?

Technically, registration is simple. We gather all the info filled by user in the registration form, and we send it to the back-end server. The server will process all the info and will save it into the database. The only customizable part here is a user interface (the design), a number of questions you would like to ask your user (name, address, maybe payment methods, and so on), and possible social integrations (login with Facebook or Google account, for example).

Average registration and login process can take around three days. Depending on an hourly rate and developer experience, prices can differ. Let's just take a $35 hourly rate as an average for this article, so it will be easier to make an estimation. So, three days, 24 working hours, or $840 for a complete registration and login package.

These three days will allow event app developers to make a stunning user interface where new users will be able to create accounts and provide all the data we need, and existing users to log in with their email and password. We will also take care of the logic that sends all the data to the server, processes it, and saves to the database. And, of course, testing. We don't want users to sign up with fake or incorrect email addresses. We don't want users to have duplicated accounts. We don't want them to be able to login into other accounts, and so on.

Conference Mobile App: Trends

Event Schedule

This is a most obvious section of the application. We need to let people know when and where each event will take place. It is extremely important for conferences where different events will happen at the same time, in various venues.

There are two ways to implement it. First one is a cheaper way: static calendar (around 12-16 hours of work, or about $500). The second one is a more sophisticated, but more expensive: dynamic calendar which will synchronize events schedule with your admin panel (24-32 hours of work, around $1,000)

For a user, there will be no difference on first sight. He will see the same events on the same screen. However, if something went wrong, and you had to change the schedule - we will have to upload a new app to the App Store and Play Store if we go with static.

If we choose a dynamic calendar, whenever a user opens the app, we will pull all the new data from the server and will show the freshest data available.

Another nice touch to your event mobile planning app is to allow the user to add each event to his own calendar, where can then invite others, add notifications and reminders, and more. Additional 3-4 hours of work, and additional WOW-moment for a user.

Conference Mobile App: Trends

Speakers List

In addition to Schedule, it is a good idea to add a list of speakers. It will allow your customers to learn more about each speaker, their experience, social media profiles, meeting details, and more. You can list all his programs at your conference as well, so attendees will be able to find their speeches easier.

Technically, this part does not have anything difficult. Just a list of speakers, and their details. As with the Schedule, we can make it static (8-12 hours, or $350) or dynamic (18-26 hours, or $840). Static is a good choice if you are sure that there will be no changes in the app. Otherwise, we would have to upload a new version to the App Store and Play Store to make list updates. With dynamic, the user will always have up-to-date information about your conference speakers.

Conference Mobile App: Trends

Program Details

Of course, a schedule is a very important part of the app, but users won't understand much about each speech without a good description. Usually, program details are a beautiful and colorful screen, which primary goal is to attract people to attend each event. So we should add pretty images, videos, interesting descriptions, and so on.

I think you can guess already, that this part also can be static (8-12 hours, depending on a user interface design, number of elements, and so on), or dynamic (can be updated from admin panel. Might take around 18-26 hours, and would cost ~$840).

It can also be beneficial to add a program finder, which will help users to find an interesting program for him by a keyword. It will need an additional couple of days, but it will save much time for your users.

Conference Mobile App: Trends

Notifications

Sometimes we need to notify users about something. Changed schedule, announcements, news, and much more. There are no events that don't need notifications. It helps to stay in a user's sight and keep them involved.

This part will need a lot of development on the back-end and in the admin panel. Technically, the only thing that mobile app will need to do is fetch and show all the latest notifications. Moreover, the admin panel should provide an interface for making a new announcement, saving it, and sending it to all the phones with your event management app.

On average, this section can take around 30 hours. With an average $35 hourly rate, it can cost about $1,050 to develop.

Conference Mobile App: Trends

Map

Hosting a big event in a huge multi-story building or expecting people from other cities and countries? In this case, it might be a good idea to show attendees on a map where your event will take place. Besides, it is nice to have a plan of a building, with all the rooms marked. It will help users to understand where each event will be, and how to get there.

