Going Mobile

Best Practices : Article

Since I’m not willing to camp out in front of the Apple Store, it’s going to be a few weeks until my iPhone 5 arrives. When it does, it will bring the count of cell phones that I’ve owned up to a dozen. I’ve come a long way from the Motorola bag phone.

Now, no one leaves the house without their phone—and that’s typically a smart phone. May of 2012 was the first time that Nielsen showed that the majority of US consumers were using smartphones. There are similar trends underway in Europe and Asia.

As smartphones start to become ubiquitous, associations need to start giving serious consideration their mobile strategy. Here’s a quick checklist of things to think about:

  1. Is your web site mobile friendly? Whether it’s substituting Flash for more IOS-friendly graphics or building a fully dedicated, streamlined mobile site, it’s important to consider mobile users in your site design. A great list of mobile web best practices can be found at http://mobilewebbestpractices.com/
  2. Is mobile part of your face-to-face meeting strategy? The days of massive printed program guides are numbered, if not already behind us. Increasingly, mobile apps are becoming a critical part of conference and member meeting communications. Consider creating a mobile app for your event that allows sharing of contact info, presentations, agendas and more. These apps don’t have to be complicated or expensive, but they can really facilitate a more productive event for your members.
  3. Has your Board gone mobile? The large “Board binder” got replaced by emailing documents a few years ago. That’s great, but does require a bit of juggling of multiple documents during the meeting. I’ve been impressed by a number of “board book” apps that are popping up. Check out http://www.boardbooks.com/ for a great example of how such apps can transform your board meetings.
  4. Do you have strong mobile policies? I’ve got a 14-year-old daughter. So I know first-hand how distracting texting can be. For Board meetings, I often establish “in flight rules,” asking folks to “put away and stow all portable electronic devices” prior to the meeting starting. It’s often the only way to get everyone’s undivided attention and ensure that critical business gets done.
  5. What’s next? One of the hottest trends in mobile is mobile payment—customers using their cell phones as payment devices and merchants using mobile devices for card acceptance. Be prepared for member expectations in both of these areas to increase in coming years – particularly around member meetings and industry events — as the technology becomes more pervasive.

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