At first I was a little dismayed that they omitted the company name, but I came to really like that. It made it a lot easier to have conversations with people if you remove the barrier of status that a company might infer, probably wrongly. It was a great equalizer to know the folks at the smallest college dailies had the same problems as the largest news outfits in the country.
Want to chat but be a bit anonymous? Just write your first name but big! Want people to be able to find you after? Full name and twitter handle! Primarily known by a pseudonym online? Write that! Proud of where you work? Add your company name! Tired of being mistaken for a designer? Use your job title! Prefer certain pronouns? State xem! Impressive title? Prefix in your neatest calligraphy! Burning passion for a particular subject? Jot it underneath your name! Hiring, raising, jobhunting, looking for someone to play baduk with? Put pen to label! Mad art skills? Throw down!
No lanyard length quandaries, cheap and easy to supply, usually end up around eye level, don't poke awkwardly when sitting, and they don't flip round!
But when there's a more diverse group where individuals' attendance isn't necessarily as tied to specific "tribal identities," it's not clear that affiliation is as big a deal. (And, as you say, may actually be a negative.)
The one good thing they had was color-coding the lanyards to express your interest in being photographed.
How much I like a badge is pretty much in proportion to how small it is. A large badge optimizes for the wrong thing: I may (try to) read tens of names, but you're asking me to wear the badge all day every day.
If I got a badge like this, I'd either throw it in my bag (and only take it out for proof of registration when required), or cut it off right below my first name.
(Putting badges on lanyards seems an odd choice in the first place. Why not, oh, an arm wrap which attaches just below my shoulder? Then at least it won't bounce around and flip backwards and get in my way all the time. You're a tech conference! You really have nobody here who can think of how to improve on a piece of paper looped around your neck with a piece of string?)
1. Badges with two attachment points do reduce flipping but they don't eliminate it. I'm sympathetic to using the back of a badge for useful info like a map of the venue or even a plastic sleeve for a schedule. So it's a tradeoff. But if you're not going to use the back for something useful, print on both sides.
2. Preferably use a lanyard if it's a "real" conference. It's often hard to pin stuff.
3. I get his comment on the QR codes but larger conferences need some way to scan people at booths and possibly breakouts (for attendee reports). NFC/RFID can work too and is sometimes used. Not clear to me one way is a big win over the other.
At every conference I've attended, I remove or flip my badge immediately after entering. I've never felt that this impacted my ability to meet new people and connect with them, so I don't accept the author's assertion that it's necessary (or even helpful) to make new connections. The remainder of the rules are predicated on rule 1, which I think leaves them irrelevant.
I'd go so far as to say that if a conference tries to enforce rules 1 and 7 (everyone has to wear a badge and no flipping), then I will simply decline to attend. The only badge that I'd be happy to wear continuously is a badge with no legible PII that's used purely for access control, and even then, most of the time, conferences don't require that kind of access control.
(Obvious point: badges that are highly readable by humans squinting to see your name are also highly readable in photographs. And please consider if there's a solution for badges for female attendees that doesn't encourage people to look at their chests to read their names.)
As a conference organiser who'd love to provide a great event experience to as many people as possible, I was wondering if you (or anyone else) might have ideas for potential alternatives?
You may find that the terms and conditions of the conference, that you've agreed to, require you to keep the front of your badge visible.
If you don't like that then, as you say, you should probably not attend, rather than go against your agreement.
Know enough conferences with only wrist bands.
And no the people making them probably care more for attendance than for showing your name.
You wouldn't know it by looking at the current sad state of tech culture in 2019, but a lot of people in the "Hacker" culture aren't particularly inclined to capitulate to social norms and much prefer freedom.
What's being discussed here is mostly badges for commercial events like Google I/O. If you don't like the norms of these types of events--scanned badges, real names, probably a fair bit of photography and video of those attending--you have lots of other options.
Some conferences allows for pseudonyms to be used, which is good, and should also be allowed, but allowing pseudonyms doesn’t really solve this problem, and I don’t think it was really meant to do that.
(Of course, for those people, like me, who do want to have their name on their badge, those rules which you oppose are still very good and relevant.)
If it allow pseudonyms like throwawayRandom123, I'd say it's solved.
That is probably your appropriate response for most conferences then. To give just one example, if I'm working a booth and someone wants to ask me questions, I will probably not do so unless I know who they are. It's a common trip of financial analysts to flip their badges so they're incognito.
I think that you are an outlier. I rarely have badge visible except when going through doors and have yet to meet booth or any other service that would decline to answer or give me food etc due to missing badge.
If someone talks to me about a topic it's helpful to see their name so I know what they've worked on in the past. Partly so I don't try to explain their own work back to them.
