Guidebook Tips: Organizing a Complex Schedule
Whether you’re building a guide for a scientific conference that has many sessions and presenters, managing the schedules of thousands of new students, or you’re looking to optimize your meeting schedule so that it’s easier for attendees to navigate, strong organization is key. To help you organize your schedule more efficiently, we’re sharing a few of our favorite pro tips to enhance the end-user experience.
Attendees often come to a conference to learn about a specific topic; rather than scrolling through a long list of sessions in your guide, enable your users to navigate right to sessions of interest. For example, rather than scrolling through 200 sessions a day to find sessions of interest, users can scroll through 40 and view the sub-sessions that take place within those 40 sessions. Let’s look at a couple ways to help organize your schedule – pinning schedule tracks and creating sub-sessions.
When you begin to collect your schedule data, it is likely already split up by topics, dates, groups, or other sub-sections. This natural segmentation creates great opportunities to use schedule tracks! If your data isn’t split up into sections yet, your team can think through what segmentation may be most helpful for your attendees.
Already added your data to Builder? You can always add schedule tracks after your data is already imported (either manually within Builder, or using a template export).
To keep your schedule tracks easily accessible, we also typically recommend pinning your schedule tracks to your guide’s menu and putting them in a folder. The folder might be called “Schedule Tracks,” “Topics,” or whatever makes sense for your event! To access our support resources about how to use schedule tracks and pinning tracks, click here.
Pinning tracks allows your users to have an easier experience when navigating the menu and schedule.
Creating sub-sessions in your schedule is a bit more complex, but the end result is worth the effort! Take a look at the example below. There is only one ‘Breakout Sessions’ listing in the general schedule (on the left). Once users click into that listing, they’re able to view all of the relevant sub-sessions. With this setup, those sub-sessions aren’t taking up real estate on the main schedule view.
Use-cases for sub-sessions:
- Breakout sessions
- A session block with staggered presenters
- Same session, but varying locations
- Same timeframe, but each group is doing something different
- Numerous concurrent sessions
Steps to Create Sub-sessions
- Build your schedule either manually or with a template. Your schedule should include the sub-sessions. To use the above example, there will be sessions called “Breakout Sessions” from 1-2pm, and then all ten breakout sessions – “Breakout Blue” from 1-2pm, “Breakout Red” from 1-2pm, etc.
- Create a schedule track and pin the track. This will serve as your “main schedule.” You can call it “Main Schedule,” “Schedule-at-a-Glance,” or a name that makes sense for your use case. This will house the sessions that you want to be easily accessible. In the example above, Breakout Sessions would be assigned to this schedule track. You can include this information in a template if you are using one. We won’t assign our sub-sessions to a track (we’ll explain why below).
- Disable the schedule feature. You can only have one schedule feature in your guide, and it hosts all of your schedule data (from all of your tracks). Since we’re picking and pinning our schedule tracks to the menu, we’ll hide the full schedule feature from view (as it’s not the most optimal way to display our sessions). I often re-name the disabled feature to “Schedule Data” so I do not get confused between my pinned tracks and the full schedule data. We disable, or hide, the master schedule so that users only see the “Schedule-at-a-Glance” schedule and not all the sub-sessions.
- Export your schedule data and grab a linking template from the schedule data menu item.
- Link the master session (Breakout Sessions) to the sub-sessions (Breakout Blue, Breakout Red, etc.) and import your linking template.
At the end of the day, though it does take some work, using sub-sessions is a great way to organize a complex schedule! If you have any questions about organizing your schedule, we’re always here to help at firstname.lastname@example.org; please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Hannah is a Customer Success Associate in the Raleigh office. She helps clients build great guides and is a member of the support team at Guidebook! Hannah teaches yoga and meditation in the office and in her free time.