Ok – so I don’t have a good punch line for that joke. But I can say that my staff and I have been listening to your feedback and concerns regarding our push to digital assets (i.e. the app). Rather than give you the run-around, you will be getting the dead honest truth from me (Matt) on the app, the decisions that went into having an app, and what we are doing going forward.
Photo Courtesy of Brian Roberts
Prior to Carolyn’s retirement she had been pushing to have a mobile app. Three years ago we met with our in-house software team on the creation of our own mobile application. Those talks laid the groundwork for the app you experienced last year and our app going forward. Early in 2015, Carolyn, who is always a forward thinker, believed the future in show programs and guides would be a mobile app and tasked me and my assistant with finding a mobile application for the show.
Long story short – we were over sold and under delivered by the mobile app company. The app became “bloated” with so much information and just didn’t work to my expectations.
The decision to not have printed materials available was a difficult one. Human beings are creatures of habit – if we provided printed materials no one would use the app, however we did underestimate the number of individuals who would not be using the app. This was a mistake on our part.
Photo Courtesy of Brian Roberts
You may ask yourself – going forward what are you going to do about all this.
First and foremost – Road will have a few different options to choose from for a show guide – both printed and as part of a mobile application. It is very important to me that you are given the best Quilt Show experience that I can offer you. As such we have made the following changes to our Show Guide platform.
- I encourage each and every one of you who has a smartphone (or tablet) to download our new mobile app when it is available. We will be releasing a different mobile app closer to the show (more details on that below.)
- We will have a show guide complete with Vendor listings and map available on our website in printable format on January 1. For those of you who do not have a smart phone, we highly recommend you download and print the Show Guide in advance.
- We will have a very limited supply of printed copies of the show guide available for purchase at the show. The copies will cost somewhere between $3-$5.
The Mobile App
Photo courtesy of Apple, Inc.
Last year we attempted to use a mobile app platform that was specifically designed for Trade Shows and Events. Not only did some of you find this difficult to use, we found it difficult to use as well. The app was not designed specifically for our consumers, and unlike our other technology services was an “off the shelf” option.
Needless to say, we are not using the same company for this years app. We have contracted with a tech start-up company to develop a mobile application system specific to the needs of our quilters. The app will be trimmed down, sleek and easy to use. We are focusing on the sections that you used the most: (1) Comment Wall, (2) Maps, (3) Vendor Listing, and (4) Class Listing and Locations.
The new app will require a new app store download (as the old Road to California app is technically owned by the old company and we are unable to update it…) The content is available to the public, however if you wish to post on the comment wall you will be required to create a login, or use one of your existing social media accounts.
We will keep you up to date when the new app is available to download.
Downloadable Show Guide
The Show Guide is different than the old Show Book. The old Showbook was a huge book – oversized with all sorts of items that are not vitally important to your experience at Road. So – with this change, the new Show Guide will contain information that you need to know, Vendor Lists, Maps, Contestant Information, and brief information on the Special Exhibits. Sponsors will be listed as well, but that’s it. We estimate the book to be between 24-32 pages long at the most.
For those of you who do not want to print it at home, I highly recommend you go to Kinko’s or your local print shop and have it printed. When posted, the link will be on the main page of www.road2ca.com easily visible. Just tell the printer where to go and they shouldn’t have a problem printing it.
Guides Available for Purchase
I have never intended to make a profit on the printing of the Show Book, and this holds true to the Show Guide. However, as labor rates and printing material costs in California increase higher and higher, we have noticed that the losses of the Show Book as astronomical – not just the monetary losses, but the environmental losses.
Each year I would watch us dispose of dozens of boxes of the Showbook. Not only is that costs that we are absorbing, but the environmental impact of printing all the guides to not have them used was immense.
Why print so many? We were stuck in a situation where we could print books based off our estimated attendance and have a surplus or printed a reduced number and run out. Running out of books without a mobile app, or other option was not an acceptable alternative.
Therefore, we will have a very limited supply of printed books available. There will be a cost (between $3-$5 depending on the cost of having the books printed).
We welcome your feedback on this matter. Give the app a chance – and let us know how you liked it, and how it can be improved. We will be sending our surveys this year regarding your overall experience and specifically your experience with our app. We look forward to receiving your feedback.
In closing , for those of you who found the experience at Road without a Showbook a negative one – I heard you, and we are working to find a solution. I do hope that those of you who have a Smart Phone or Tablet will try our new mobile app.