New Features: Set Event Date and Email Notifications

We’re thrilled about the new features we are announcing in this blog post specifically because they were requested by our users. They address a design limitation in our real-time Q&A platform at that we could not have become aware of without their input and we’re grateful for the lessons learnt in adding these capabilities to the platform.

The new features? Well, you can now set the date of an event when creating a question board, and email notifications now come as standard so you’ll never miss a question posted to your question board. Read on for the detail.

New Feature: Set Event Date

We were over the moon when the North West marketing team at multinational professional services network PwC used Assenty’s real-time Q&A web service during their recent Business of Digital Disruption half day conference in Manchester.

We were on hand on to support them during the event however early on we became aware of a glaring problem: we simply did not have enough time to invite people to post questions to the question board before the Q&A started.

The conference started at 8am, with the Q&A session to start at 9:15am. Given that it was also the Friday before the Spring Bank Holiday, and many people would be preparing to go away for the weekend straight after the event, it rapidly became apparent that we were going to struggle to get questions posted to the question board before the Q&A kicked off. And, that’s exactly what happened, only one question was posted. And that by yours truly!

Despite the time constraints, the board did garner retweets on Twitter, as the tweet below attests but we knew it was straight back to the drawing board. We could have done so much better if the design of Assenty supported setting advance dates on question boards.

Why wasn’t this thought of from day one?

Well, when we were creating a service to solve the problem of answering questions from an audience last January we expected event organisers would want to use the solution we came up with on the day of the event.

Designing for this requirement had the added advantage that we could set aside our limited experience with handling dates and times in Erlang and Elixir (the languages powering Assenty) and create a minimum viable product within a short time frame.

Well, hindsight is a wonderful thing, as they say! Perhaps we really should have set this up from day one. That said, learning to listen to customers early on has been the best outcome of this experience!

At the end of the Business of Digital Disruption event, which went fantastically well in all other respects, the team at PwC North West put forward a feature request that we couldn’t wait to implement:

“make it so we can send a link to the question board to our delegates in advance of the event. That way, as a multinational, we can involve colleagues across the globe who cannot attend, and accommodate people who for some reason or other, end up being unable to attend. They can take part by posting questions beforehand, and receiving answers on the question board on the day.”

And, now they can!

When creating a question board, you can now set the date and time (optional) of the event. The date is displayed prominently in the left sidebar of the board, and the board remains open until the day after it, unless closed by the moderator.

It looks like this:

This change should really turbocharge using question boards as pre-event social media marketing tools and we hope it helps event organisers get questions from the most unexpected places ahead of an event’s Q&A.

We’ve also put together some helpful tips for using a question board at your event.

Like this new capability? Let us know what you think.

New Feature: Email Notifications

As part of the slew of further refinements we’ve made, we’ve also added email notifications to the platform. Now anyone creating or interacting with an Assenty question board will receive emails notifying them about changes to the board.

This should prevent such oversights as us missing this excellent question 😮 posted by Dr Bex Lewis at trade organisation Manchester Digital’s recent Digital Revolution conference. Sincere apologies all 😳

When exactly do you get an email notification, you wonder?

Well, if you post a question at an event, the moderator is now notified and you receive a thank you email, and further notifications if your question is voted on, answered, or rewarded! 🏆 Hurrah!

We hope you enjoy using these new features as much as we’ve enjoyed adding them.

Please give us a shout on Twitter (@assentyapp) or Facebook if you have any comments, queries or suggestions. We’d love to help.

Image credit: Chronosly