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Monday June 30, 2008
02:06 PM

How to speed up the registration

[ #36819 ]

Registration process at a conference is process that every attendee have to pass. The bad thing is that all of hundreds must be served in a limited time in the morning before the event.

That cause queues like this:

At our events we use bar-codes which are sent to every attendee, and then we scan the printed codes, thus eliminating the difficulty of understanding a name of a person in a crowded area. If the event is international that additionally helps to avoid misunderstandings of foreign names.

But scanning speeds up the recognition only. Next step is to give a badge, and that is a real neck of the bottle. Organizers have to search through (hundreds again!) badges or envelopes. Even if you preliminary sort them by alphabet, the process is still too long to satisfy me.

At Ukrainian Perl Workshop I simply laid out the badges onto the registration desk (but, ha-ha, did not sort them any way):

Next idea is to use pins and a wall. Before the registration we could sort badges and ping all them to the wall. Let the attendees search their own stuff.

And I even got a better idea, no pins are needed. Just a rope and pegs (hundreds of them):

Nice decoration of the registration hall, is not it? :-)

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  • What happens if one person takes another person's badge? You need a fallback for that. But if you've got that covered, then the system looks great.

    But better still is to print badges on demand. Leave the searching piece entirely up to the computer. I don't know what those cost though.

    • Yes, my variant with a rope is a kind of joke, but at Ukrainian event noone took other's badge. We thought about printing on demand. But I prefer "hard & rigid" badge to awful piece of paper inserted into plastic pocket. There is no time to print, cut, and then laminate the badge. The only possible solution we found is using special "badge" printers that can print on plastic cards. But although such devices are extrimely expencive (not less than $2000), they do not allow hi-speed printing. Typical pri
  • Do you have the details for generating barcodes, printing, etc? That would be useful to have for other YAPCs and workshops to simplify the registration process.
  • If the bar code reader can retrieve information - why not have it retrieve the location of the badge. Box 4, Separator 3, Bright Blue or some such Even if you are going to use the "hang them on the wall approach", you could have the information retrieval system give directions. It is a lot more up front work, but it should make things faster.
    • Well, we simply can insert into the box with badges labels with large initial letters.