According to research data on mobile device usage compiled by Nielsen in 2011, conference organizers can expect the following trends among attendees:
– 38 percent will bring a smartphone
– 4 percent will bring a tablet
– 8 percent will bring a netbook
Base on the information above, organizers can expect that those in attendance at the conference will at one point be using mobile devices powered by Android, iOS, Windows or other operating systems with an HTML5-compliant Web browser. This means that it is in the best interest of organizers to accommodate attendees by offering WiFi access. This also means that organizers have an opportunity to engage those in attendance by directing them to a mobile conference website or asking them to download and install an application.
While most attendees are likely to carry an iPhone or an Android-powered mobile device, not all are going to feel comfortable with downloading and installing an app in the middle of the conference. Virtually all modern mobile devices, however, feature Web browsers that are capable of displaying HMTL-5 content.
There should be no difference in the experience that attendees take away from the mobile app or the website. Both should have some level of offline browsing capability in case of limited WiFi access. The content and features should be the same, and the display should be responsive to accommodate the different screen sizes of today’s mobile devices. Taking time to customize the app or website and to add relevant content will go a long way in making the conference a pleasant experience.