Home » Conferences, Ongoing Education, SWFox Eval Web site » SWFox: Online Evals by White Light Computing

Putting on a conference like Southwest Fox takes an enormous effort. Each year I put in over 200 hours doing organizer tasks. Each year each of the organizers automate a little more of the effort to help reduce the number of hours we put in. For instance, the registration process the first year took close to 25 minutes per registration, and this year I am averaging close to 5 minutes for someone returning to the conference, and 7 minutes for someone new. Most of this savings comes from the electronic registration app I developed and delivered in 2009.

This year I am hoping to reduce the effort of recording the evaluations you give us. It is one of the most important tasks we take care of after the conference.  Naturally we are interested in what you have to say about the conference, and the sessions the speakers prepare and deliver.

During the conference post-mortem meeting the organizers divide up the evals in thirds and use a couple very efficient Visual FoxPro forms developed by Tamar to enter in everything you put on the paper forms. We do this mostly because we want to get this information to the speakers. We deliver the details and summaries to them in early November (at least this is the goal). It normally takes me a couple of evenings to enter in my portion of the evals.

The biggest drawback other than the time it takes to enter in the evals is the latency to get the feedback to the speakers. Understanding what you did right and wrong in your sessions would be way more useful if you got it before you give it a second time at the same conference. The paper approach we use does not allow for this type of feedback.

So in an effort to get feedback to the speakers quicker, to save the organizers a little time after the conference, and as a terrific learning experience for the development team at White Light Computing, I designed an online Evaluation site for Southwest Fox.

To make things really interesting we decided to use a lot of new technology so everyone on the team would learn something new. In fact, some of the technology is beta itself. Oh, and I did not cut the development team any slack at all by giving them the specs and mockups just a few short weeks ago. Heh, if we cannot make it interesting, why do it at all? :)

The core part of the site is already developed. I opened up a private beta testing cycle late last night and already this morning we are getting feedback. If you are interested in beta testing it, we might have a few invites to share with you in the next week or so. So please email me at info AT swfox.net.

If you are interested in how I designed the site please come to my Mocking the Customer session at Southwest Fox 2010 and German DevCon.

Please keep your fingers crossed that White Light Computing can pull this off with the help from the test team, and if you like it don’t be shy about letting us know how we did at Southwest Fox. If you don’t like it, let us know in a constructive way too. We really appreciate your feedback.

Only 18 days until we gather in Glibert!

One Response to “SWFox: Online Evals by White Light Computing”

  1. October 21st, 2010 at 07:48 | #1

    Very nice job Rick !
    The evaluations system worked GREAT !

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