Supplier and ContractorsReftechExhibition apps are about as useful as a chocolate teapot+
Exhibition apps are about as useful as a chocolate teapot, says Reftech’s Simon Clayton.
Exhibition apps are about as useful as a chocolate teapot – I’ve made this statement before, but recent experience has prompted me to discuss the subject again.
The vast majority of exhibition apps are simply awful – they are clunky, slow to use or just don’t enhance the visitor experience. Many of them seem to have been designed for a conference rather than an exhibition – and anyone in the industry knows that they are not the same thing. Some apps are ‘ok’, but is ‘ok’ enough to warrant the time and spend?
Exhibition apps are only used for a few days at most (for the duration of the event), so the user has to get to grips with the app very, very quickly. This means that the user experience needs to be as slick, fast, uncomplicated and as pain-free as possible. The gain has to outweigh the pain because people are busy, attention spans are short, and even just a few extra seconds load time can be make or break the experience.
I’ve recently witnessed exhibition organisers pay huge sums of money for an app that on the day turns out to be as useful as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest. But enough of the sarcastic comparisons, I’d like to look at why this happens.
I think it could be down to smoke and mirrors; the spec is discussed and exhibition organisers are promised the world but in reality they don’t have the technical expertise in-house to see that the product spec is fundamentally flawed and could never deliver.
The organiser trusts the app provider to deliver on their word, but when they don’t, the development is too far down the line, the show is almost upon them and the app budget is spent. They end up with a less that perfect app that cost them a small fortune.
I keep reading articles about app fatigue – how ‘we’ are getting fed up with apps and often view them as simply more crap that we just don’t need. I personally get rather frustrated by the daily requests to update my apps – I don’t have many of them, but I still seem to be updating five per day, which means that I delete many of them anyway. They can also eat up phone battery – even whilse not in use – which is one of the reasons why so many people carry back up power devices.
What’s the solution? First you should question whether your exhibition actually needs an app in the first place, and if you do, then plan out its functionality and more importantly, the key visitor benefits. Consider yourself as a customer – what are the apps that you regularly use and why do you use them? If you were in your visitor’s shoes, will the app appeal to you?
Get the basics right – think about the visitor and what they really want from the show experience and build the app around them. Get your techies involved from the start and ask lots and lots of questions. And then ask more questions and ask for proof that the app will deliver.
How hard can it be to create a fast loading and truly useful exhibition app? I think I’ll go and find out…