On-site conference registration

The registration desk is where on-site conference registration takes place, and is also a place for people to ask questions, sign up for lightning talks, and similar tasks.

The volunteer coordinator is usually also the on-site registration manager, due to the close overlap between the tasks. The registration desk is staffed with volunteers.

Registration is typically quite busy the morning of the writing day, the morning of the first conference day, and during the opening reception. During these times, two volunteers are assigned to the registration desk. Other times can be very quiet.

The desk usually also has Write the Docs swag and is the place to sign up for lightning talks.

Registration setup

The registration desk needs:

  • Two copies of the full attendee list.
  • Printed badges.
  • Blank badges.
  • Temporary badges.
  • Lanyards in different colors.
  • Pens, including pens that write well on blank badges.

Registration is split into two queues by last name, typically A-L and M-Z. However, some regions have large biases towards certain letters in last names, so a different split may work better. One attendee list can be used for each half of the last names. There should be signage to indicate which last names should go to which queue.

Lay out badges by first letter of the last name. Speaker badges can be included in the regular collection of badges.

Temporary badges do not contain any name, but are marked “temporary attendee”. These are for attendees that are allowed to enter for a limited time, but do not have a conference ticket, like the friend of a speaker coming to see a single talk.


Write the Docs conferences use different colors for lanyards:

  • Black for regular attendees who are ok with being in photos.
  • White for regular attendees who do not want photographs published.
  • Yellow for conference staff.
  • Purple for on duty volunteers (may be worn off duty too).
  • Red for vendors.
  • Green for temporary badges.

Tasks of the on-site registration manager

The on-site registration manager should be at the registration desk during the busiest times to solve any issues, and have access to Tito to look up registration details. During the night, they should move all attendee lists and badges to a locked room to preserve the privacy of attendees.

Registration process for volunteers

For each attendee, the volunteers should:

  • Check whether the person is in the attendee list, and cross them off from the list.
  • Find the attendee’s badge and hand it to them.
  • Explain the difference between black and white lanyards, and let the attendee take whichever they prefer. Staff and vendors are marked as such in the attendee list, and they get a yellow or red lanyard.
  • Roughly point out the location of the main conference, cloak room, toilets, badge flair and any swag they can take.
  • If someone is in the wrong last name queue, direct them to the correct one (they don’t have to go to the back of the queue).
  • Temporary attendees will be on a separate list, including when they can enter. They get a temporary badge with green lanyard.

Important notes:

  • Some attendees will bring a printed ticket. This is not required, but can be helpful in correctly guessing the spelling of their last name.
  • If an attendee is in the attendee list, but does not have a badge, they likely registered too late or changed the registration. They can take a blank badge to write their name on it.
  • If an attendee is not in the attendee list, they can not register, even if they do have a badge. An organiser will have to be involved. The exception to this is when they say they are taking someone else’s place, and that person is on the list. In that case, cross off that person, write the attendee’s name next to it, and let the attendee write their name on a blank badge.

Regardless of the number of signs, people will often not queue up correctly by last name, so it may be needed to direct people to the right queue, especially during busy moments.

If registration gets particularly busy, the on-site registration manager or floater can already hand out white or black lanyards to people in the queue, guide them to split up correctly, and provide other information like the venue layout.