What’s the most important feature of an abstract management platform?
“It needs to be user-friendly,” said Debby Tucker, who heads Debra Tucker Associates, a professional meeting and event planning firm. Since 1995, Tucker’s Potomac, Maryland, firm has planned and managed hundreds of professional meetings around the world.
When asked what else is important, the veteran meeting pro used terms such as “intuitive” and “simple” and “easy to navigate.”
Isn’t that the same thing as user-friendly? “Yes,” she said. ”That’s it. That’s number one. It’s all about the user experience.”
So, it’s clear that the user experience is the crucial metric in choosing an abstract management software platform. That makes sense because in the case of a large conference that collects hundreds or thousands of abstracts for review, confusion can mean delayed or canceled uploads and phone calls for assistance.
“I’m the same way,” said Tucker. “If someone sends me a survey or a form to fill out and I have to work hard to understand the system, I’ll just close it and do it later.” Tucker added that “later” sometimes means “never.”
In October 2015, the Biomedical Engineering Society will host its annual event in Tampa. This year, over 3,000 abstracts will be uploaded using the Mira Smart Conferencing abstract management suite. Less than one percent of those submissions will need human intervention during the upload phase. That’s a huge efficiency. And it’s a part of what makes pulling off a large conference manageable.
“There are several phases – collection, review, acceptance and assignment to sessions.” Tucker said. “You need a system that can handle all of those easily. And be user-friendly.”
Even if the abstract management software platform flawlessly manages the abstracts, if submitters can’t easily navigate the system, there will be problems.
A significant part of the user experience comes down to the training of track chairs. And for that, Tucker relies on her Mira project manager, Patrick Driscoll. “I’ll sit through all of the training webinars that Patrick presents to the chairs,” Tucker said. “I am familiar enough with the software, but I want to be available if a question comes up specific to the association.”
This type of collaboration between meeting planner and project manager is what sets Mira Smart Conferencing apart from the competition. “Patrick’s very quick to respond. He’s very good at going above and beyond,” Tucker said. “He makes me feel like I am his only client.”
You can learn more about Debra Tucker Associates and what they can do to make your meeting a huge success – whether it’s a meeting of two or 20,000.
Read more about the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)