In the early years of internet abstract submission collection, bandwidth and storage issues put significant hurdles in the way of quick, easy media uploads. Straightforward text abstracts and their inherent flexibility have also gotten the job done for a long time. Text can be printed into booklets that you can pass out, adjusted for desktop or mobile screens without shrinking the font, and is generally easy to edit, copy, or paste with word-processing software.
If traditional abstract submissions work so well, then why would anyone want to spend the time and resources to work a media upload function into your abstract submission process? In short, the last 20 years of advances in internet architecture and computer storage systems have made large media files much easier to work with.
While media uploads in abstract submissions are not always necessary, they could represent an untapped opportunity to better engage or inform your audience in the right circumstances. Here are just a few practical reasons to consider offering media uploads in your next abstract submission process:
1. The speaker’s point might be hard to summarize.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words. One chart or diagram could illustrate the interactions in a concise, visual way that allows the presenter to give much more clarity to readers or reviewers. In this case, a text paragraph is only a supplement to the image.
The scientific publication Elsevier offers up the graphic to the right as an example of a graphical abstract from a published article on “cross-talk between activation of microglia and astrocytes in pathological conditions in the central nervous system.” The web of interrelationships is much easier to quickly grasp in a flow chart like this than it would be in text alone.
2. Graphics and videos capture the imagination.
Media uploads also give speakers at your conference an easy way to inspire or intrigue attendees with the session topic. Try encouraging authors or presenters to record short videos (perhaps 3 to 5 minutes in length) to include with their abstract submission. These can serve as a short teaser that personally explains the value or reasoning of their work in more conversational language. These videos could then be shared publicly on your conference website to stimulate discussion or debate around the subject and encourage attendees to sign up.
It often helps if speakers combine their footage with imagery, animations, or recordings of live moments from the research. Some might want to address the camera directly, while others would be more comfortable narrating a deck of slides with audio commentary.
This example of a video abstract from Nurse Educator is a 3-minute PowerPoint accompanied by audio narration. The text abstract is included right below it in the video gallery to interest viewers in reading the rest of the article (which is accessible via a link). If your abstracts are for an annual meeting, this would make a perfect teaser to draw in attendees.
3. A variety of media expands your reach.
One potential attendee could be at home on their iPad, drawn in by an interesting chart from an abstract posted on the association’s Facebook page. Now they can click a link to go to your website and peruse the annual meeting agenda. Another yearly attendee might receive an email with a video interview of a featured speaker, as a compelling sample of this year’s meeting material.
Media uploads in the abstract submission stage build opportunities to go beyond the constraints of written abstracts. Shared as promotional content, images and videos can boost your event’s visibility by connecting with your audience through their favorite channels.
4. Everybody wins.
- Speakers have more ways to clearly showcase their ideas
- Reviewers can better grasp content while scoring abstract submissions
- Attendees get a bigger picture to excite them for your session topics
We designed OpenWater to make media attachments quick to upload, simple to store, and easy to access on your end. Even if you’ve never worked with media uploads in your abstract management system before, they could be an idea worth exploring in your next event.