Custom conference management software for an educational society

Custom conference management software for an educational society

Itransition created an integrated conference management system to automate event organization and level up user experience for conference managers and attendees.

Case study

Custom conference management software for an educational society

Context

Our customer is a global educational society that unites academics, students, and professionals interested in human-computer interaction (HCI) and its practical application. Advocating the education in the field of HCI, each year the society organizes multiple conferences, tutorials, and workshops, each attracting large numbers of speakers and attendees from around the world.

For its conference management purposes, the organization utilized a public WordPress-based portal and an internal web application for planning, so no single unified solution was in place. The portal only allowed potential attendees to look up event programs, keynote speakers, calendars, locations, and other details, while the planning application was not admin-friendly and required manual input of all conference-related information, making event preparation effort-consuming.

Understanding these inefficiencies, the organization considered adopting a single solution that would automate end-to-end conference management and integrate well with their existing website, so that changes in event programs, calendars, locations, etc. would synchronize. Since the society’s events tend to attract many participants, the solution’s scalability was prioritized among other aspects.

Beyond that, the organization sought to improve user engagement and attract new conference members. To that end, they came up with an idea of native mobile apps that would synchronize with the website and deliver real-time conference data, easily accessible from any device.

With the desired outcomes outlined, the society needed an outsourcing provider who would deliver custom software development and create user-oriented web and mobile applications. They turned to Itransition due to our proven expertise as well as a solid track record in EduTech solutions.

Solution

The suite created by Itransition comprised the following: a conference management platform, enhanced with custom automation modules and a revamped admin panel, and a Progressive Web Application that provided cross-platform mobile and web experience.

Conference management system

Itransition delivered a conference management system integrated with the customer’s website.

The legacy software required that conference programs and events were prepared and scheduled manually. Our team created a module that automatically placed conference events into the grid view based on predefined criteria and event specifics; it also ensured no events overlapped or were scheduled at the same venue. Beyond this automation, we enhanced the platform with custom-made modules for website user authorization, funds management, and calendar-based scheduling.

For conference planning, we integrated the system with the Precision Conference Solutions (PCS) platform. PCS fully covered the attendance requests functionality, including the submission, review and management of attendance requests.

Apart from that, we revamped the legacy Communities module for end users to create interest groups, elect their community presidents, and organize diverse activities within the groups.

As a result, our customer got a multifunctional conference management system that provided conference organizers and attendees with the opportunities to:

  • Upload and manage conference information, including documents and related materials
  • Design schedule grids
  • Manage event locations, floor plans, and inventory
  • Maintain financial records
  • Create and manage communities for particular events
  • Apply for conference participation
  • Access conference materials and schedules on web and mobile
Schedule grid
Session builder

Admin panel UX development and optimization

Due to a large number of conferences held each year, multiple event admins were expected to interact with the solution. Therefore, we made a particular effort to ensure that newcomers could promptly get used to the system.

To meet this need, our UX/UI specialists designed a clear interface with intuitive workflows and added user prompts to ease admins’ way through the solution’s feature set.

General conference details

Native mobile apps & PWA

To complement the conference management platform and make event materials more accessible to a broader audience, we built iOS and Android mobile applications. Both had an identical functionality and enabled end users to:

  • View information about upcoming conferences
  • Create personal event schedules
  • Mark events as preferred
  • Access conference materials and add them to the reading list
  • Make notes in the selected documents

In the course of the project, the customer considered getting a more efficient mobile solution in terms of its support and maintenance. Our team offered to develop a progressive web application (PWA) – the concept inspired by Itransition’s in-house ITWorks conference.

The customer supported the idea. We built a full-fledged PWA solution that proved to be more cost-effective than native apps as well as provided a broader coverage across iOS, Android and web platforms.

PWA-version conference schedule on desktop
The PWA-version conference schedule on mobile

Technologies & tools

In preparation to conference management software development, we decided to base the solution on microservices architecture to facilitate scalability in the event of a significant increase in concurrent users.

Java was chosen as the key technology for the web application’s backend. To deliver a reliable architecture and support the operation of the rich business logic, we used Hibernate, Spring Boot, Spring Cloud and Spring Data frameworks.

To ensure automatic load balancing, faultless performance during high loads, and smooth scalability, our team migrated the platform from its current container handler, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, to a more functional one, Kubernetes. To run the Kubernetes system, we chose Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, and Amazon ECS.

We opted for the Angular framework for the frontend and PWA development. The team also leveraged the Angular AoT compiler and implemented lazy loading to optimize the solution’s response and page load time.

We used Swift to create the iOS mobile application and Java for the Android app.

The solution architecture

Results

Itransition delivered an end-to-end conference management environment that runs on both desktop and mobile devices. The solution consists of a platform integrated with the legacy WordPress website and a Progressive Web Application that delivers native user experience for mobile and web users alike.

The system has rich capabilities for conference planning and scheduling and automates a fair share of previously manual tasks. It also improved conference resource availability as well as opened up new opportunities to engage event attendees.

The custom conference management software brought in visible business results:

  • Enhanced user experience
  • 3x lower infrastructure costs
  • 10x faster page loading
  • Scalable architecture that sustains high traffic
Native Android app interface