The agenda in the app contains all the scheduled sessions that will take place throughout the event, and is central to the app user's experience and engagement.
It will often act as the backbone of the event, informing app users on what is going on, when, where, who might be attending or speaking, as well as allowing them to register and interact with sessions, via functionalities such as live streams, Q&As, polls, etc.
The agenda is built by adding sessions to the workspace, via the Sessions module in Backstage.
There are three ways of adding sessions to a workspace:
- Create a session in Backstage.
- Exporting/importing sessions via a spreadsheet.
- Integrations from third party systems.
To access the Sessions module in the workspace, click on the Content icon in the main menu to the left of the screen, and select Sessions.
Create a session in Backstage
In the Sessions module, click on the New session button, and add the necessary information for the session.
Tip: There are three mandatory fields here that need to be filled in: Title, Starts at and Ends at. The Description and Location fields are also important information to provide session attendees with. The rest are optional.
Add the title of the session.
Select the date and time when the session starts (in the workspace's timezone).
Select the date and time when the session ends (in the workspace's timezone).
Enter a description of the session.
Add the location of the session, for example a room name (this is open text, and will not link to a map location).
Click on this button to select:
- No constraints: This means that the app user can sign up to this session as well as multiple other sessions that take place at the same date and time.
- Unlimited capacity: There will be no limit to the number of users who can register for the session.
- Managed capacity: Select this and enter a number in the Capacity when managed field to configure the maximum number of users who can join the session.
By default, there is no limit to the number of participants that can join a session.
This will determine how the session will appear in the app to participants:
- Default: The session will be visible to participants in the app, and a checkmark will appear next to the session in the agenda when participants have registered to the session.
- Hidden: If you select this the session is hidden from participants in the app.
- With registration checkmark: Here you can choose to disable the checkmark for registered participants, so that it does not appear.
Appearance when targeted or registered
This will determine how the session will look in the app, when the session is targeted to specific users:
- Default: The session will be visible to targeted participants in the app, and a checkmark will always appear next to the session by default, whether they have registered to the session or not.
- Hidden: If you select this the targeted session is hidden from participants in the app.
- Without registration checkmark: Here you can choose to disable the checkmark for registered participants or targeted participants, so that it does not appear at all.
- With registration checkmark only for registered (regardless of targeting): Selecting this option will mean that a checkmark will display for only the sessions that the participant has registered to. If a session is targeted but the participant has not registered, the checkmark will not appear.
This can be useful when you wish to target specific sessions to users, but keep them optional for them by allowing them to self register.
Display as a banner in session list
Checking this box will display the session as a wider banner in the agenda session list in the app. The banner used for this is the selected on the Banner field described below.
Use interactive sessions names
Checking this box will display any interactive sessions that are linked to this session to the app user. The name of the interactive session will appear and the user can tap it to access it directly.
Here you can add pre-configured tags to sessions, that are created around topics. When tags are applied to sessions, app users can use the tags to filter through the sessions in their agenda.
For example, users will tap a tag in their agenda and all the sessions associated to the tag will be displayed.
Here you can use targeting to determine which specific app users will be able to see this session. Non targeted users will not be able to see the session (and potentially no be able to register) to this session. More advanced information on this is available in the Targeting article.
More details on when to use targeting or self registration for your sessions is also available.
In this field you can select pre-existing or create a new venue map location that will be linked to the session.
In this field you can link pre-existing documents to sessions for app users to access, or create new documents to be linked. More information on uploading or creating documents will be provided later on in this Getting started series, in the Adding documents to the workspace article.
Here you can link the session to a pre-existing master session, or create a new master session to link it to. A master session is used to encapsulate multiple related sessions, for example around the same topic, and over the same time period. Sessions that are linked to a master session will be displayed as part of the same block in the app agenda.
Here you can link a pre-existing form to a session or create a new form for app users to access and complete. More information on forms will be provided later on in this Getting started series, in the Adding a form to the workspace article.
Here you can upload a banner (or choose an existing banner in the workspace) to display when the participant opens the session in the app. Banners can also be displayed directly in the app user's agenda, using the Display as a banner in session list field described above.
Recommended dimensions for the banner are 600×150px, and format is PNG.
