Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Building My First Lumavate App

Hey, I’m Ally! Senior Account Executive at Lumavate. Toddler-chaser at home. Never touched a line of code in my life. And this is how Lumavate helped me hit publish on my first app in just a few days.

So, let’s start with some background. When I started at Lumavate approximately two months ago, I knew that as part of my training I wanted to build my own app using our platform. After all, we’re a no-code platform, which means I–an account executive with zero coding experience–should be able to build an app with no problem. 

And, I just happened to have the perfect use case. 

About Linking Indy Women

When starting her career in tech, Sarah Lacey would attend local networking events only to be surrounded by men. She looked for events and groups supporting women like her, but couldn’t find any and that’s how Linking Indy Women was born. 

Linking Indy Women (LIW) was created to provide a place for women to come together, inspire each other, and find authentic connections. Every month, our community of women comes together to hear from an inspiring Indianapolis woman, and when I saw what an impact it was having, I wanted to get involved, so I volunteered to help Sarah out as her co-founder.

Why an App? 

After helping Sarah plan and run our monthly events for a couple of years, I noticed a few pain points that I thought an app could really help with: 

  • More Need for Networking – At LIW events, there are usually more than 100 women that attend, but only the first 30 minutes and the last few minutes are spent mingling. This can make it hard to meet many women or have a number of meaningful conversations at a single event. The speaker also can be hard to track down after an event with a long line of women waiting to speak with her. 
  • Many Sponsors to Thank – We’re lucky to have a number of people and sponsors that make LIW possible. Sometimes, we forget to mention people at the beginning or end of an event. When this happens, we feel terrible since we want to be sure to publicly thank those who help us at each event. 
  • Venue and Parking – When attendees are coming to an LIW event for the first time, they may not be familiar with the area or our venue. We needed a way to easily disseminate parking and venue information before each event.

Limited Resources

As a small community organization, LIW certainly doesn’t have a team of developers with the right expertise to create apps for iOS and Android. Not to mention, the thought of going through the process of creating a traditional, native app wouldn’t have made sense for us. App store approval process? No, thank you. 

My Experience Building the App

After only a few hours I was able to take one of our Starter Kits and tweak it to create an app that LIW attendees could use. A few hours. Anyone who has been through the app development process will tell you that this is not normal. Not even close. It can take days just to hear back from Apple on whether or not they’ll approve your app, let alone the app design, coding, and development itself. 

Now, whether it’s through the click of a link, text, or scan of a QR code, attendees can get the LIW app on their phone without going to the app store. We’ve promoted the app on social media, emails, and during live events. (Check out the exact PowerPoint slide we use!)  

This app helps women connect with our speakers, sponsors, and each other without having to search for any information outside of the app. It ensures that I don’t feel bad about forgetting to mention someone because they’re being promoted through the app (OK, I still feel bad, but this helps). It ensures women know about our venue sponsor and where to park when they attend our events. The Lumavate platform also allows me to make updates in real-time so the app always has the latest content.

LIW is run by just Sarah and myself. We rely on volunteers and sponsors for everything we do, so before I realized the power of Lumavate, an app was out of the realm of possibility for us.  

The Results 

Not only were the results on the build end super impressive (I launched the app just 15 days after starting my job at Lumavate), but the results on the user end were spectacular as well. For our October event alone, 15 percent of our attendees registered using the app! It was amazing to see women pull out their phones and scan the QR code at the event when I pulled the activation slide up, and see their faces light up in amazement when they realized they just got an app on their phone without going through the app store hassle! 

There’s so much power behind Lumavate, and I was more than thrilled to “drink our own champagne” to see it in action. 

To check out the Linking Indy Women app, click here on your mobile device, or text LIW to 317.942.3064. And to start building your own apps today, put some time on my calendar! I’d love to help you hit publish on your first app and see results fast.