I’ve been a Meetup.com event organizer for something like 10 years.
During that time, I’ve managed events for five meetup groups. I estimate I hosted 400+ events in the past decade with the Meetup.com platform.
When Meetup.com first came out, I was ecstatic to have a unified event management tool.
It was free, over time they started charging low fees. Which I didn’t mind, because it offered what I needed for managing meetup events.
Throughout the years, features were added and improved:
- Easy registration
- Mailing list
- Discussion area
- Photo gallery
- Ability to customize with HTML
The usability and accessibility weren’t the best, but the design team was open to suggestions and slowly made changes.
The New Meetup.com Design
However, two years ago, when the new Meetup.com site was released, that all changed.
The brand new design promised to be responsive and mobile friendly.
However, it was anything but friendly and usable.
Dear @meetup_support, why would you remove all links on text in event description and provide it in parentheses after the text?
— Deborah Edwards-Onoro (@redcrew) January 10, 2018
And definitely not focused on accessibility.
For desktop users, mobile users, and especially, event organizers.
Oh @Meetup please take your site back to the old format while you fix all the issues. I love your site but the redesign is making simple tasks infuriatingly complicated.
— Millie Jackson Rowe (@milsjacksonrowe) December 19, 2017
For meetup organizers, the experience was about 100 steps back to the days of the early web.
I agree, Meni. It’s six months later and @Meetup_support still believes removing hyperlinks is a good user experience. It’s not.
— Deborah Edwards-Onoro (@redcrew) July 12, 2018
What was standard in the old design:
- Link text
- Adding imagery
- Customizing content with HTML
no longer existed.
Despite numerous requests from the community as well as meeting with accessibility meetup organizers, nothing changed.
Except the Meetup.com fees increased.
After two years, our Refresh Detroit leadership said no more.
Refresh Detroit Moves to More Usable and Accessible Event Management
As Refresh Detroit organizers, Nick DeNardis and I talked about our group and mission and decided to make a change.
We couldn’t continue justifying using Meetup.com since our group’s mission and events are focused on usability, accessibility, and web standards.
With Meetup.com not prioritizing usability and accessibility on their platform, we’ve chosen to use a different event management approach.
Since 2006, we’ve hosted events at low or no cost through sponsorships. And we’ll continue to host events in the city of Detroit using the following strategy:
- Events will be announced on Eventbrite and our Refresh Detroit website
- Our new Mailchimp mailing list will share upcoming events and announcements to our members
I invite you to stay updated with our Refresh Detroit events and announcements.
With the event management changes we’ve made for Refresh Detroit, we’ve taken steps to provide a more usable and accessible experience for our members. Let us know what you think of the changes.