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Suffolk Show Goes Mobile
24 May 2013

The use of mobile devices to access the internet is booming with over 31M people in the UK now owning a smartphone. At the current rate, mobile internet browsing is expected to overtake fixed access internet browsing by 2014. 

Agricultural shows are not always associated with being at the cutting edge with new mobile technology. However this year, the Suffolk Agricultural Association has embraced the use of mobile internet technology to deliver a new mobile responsive website design for the visitor to the 2013 Suffolk Show.

With over 90,000 people visiting their 100 hectare site over a 2 day period, good communications is essential. The new mobile responsive website is a key component delivering additional speed and ease of navigation, making it easier for people to not only buy tickets, but view event information, tradestands and results - to really help the visitors make the most of Suffolk’s largest two days out.

The new website has been developed to elevate user experience on the website. Its streamlined design allows users to easily navigate Show information - from traffic information and purchasing tickets, to viewing Show schedules and this year’s exhibitors.

Shift from desktop to mobile

In some areas of internet usage such as social networking we can already see the shift away from desktop towards mobile. Currently around 30% of smartphone owners use their mobile devices to access the internet every day, with 60% accessing the internet at least once a week. 

The most rapid growth is among younger people, where 83% of internet-connected 11 to 18 - year-olds use mobile devices , dropping to 78% of 25-34 year old, and around 10% for the over 65 year olds.

Mobile internet is not just about smartphones, with laptops and tablets still popular particularly with free public Wifi being widely available. However, within the smartphone devices it is no surprise that the Apple iPhone is #1 accounting for 28% of UK subscribers, with Samsung catching up rapidly at 24% having increased by 12.8% in just 12 months. 

The smartphones and mobile internet marketing is still evolving, with the Android operating systems now accounting for 46.6% of the all devices, however Nokia is looking to re-establish itself with devices using the Windows operating system, and new entrants such as the Sailfish powered Jolla smartphone being announced this week. 

Responsive technology solution

Free Rein has been working with the Suffolk Agricultural Association for over six years, providing online marketing and website development expertise for the Suffolk Show and Trinity Park, including search, social media and e-newsletter marketing. 

Over the years the design and capabilities for the websites have evolved as technology and user requirements develop and in 2013 the Suffolk Agricultural Association asked Free Rein Ltd to give them advice on how best to embrace the shift to the mobile internet.

Free Rein has considerable experience in building web applications for mobile devices having delivered the Heritage Connect Lincoln website, the Ipswich Central promotional website, and a prototype i-Phone App for the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

Having evaluated Suffolk Agricultural Associations requirements for the Suffolk Show website, the mobile network coverage at their Show Ground, and the range of technical options available, Free Rein adopted the Twitter Bootstrap framework.

With Bootstrap the technical team only have to develop one solution. Bootstrap dynamically adjust the way the website content is presented to take best advantage of the screen resolution and functionality offered by different devices; Desktop PC, Laptop, Tablet or Smartphone. The layout of the webpages adapts to the different devices. The navigation, site structure, graphics and images are all prioritised and dynamically adapt to give the best possible user experience.

Commenting on the approach adopted by Free Rein – Tony Addison said “By using an Adaptive Design and the Bootstrap Framework we can deliver a mobile accessible website which works well regardless of whether you are accessing via a Smartphone, Tablet, Laptop or even desktop computer. Using an Adaptive Design Free Rein can deliver a single solution which works across a range of devices, saving costs and reducing the delivery timescale. It doesn’t matter whether you have an iPhone, Blackberry or Android based smartphone since the Responsive Design website is accessed using a standard browser and is not dependent upon having a native application developed and installed for each device.”

To buy tickets for Suffolk Show and try out the new website please visit  www.suffolkshow.co.uk .