Conferences are a fun place to be if you are a participant, but the moment you step into the shoes of “organizer” you realize the amount of work that requires to be done to make conferences “fun” for the participants –
— Atul Chitnis, Team lead; FOSS.IN
We worked together for 10 years as Team FOSS.IN, and learnt a lot about conference management in the process. Sometime in early 2012 Atul, a dear friend and our Team Lead at FOSS.IN, said why don’t you guys productize this software for scheduling conferences that you have made for FOSS.IN. The idea immediately appealed to us, and we sat together and brainstormed to rewrite the software in such a way that it is a useful product not just for technical events but also for non technical and social events; thus Shdlr was born. FOSS.IN 2012 was the first conference to plan and host it’s schedule on Shdlr.Com
While it is easy for conference and event organisers to find software for delegate registrations and other allied things, one thing that organizers of large events find difficult to find is a scheduling system for all the items across the time slots and several halls/venues and days. Shdlr comes forward as a solution to this nagging problem of scheduling items for an event.
Shdlr had a thorough test run from September 2012 to September 2013 at which time we opened it to the world. Since then, more than 3500 items have been scheduled on Shdlr in over 250 conferences.
Here are some salient features of the product:
A simple to use, single purpose web application, Shdlr home page is self explanatory, and it takes a user minimum efforts to start. A friendly wizard guides the user through the first steps after which scheduling items of an event becomes extremely pleasurable.
Shdlr is a feature rich product and detailed feature list is prominently displayed on the product’s website. Some of the noteworthy features are:
- One Click Publish – Publishing /unpublishing of schedule is possible with a single click.
- Grid and List format – The items of the events can be displayed in two formats, Grid and List. Both can be embedded into the event website.
- Social Sharing – Social sharing buttons are built in, so after publishing the schedule, it is easy to share on any social sharing platform.
- iCal file Integration – Adding schedule to Windows, Linux or Mac Calendars using event iCal file is very easy.
- Work on Draft – Even after the schedule is published, the administrator can work on the draft before republishing the schedule.
- Multiple Admins – The administrative roles can be handled by multiple people, conference owner can invite people to be co-admins.
- Themes – There are several attractive colour themes to choose form to display the event on your custom site.
- Variable Length items – Talks or items/events need not be of the same length or duration. You can make them of variable length by choosing a minimum increment.
- Mobile ready – Visitors to your site using mobile devices will see a mobile optimised version of the website.
- Span across halls – Lectures or talks can be spanned across adjacent halls
- Multi Hall Venues – You can add or delete halls for a given venue – support for multiple halls for an event is built in.
- Click and drag scheduling – Scheduling of items is super easy, just click and drag them to schedule them.
- Mass import talks – If you already have a spreadsheet of your talks you can just mass import them into Shdlr
- Display Sponsors – you can display logos of the sponsors of your event and customise the Sponsor display area.
The Admin interface is very intuitive and allows the conference admin to add talks, speakers, halls, tracks, make the schedule and embed the schedule in the event website. Users can have a free trial before they pay for the full version. If you want a free trial, head over to http://shdlr.com and create a conference schedule or play around with the demo data