Event basics: RSVP / registration

EventScreensConsider carefully how people might register for your event. However you choose to do this, the process should have a welcoming design, minimize frustration and take special needs into consideration.

Another key consideration is whether your event is public or private (invite-only).

For public events, major platforms such as Facebook and Eventbrite will allow people to register quickly and easily, in a platform they’ve likely used before. Another key consideration is a share feature. People may want to announce they’re going to your event to their friends, both to note they’re doing something fun and to rally more people to join them. Having an easy option to share a message that says something like, “Hey! I’m going to this cool event and you should too!” is a useful way for your attendees to help spread the word.

For an invite-only event, you may have more options for registration platforms, such as Evite or Paperless Post. In my experience, platforms like these give you more creative control over the design of the invitation and registration pages, so you can make them more appealing to attendees. This also makes the event feel more intimate and designed more specifically to the expectations of those who RSVP.

Create a welcoming registration page

Most people feel their lives are very busy, and attending an event of any type can sometimes feel like a big commitment. Therefore, you want to make sure your registration / RSVP page is as inviting as possible. Choose images that will remind attendees why the event is unique to their tastes. This might be in item symbolic of your shared interests, a headshot of the famous person they might get to meet, or a photo evocative of the cool place your event will take place. For a large, multi-day conference, for example, you might include images of the destination city to help generate some excitement for being in a fun location.

Minimize frustration

If someone has difficulty registering for your event, they might bail on the process altogether. The same rules that guide good software or online shopping design — keep barriers to entry low — apply here. One consideration is your RSVP or registration platform itself. Is it something people will recognize? Will they easily be able to navigate the page? Or is it so difficult to get to or overly designed that they won’t know where to enter basic information? For instance, will they have to become a member of something, or register for a platform, before they can even begin to register for your event? That extra step might create a critical barrier to attendees joining you.

Assuming people can get to your registration page, be sure to minimize the number of steps required to join. The more pages someone has to click through, and the more fields they have to fill out, the more they might become frustrated and start to wonder if it’s worth registering at all. Sometimes you can’t avoid this. You might need to know demographic data to help plan a presentation, or if you serve food, you might need to know about any dietary restrictions (more below). I’m not arguing to cut out any kind of registration process. That said, for every field you require for registration, ask yourself, “Is this critical to the success of my event?” If not, consider deleting it altogether. You can also create non-required fields — this is often done with demographic data for instance — but it still looks like a lot of steps and clutter to a person trying to quickly register for your event, so you should still keep this as lean as possible.

Finally, don’t forget about calendar and share options. I’m sure we all know many people whose schedules are largely dictated by the calendar on their computer or smartphone – it serves as a reminder system for what people need to do in a given week. So make sure that once someone registers, they have the opportunity to save your event to their calendar. And as I mentioned above, simple “share” buttons for popular social media platforms are useful for public events.

Consider special needs

Any good host should consider special needs, and make sure there is space in the registration process to list these. The larger and more complex your event, the more special needs you might want to consider. For a simple dinner party, addressing accessibility and dietary restrictions might be sufficient. For a multi-day conference, your needs might expand. Do you need a private room for nursing mothers? Directions to nearby places of worship? Language interpreters? You’ll have to include enough detail in the registration process to make sure you understand and meet these needs. In my experience, as long as it’s clear why you’re asking so many questions, and minimize what is ‘required’ to answer, most people are pretty understanding about the organizers’ desire to cater to special needs and a slightly longer registration process won’t scare them off.


Once you’ve considered these elements, you should be all set to make an registration page that’s both inviting and practical.

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