Lanyrd product suggestions

I'm a big fan of Lanyrd. It's the best directory for web and UX related conferences ( non-tech conferences use it too). It's very nicely designed and highly usable.

Inevitably, the more I use something the more I start having ideas about how I'd like to tinker with it (such a common UXer's complaint I'm wondering if it is a properly-named Syndrome - "Designers Fugue"? ). Here's a short list of product enhancements and new features that sound way-cool, if only in my own head.

Solve my "what to see at a big conference" problem

Big multi-track conferences. There might be 3 or more talks going on at once (or many many). What to see? What if you get stuck in a lame talk when there might be the zeitgiestiest, bestest talk going on next door in Room C?

Without exhaustive research, the choice between talks might be evenly balanced, and that's when I wish for a recommendation.

Speaker rating considered icky

I had written out a whole thing about the pluses and minuses of a speaker rating system here ("authenticated conference attendees can rate the talks they saw, and give useful critique to speakers"), but a speaker rating & scoring system sounds intrinsically horrible, so lets skip it.

How about a straightforward "endorse" option instead? In this crude mock-up, some Twitter users have endorsed particular workshops they liked. Any users known to you get highlighted, so you can spot the (probably) more high-value endorsements easier.

endores

"15 people liked this, including 3 of your contacts".
I go to a talk, I find it good, so I press a button in Lanyrd to say so - and now my Twitter and LinkedIn contacts can see that I've liked/+1'd/Lanyrd_Starred that talk. If they want to know why I think its good, they can ask me.

Get enough people doing that, and now when I look at a complex speaker schedule I can use that social proof aspect to help me choose what to see.

The first major limitation is that it isn't much good for new talks or speakers who have just started out - they haven't garnered any endorsements yet, so are at a disadvantage compared to the old lags. Oh well.

Other throw-away ideas:

Associate fringe events (eg, pub meeting)

Big multi-day conferences tend to spawn formal and informal spin-offs, either programmed or spur-of-the-moment. It would be cool if I could add my "Let's talk about micro formats" pub meet to the event Lanyrd page as a fringe event.

Do I know that person?

Lanyrd shows you a grid of faces for folks tracking or attending for each event. It could do a better job of highlighting the folks I know (I didn't see the thin blue outline to begin with).

And to really make the most of the LinkedIn aspect, Lanyrd could also show the 2nd order connections (and "people who work at a company you track" / "people in one of our Linkedn Groups").

Conference center guides

Log your tips for a given conference venue ("The 3rd floor bathrooms are by far the nicest!" "The better Coffee stand is the one on the concourse").

Lanyrd could become the secret travel-guide of the conference-jetting cognoscenti.

Official Conference Guide

Lanyrd does a better job of detailing a conference than most Confernece info websites. Let conference organizers use a Preimum feature to use Lanyrd as the Offical Companion Site for their confenrece - which would let them list all the boring minutia that conference sites need, like Special Meal registration or parking.

Escape plan

Stuck at a boring confernece? Hit the Escape button in Lanyrd, and it will match you up with other shirkers so you can form an escape committee - perhaps to a nearby pub for an unconference.

List version of Geography view

There's a neat map drill-down, but no option to view a list of what you see - which would be very handy for finding events "near here".

Conclusion

Everyone should use Lanyrd, it's awesome. And the more people who use it, the more awesome it gets.

FIN.

Post summary

Dateline: 14th Jan 2013, New Hampshire

It's short love-letter to Lanyrd, plus some opinionated product improvement suggestions.

Estimated reading time: 3m 27sec (via Read-o-Meter).

Lanyrd is "the social conference directory". It lists thousands of professional and hobbyist conferences, workshops, unconferences, and anything anyone wants to list.

The "social" bit relates to its (slick) integration with Twitter and LinkedIn, making it super-easy to track who in your networks has attended what event.

Listed events can hold info on both speakers, organizers and attendees. Lanyrd keeps track of each speakers appearance history, and any linked books, articles or slide decks that they or their fans have listed. Here's a well-populated example, IXD Conference 2013.

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