This is our underwhelming experience with Dryfta in our international conference held in Spain this year in March:
- Multilingual issues: although it is advertised as multilingual, it didn’t really work as such. The many issues that popped up throughout the conference preparation were fixed little by little to our cost in time, help desk emails and struggles with the unfriendly UX.
- Admin pages reloaded everytime you clicked on a button (their developers seem to ignore Ajax technologies) therefore being time consuming and requiring constant page searches.
- Inflexibility in many of the supposed functionalities it offers.
- Certificates were not modifiable nor custom when we had to send them (it was solved months after the conference finished when we were surprisingly contacted by the help desk).
- Problems with size of images to be displayed on the site, very small fonts and limited options to display content. We had to hire a professional developer in order to get a graphically consistent and presentable website.
- Very poor mobile version: too big margins, unreadable texts, endless text blocks and lists, distorted pictures.
- Issues with the ordering of the authors’ names for the different proposals (authorship being so important in research).
- Fixed inflexible fields in the contact sheets, speakers info and so on.
- Special character issues (due to latin characters and other types used in linguistic research).
- Not being able to include links in the HTML editor due to DRYFTA unadverted decisions to block them.
- Only one superadmin user allowed to access the full functionalities of the platform, so we had to share it (consequently not knowing who did each action).
- Problems with the generation of reports and very high complexity in their interface.
- Some issues on the mandatory anonymity: the double blind review process not fully respected due to unclear user info and options, with other issues coming up on the go such as unwanted info in automated notifications and messages in welcome dashboard.
- Not really willing to help with Paypal instant payment notification’s issues during registration and not being able to use the other payment method on the platform because they were incompatible with the conference country.
- Missing information and time wasted when creating events for sessions with info already existing in the server that randomly failed to be picked. These issues were reported even with video proofs (help desk didn’t believe us), and were never solved. We had to repeat the same processes again and again, never knowing what was going on.
All these issues showed up as the different steps in the organisation of a conference were taken. Some of them were solved… most of them too late, once the conference was already over.
Considering that the platform was supposed to have been used already for many other conference teams, we do not understand how all these issues came up in ours. We were not asking for anything unusual but rather for issues all conference organizers must go through during the preparation and celebration stages. It is true that whenever we came across some problem and notified it to the admins, their answers were quick, but they were in many cases unsatisfactory, didn’t meet our deadlines or were even disregarded due to their “impossibility to add our requests to their roadmaps” on time.
To sum up, we would say that the experience was negative and way time consuming. The amount of time invested by three people, almost 2300 hours invested, is too much for a supposedly already established and fully functional congress platform.