I love the power of technology: how it can transform a time consuming task into something automated. How creating an APP can provide an immediate portal for specific information on an event. How streamlining systems can free up your time. WONDERFUL!
APPS are being used for events more frequently. The advantage is that organisers don’t have the expense of printing material; they can update information very quickly and if necessary, contact individuals rapidly if there is a change of plan. I have attended events where there is an option to download an app, although there are downloadable documents to print off as an alternative option.
However, last week was the first time I had attended an event where the ONLY option for information and communication was an APP. What was particularly interesting was that this was aimed at the events/hospitality industry.
When I arrived and asked the lovely people on the information desk for a map, they were terribly apologetic: saying that only the APP was available. They informed me that many people were unable to download the APP onto their phones and even those that could were struggling to see the plan of the exhibition on their mobile phone screens. Believe me there was lots of moaning and the poor lovely people on the information desk were saints, dealing with this.
I wondered why the organisers decided to push the visitors to the exhibition down one route only, preventing choice. Of course there are benefits to using APPS: you don’t have the expense of printing brochures (previous exhibitions had heavy, glossy exhibition guides available to everyone). You can update last minute changes and there is a benefit to NOT carrying heavy brochures/catalogues around the exhibition.
But, instead, people were either struggling to read the exhibition plan on their small screened mobile phones; huddled round the limited number of wall maps displayed at the exhibition, or getting completely lost. It did, however, provide a talking point!
The fact is that we take in communications in different ways. Some people are happy to download APPS onto their phones – but if you don’t have the right sort of phone this is a problem! Others (particularly ‘Old School’ visitors) like the security of holding an exhibition plan/map in their hands, so they can plan their visit and won’t get lost. A few people also like the luxury of having a catalogue/brochure that has a lot of information. They can read it when they are at the exhibition; scribble notes and read on the way home.
I appreciate that printing – particularly brochures, is an expensive option, but if many visitors are left dissatisfied with the communications or they are unable to access the only information available, you have to review this.
Possibly, there should be a choice for people who wish to pre-order a brochure; definitely maps/plans should be printed, and for any APP to be compatible with more types of phone.
So in answer to my question: Are APPs the best way to provide information? They are a great way; not the only way and think outside the box so everyone’s needs are met.