Guardian Cultural Professionals Network invitation

On Thursday evening I went along to the Guardian’s offices for a get-together celebrating a year(ish) of their Cultural Professionals Network. I’ve written the odd thing for them in the past, hence the invitation.

It was a very pleasant evening . There was some drinking and chatting before we were ushered upstairs for an introduction from the network’s editor, Nancy Groves. She made way for the folks mentioned on the invitation above who had an informal, entertaining chat. Then there was more drinking and chatting and we left.

A bit about mobile

Someone, I forget who, made the point that arts organisations should concentrate on making their websites mobile-friendly, rather than thinking about developing apps. I don’t disagree with that at all. Thing is, as someone working at a digital agency, I don’t think that kind of thinking is a problem these days.

I know that there was a lot of discussion about arts organisations making apps a few years back, with a handful of relative successes touted around all the conferences (hello Streetmuseum and Tate Trumps). For the most part, although many people were asking “should  we make an app?” very few actually went ahead and did it. They couldn’t afford it and the cheap, off-the-shelf solutions were all pretty dire.

Apps tended to be the preserve of the larger institutions, with the cash to build them coming from sponsors keen to capitalise on the PR value that you could build around an app launch. They might not have made much strategic sense for the organisations themselves, but if someone’s waving cash at you what are you meant to do? I suspect the novelty value and/or the sponsorship money has died off now, because those types of app are fewer and further between.

It’s not even as if we’re having to steer clients towards thinking about mobile-friendly websites – it’s become a standard part of the discussions we have and the briefs we’re sent. In fact, I think we’ve only had a couple of requests for mobile apps in the past year (and the one that we built actually did rather well).

Looking at the work we’ve got on at Made Media at the moment, pretty much all of the sites we’re developing for arts organisations will be mobile and tablet-friendly. We’ve produced quite a few already and have used them to build up a body of evidence showing:

  • the effect mobile sites have on traffic levels and conversion rates
  • which types of mobile sites work best
  • how user needs differ between desktop and mobile devices

Not that we need all of this information to convince clients. At this stage, it’s used to help us produce better and better work. Maybe our clients are all just smarter than the average. Either way, I don’t suppose it can hurt to keep pushing the message.

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.

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