New Formal Signup System

This is a historic post. UCFormal is now launched!


Click here to register and use UCFormal

Click here to read the latest post about UCFormal


Best wishes,
Andrew (UCFormal developer)


In time for next year, a brand new and exciting formal signup system is arriving. Ross Windell and I are making UCFormal – a fast, fun and intelligent way to sign up to our traditional dinners, with great support for billing, schedules, messaging and more. It is being developed by Andrew Taylor (that’s me), your Computer Officer and Ross is the one to thank for moving Castle forward with a drive for fresh software. Okay, let’s look at the features!


Live Signups

As live registrations happen, you can now see the spaces available decrease in real time.

UCFormal has a great new interface. You are presented with all formals you’re eligible to sign up to on a clean-looking page. A live clock counts down the time in seconds in the very top right hand corner; notification sounds are played with the clock, too. Next to the clock, UCFormal shows you in real time how many places (incl. guests) are available on the formal.

The ‘Sign Up Closed’ button changes to ‘Proceed’ the instance signup opens. When you click it, you are given a maths challenge. You are required to solve a very easy-to-read question like 5*8 and enter how many guests you’d like. UCFormal shows the maximum allowed in this box for the current formal.

Then it gets really cool. A coloured loading bar decreases from 100% down to 0%, showing the number of spaces available, as well as the names of people who signed up. If you didn’t get on, you’ll see yourself and any guests on the Reserves list, which is now a lot easier to read as well.

At any time, you can also check out the competition, and see how many other people are currently on UCFormal waiting to sign up.



Hindu diet? Intolerant with milk? No need to type this each time – just save it and UCFormal will pass this to the catering team for you.

One of the features of the last system which was irritating for those with dietary requirements was that it was necessary to type them in each time. If you were veggie or allergic to Moët you’d need to mention this for each formal, which slowed you down unfairly. The same for people with long names. My new system lets you save complete profiles of yourself, with up to 16 carefully-chosen different dietary requirements, and the option to add your own. When you sign up to a formal, no one else will be able to see your dietary needs – only the Services Manager and the catering team – this is just one of many small improvements to protect your data and give you a nicer experience. You only need to enter this information once, and can change it at any time, even after you sign up to an event.


Personal Dashboard

UCFormal gives everyone a personal dashboard, where you can quickly see your profile information, some stats like how many formals you’ve been to, how much money you’ve spent, how you spent it, how many guests you’ve invited over all time, et cetera. You can also change your notification preferences here, and update things like your password.


Clear Schedules

You can now easily and clearly see a published list of the next four available formals. This is called the schedule. It shows important information like the date of the formal, the costs for different diners, the time signup opens, the number of JCR spaces and guest spaces, and the menu for the event.



With my new software, you’ll get great insight into all of your formal attendance, and how much it’s cost. You’ll be able to see your current balance at any time, and search past bills from an easy-to-use dropdown search with autocomplete. The system will also show you subtotals for your guests and for yourself.


Messaging and Notifications

Nope, it doesn’t have stories, but UCFormal will give you a personal notification when any of the following happens:

  • you’re confirmed for a formal
  • some or all of your guests didn’t get on because guest spaces got full before
  • you have a bill to pay
  • a formal you signed up to gets cancelled by the Services Manager
  • you or a guest get moved off the reserve list and onto the confirmed list
  • the details for a formal change; i.e. the date, the signup time, the prices, the capacities or the menu

… and also for some fun stuff:

  • you set a record for the fastest signup time ever
  • you are the fastest to sign up for a formal
  • you have the biggest bill ever
  • you invite the most guests ever
    • in a term
    • in a year


I hope you’re excited for its launch. You must also thank Ross Windell, the incoming Services Manager, who has helped me greatly with the planning of the system. We would love to hear about any more features you’d like on UCFormal… get in touch with one of us on Facebook.

Andrew Taylor
Computer Officer