When the app user opens a session in their agenda, it is displayed using a page template, and this field allows you to choose the page template used to display the session to the app user.
The default template is the "sessions" template, available in the dropdown list, however sessions can be associated with other display templates that can be created in the workspace, and then selected here. More information on pages will be provided later on in this Getting started series, in the Adding a page to the workspace article.
Here you can link interactive session such as Wordcloud, Polling, or Q&A to sessions.
More information on interactivity will be provided later on in this Getting started series, in the Interactivity in the workspace article.
Here you can select or create a live stream that can be associated with a session. More information on Live streams is available in the Adding live streams to the app article.
Speakers can be added to sessions. Here you can select a speaker from those added to the workspace, or create a speaker directly here. More information on speakers will be provided later on in this Getting started series, in the Adding speakers to the workspace article.
Here you can add one or more speaker(s) as chairpersons for the session, or create a chair person.
Here you can add one or more speaker(s) as moderators for the session, or create a moderator.
The Metadata manager can be used to add new personalized fields to this screen. This can be used to display or capture additional session information. More advanced information on this is available in the Metadata manager article.
Click on Save once you have added all the necessary session information.
Once you have added one or more sessions to the agenda, you can view them in the Sessions tab.
In the below screenshot for example, there is currently one session created in the agenda:
So how does this actually look in the app?
Here we'll take a look at an example of an app user's agenda. This will allow you to better visualize how the information added to Backstage is seen in the app:
Here you can see:
- The calendar days in the agenda.
- The list of sessions scheduled for the selected day, with:
- Their start and end times to the left.
- The title of the sessions in bold text, with descriptions beneath.
- The speakers of the sessions with their pictures.
- Session tags and banners.
App users can open any individual session. Below is an example of a session page displayed in the app:
Adding and editing multiple sessions in the agenda
To add more sessions to the agenda, we recommend that you perform a bulk operation using an export/import function, via an Excel spreadsheet.
This is done by:
- Downloading the existing list of sessions as a spreadsheet.
- Adding all the necessary sessions to the spreadsheet.
- Re-uploading the spreadsheet to Backstage.
Follow the below steps to perform a bulk upload of sessions into the workspace via Backstage.
1. Downloading the agenda spreadsheet
- In the Sessions tab, select Export XLS.
- Click on Download export.
- Save the spreadsheet locally, and then open it. The spreadsheet contains the list of sessions:
Important: Here we are solely focusing on the session's general information, displayed in columns B through to G.
2. Adding sessions to the spreadsheet
The agenda spreadsheet is composed of a total of 21 columns, however here we will only focus on columns A to G:
- fp_ext_id: This is the unique identifier that Backstage has automatically assigned to the session.
To make things more simple, these can be changed to "Day1_session, Day1_session2, Day1_session3, etc. in the spreadsheet.
- name: The title of the session.
- start: The start date and time of the session.
- end: The end date and time of the session.
- location_link: This is the location link to the workspace map. Leave this blank.
- in_slot: This column is used to link a session to a master session.
- location: Here you can enter the location of the session.
Using the above information, you can directly add all the sessions that you need into this spreadsheet, by following the example below:
3. Importing the sessions spreadsheet
Once you have added all the necessary information to the spreadsheet, for all the sessions you wish to add to the workspace, you can save the spreadsheet and then re-upload the spreadsheet to Backstage to import the users:
- In the Sessions tab, and select Import XLS.
- Click on Choose file, and select the updated agenda spreadsheet.
- Select Begin upload.
- Verify that the system has selected the correct column headers in the spreadsheet, if necessary select the correct headers.
- Click on Next.
- The system will perform the import, provide a summary of the updates made to the session list in Backstage, and notify you when the import was successful.
- Click Next if the import was successful.
The sessions previously added to the spreadsheet have now been added to the workspace agenda:
Note: This approach of exporting and importing agenda and session information via a spreadsheet can also be used to make multiple edits or updates to user information. Simply export the .XLS, make the necessary changes to the session information in the spreadsheet, and then upload the updated spreadsheet to the system again. Alternatively, you can always use the bulk edit functionality directly in Backstage to make bulk changes.
Continue to the Adding speakers to the workspace agenda sessions article.