I would like to have a double-sided badge, one with and one without my name, and be allowed to decide which to display.
i.e. a blue lanyard means that you can be photographed, and a red/pink one that you cannot be photographed (these colours survive most colour blindness too)
Update: Huh, apparently that angry fruit salad at the end was supposed to be a good one. Fortunately the one on the homepage looks decent: https://badge.reviews/
It's against HN guidelines to accuse someone of not reading the article.
> Please don't insinuate that someone hasn't read an article. "Did you even read the article? It mentions that" can be shortened to "The article mentions that."
Most conferences are not multilingual and it's reasonable to write names in an alphabet understood by most attendees. Something helpful is if given name and family name are to be styled differently, that that actually be done, don't just make the name that comes first different.
This is why any system that takes names should have a way to specify a "Display Name", which may or may not follow the firstname lastname pattern. Particularly when those names need to be printed out for conferences.
Badges need to be unique, easily differentiated from each other, not easily lost or destroyed, and (ideally) carry uniquely identifying information. They should be hard to duplicate, easy to verify, and include useful information on the back (such as contact information, conference dates/hours, and rules and regulations). They may convey emergency response information, age, a photo ID, and convention access designations. And they have to work within the constraints of convention registration, which includes buying/generating a brand new, personally-identifiable badge on-site.
All these considerations typically trump your networking goals. If your convention has a "good networking badge", it may suck for use by the convention staff. (also, a lot of conventions don't learn from others and slowly, painfully evolve their badging. and the people designing these badges often never had to actually use the damn things)
Yes you should.
> Of course you can just print the same thing on both sides, but why not use the backside for something useful like a map of the space or basic agenda information?
Print the same thing (name, affiliation, etc.) on two pieces of paper facing either side, stick them in the plastic sleeve, put additional info between them. It's not that hard.
For pricey conferences that are very strict about replacing lost badges, I do want something that's solid. (which should probably be another badge best practice if you won't readily replace for free.)
Hello ... Mr. Brian?
We already have a well established international convention on how to write names. Why would anyone create their own?
> You should be able to read a badge with a quick and non-obvious/non-lingering glance
I'm looking forward to the day in which wearing name badges in your forehead is the accepted rule. There really is no way to look at someone's stomach "discretly".
Adjustable badges would help a bit, until you realise that the people whose name you should already know are often the people who don't bother adjusting their badges to begin with.
I never heard from them again. Nor should I. The GDPR pretty much got rid of data collection without explicitly informed consent and makes it trivial to withdraw at any point.
This should have been front and centre. The author's goal at conferences is to meet people - to be able to prowl through a crowd, pick out people who seem interesting, approach them, and be easily able to start a conversation with them.
He has designed a badge to support that - where everyone is required to display a large name and some credentials at all times. He has not designed a badge to support any other use cases. Whether this badge design works for you or your conference will depend on what your use cases are.
Or, as the article suggests, just let me supply an email address when vendors and sponsors ask.
Source? I've never heard this before and it's the opposite of what I would guess.
"Our finding that size thresholds for upper-case text were lower than those for lower-case text in Experiment 1 are not surprising, and corroborate the findings of (M. Tinker, 1963) that at great viewing distance (as simulated by small visual size), upper-case text is more legible, even in a font with a relatively large x-height, which might be expected to minimize upper- and lower-case differences. Other fonts, which typically have smaller x-heights, might be expected to show upper-case text to have even greater relative legibility. Contrary to Tinker’s findings, and the conventional wisdom, is the result that upper-case text is more legible in terms of reading speed, for readers with reduced acuity due to visual impairment, and in normally-sighted readers when text is visually small. This result may have practical significance as well; it suggests that, apart from economic considerations of how much space a given sample of text occupies, letter size determines legibility for low vision readers and for those viewing visually small text; and when point size is fixed, upper-case text is simply more legible, albeit less aesthetically appealing, than lower-case."
Of course, some get downright silly. Look at some European conferences (e.g The Economist) and you get about a 25 title dropdown with all sorts of aristocratic titles (Earl, Duke, Your Holiness, etc.)
I prefer to be addressed as 'Mr. Lastname,' not as 'Yo, Firstname!'; a mechanism for me to indicate that preference makes sense.
> Of course, some get downright silly.
I don't see how 'His Grace' is any sillier than 'xir.' At the very least, it has many, many years of tradition behind it.
The idea behind adding pronouns is both to help avoid awkward situations both for people unintentionally appearing rude out of ignorance and people having to point out how they'd like to be referred to.
> Also it’s nice to allow your attendees the option to add pronouns to their badge.
"Also it’s nice to allow your attendees the option to add pronouns to their badge."
Like ok we get it... You're at io... Apparently that's all that matters. No one needs meet other people. They just need to compliment each other on going to io.