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San Diego Comic-Con makes big changes for Hall H: Will you finally get in?

Hall H line at SDCC 2011
Hall H line at SDCC 2011
Creative Commons / PopCultureGeek

The first rule of attending San Diego Comic-Con is Be Patient. Although well organized and administered by the scores of full-time and volunteer staff, the lines for some panels often form hours in advance, with the biggest waits traditionally saved for Hall H and Ballroom 20.

While not yet addressing Ballroom 20, home to most of the convention's television programming, Comic-Con just announced big changes for Hall H, where the majority of big-studio movie programming and special interest panels occur.

For the first time in the convention's history, SDCC organizers will implement a new system for the initial morning line-up for Hall H that they're calling Toucan Trackers. (The Toucan is the official mascot of San Diego Comic-Con). The goal is to help attendees get a better sense for their chance at entry into the big hall each morning. Staff will hand out color-coded wristbands to indicate the likelihood of entry from that particular position on line. While this may sound tame for the uninitiated, this is a real game-changer for attendees who line up for hours upon hours without knowing they have a chance to make it through the doors.

The organizers should be commended for making this effort. Staff will now communicate from a more informed position on the front lines, and attendees will finally have an opportunity for better time management. If the system says they will not make it in, they can find the next best panel of interest and head out to a new, likely manageable, line in a different location.

Trust in the system may be a factor in adoption as the wristbands are implemented, but hopefully as the convention gets underway and wristbands are distributed, attendees will embrace the change and use it to inform their planning and activities.

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