This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a concert featuring James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt, and the show was fantastic. Along with members of my family and 20,000 of our closest friends, we had a great time enjoying the music of these legendary artists, as well as the awesome array of accompanying musicians.
Like many, I grew up listening to James Taylor and have a large collection of his music. Hearing those songs again triggered memories from different periods in my life, and it struck me that I’ve listened to JT on vinyl, 8-track, cassette, compact disc, and these days in purely digital form.
The progression from analog to digital illustrates the impact technology has had upon our daily lives. As I observed the behaviors of many present at the concert, I could not help but consider today’s connected world – and its relevance to almost all that we do.
While most age groups were represented in the attending crowd, the majority appeared to be 60-65+ years of age. Our seats were up high, so from my vantage point I could observe the entire arena – which was completely full.
- Prior to the start of the show, I could see that many people were using their phones to send text messages, view Facebook pages, check email, etc. A couple in the row down from us both had their phones out. She was monitoring Facebook while he intently played a game involving many colored squares. Keep in mind that these people were all in their late sixties – perhaps early seventies.
- The lights lowered – signaling the start of the show. As Bonnie Raitt took the stage, I was surprised to see that many of those people continued with what they were doing.
- Throughout the entire evening, I could see a large number of screens illuminated as people continuously monitored their phones. They weren’t taking pictures or video – their phones were in their laps.
This behavior impressed me simply because the ticket prices – especially for those sitting on the floor of the arena – were significant. I found it telling that so many people couldn’t put their phones down long enough to enjoy the entertainment they had paid for.
We are aware that mobile accessibility and responsive web design are important to successfully engaging incentive and recognition program participants. Some clients (albeit less frequently these days) are reluctant to move away from printed catalogs because they assume a large percentage of their group does not have online access.
My observations of the crowd around me seem to contradict this assumption. In fact, in 2016, over 286 million Americans (88.5% penetration) had access to the Web via desktop, tablet, smartphone, or another device. In the United States, 71% of all online minutes are from a mobile device.
I know that this news is hardly ground-breaking – we see this behavior all the time. Next time you have an opportunity to observe a public gathering, I’ll bet that you will see it, too. And if you are responsible for your organization’s web presence or incentive program website – make sure you employ responsive web design to maximize accessibility in this connected world. Because people are connected wherever they go.