Depending on the implementation, this can take 2-3 days with the approximate cost of $700.

Conference Mobile App: Trends

Tickets Booking

If the user already downloaded your app, he might want to book a ticket for himself or his colleagues or friends. Of course, you can redirect them to some website which will handle tickets selling for you. However, in that case, you won't be able to customize the flow that much.

There are two most popular ways to add payments to your app to buy tickets:

  • In-App purchases. In this case, Apple or Google will take a small percentage from each payment, but this way feels more native than others.
  • Credit Card payments. Here we would need to use 3rd-party services like Stripe, which would help us to process payments.

Payment is a complex process, which needs to be well-tested - there are lots of possible edge cases. What to do if payment did not go through? What to do if a credit card is expired? To make sure that neither application owners nor users will lose money, we will need to make sure that booking system is bulletproof. On average, it can take around 30 hours and $1,050 to process payments, and allow users to buy tickets.

Customer Service

Even if you have a most detailed description of all the events and full biographies of your speakers, customers will still have some questions. We will need to implement some kind of a feedback section into the app.

The easiest way is just to allow a user to send you emails. This will take only a couple of lines of code.

Another way is to have a custom in-app chat. Depending on a budget and level of customization we could use third-party libraries (like Intercom), or implement it ourselves from scratch. This can take from 4 hours (with the help of paid libraries) to 40 hours (if we decide to make own solution).

Social Features

Conferences are all about networking. Of course, people are interested to hear something new, but most of them are excited to connect with like-minded people. Social features can include absolutely everything: from comments to each event to indicating attendees. From a real-time chat for everyone to talk about the event, or questions page, where customers can ask questions to each speaker.

Depending on what you need, the estimation for social features for a event registration app will differ a lot. Usually, it is not something difficult, and you can expect 15-30 hours per each social feature. Just comment below if you have a question or need a more precise estimation for a function.

Admin Panel

Whether you would like to build a local event app or an app for a global conference, you will definitely need an admin panel. An average panel should have:

  • list of users
  • a way to update schedule and speakers
  • notifications management
  • list of transactions
    and more.

Depending on the level of customization, the average admin panel takes around three weeks to implement and costs around $4,000. Of course, if we will have more features, the time for development and costs will be increased. Alternatively, if you don't need the admin panel to update schedules (in case you prefer static schedule and speakers list) - it will save you a lot of time and money as well.

Technologies

Conference applications are not that difficult, so it can be done almost with every tech-stack possible.

To build a conference management app, we always suggest going with native applications if possible. It will allow you to make a stunning interface, high performance, and best user experience possible.

For the back-end, it might be a good idea to go with Ruby on Rails. This framework helps to increase development speed and to make maintenance easier and cheaper.

Conclusion

So let's finally calculate how much time it takes to make a conference application with a back-end server. Let's assume you would like to start with iOS for now, and you prefer an app with dynamic updates.

Feature Average Development Time Approximate Price ($35/h)
Welcome Screen 4 $150
Login and registration 24 $840
Event Schedule 30 $1050
Speakers List 24 $840
Event Details 24 $840
Notifications 30 $1050
Map 20 700
Tickets Booking 30 $1050
Customer Service 4 $140
Social Features 24 840
Admin Panel 120 $4000
Total 334h or 11 weeks $11,500

So, to develop one native application, API server, and an admin panel, we would need around 11 weeks (3 months) and $11,500. App for the second platform will be much cheaper because there is no need to write a second API server and admin panel.

Of course, price depends a lot on user interface complexity, number of screens, additional settings, and features. So depending on a budget, the price can always be changed by simplifying or improving the user interface, making some sections static, and so on.

If you would like make an app for conferences and events, (or to talk about any other app ideas), just drop us a line. We will try to make a precise estimation for your exact case, for your event type, and your target audience. Just write directly to mail@mova.io, or tell us more about your idea, and we will contact you soon with a proposal.

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