A Progressive Trade Show App that Connected Without Connectivity
Using Umbraco Heartcore, Blend helped Raven Industries create a trade show application that allowed for easy editorial access while being completely internet-free under the trade show tent.
The promise of a trade show is one of connectivity. Of meeting people. Making friendships. Closing deals. Gathering data and spec sheets, and seeing the product firsthand.
This is especially true in the world of agricultural technology — where the open sky meets a friendly clientele. But while there are a lot of ways to connect in the field — from seeing equipment firsthand to shaking hands with fellow farmers — there’s one place where connectivity can run a bit thin: the internet itself. So when your trade show booth includes an interactive web app, the big question isn’t just whether people will respond positively — it’s whether the site will respond at all.
In other words, how do you make a web application that doesn’t need the web?
This was our task for agricultural technology leader Raven Industries: to create a trade show display application that allowed editors to create, update, and maintain content while still working while disconnected from the internet. To do this, we turned to Umbraco Heartcore, the headless version of the friendly CMS.
The app itself, designed to be accessed on mobile tablets while inside a trade show tent, allows attendees to explore and experience Raven’s line of automated farming technology — from finding product videos to signing up for updates. Attendees are able to answer a set of simple questions and find out their next steps, or they could dive deep into spec sheets. Behind the scenes, Blend helped build a content model that followed a more traditional web structure, putting a familiar and editor-friendly content process in the hands of the editorial team.
With structure and design figured out, our next step was to help cloud-based content within Umbraco live while disconnected from the internet. A bulk of the content you see on a website lives in different places across the web — we had to make sure that, at the time of a trade show, that content also lived right on the tablet itself.
This meant creating a React-based “single page app” using Gatsby, a progressive web app generator that allows for internet-free functionality. By embedding all of this within Electron — an app that provides its own web server and embeds all content — we were able to make sure content updates become *app* updates.
That’s a lot of technology for one solution, so we can sum it up this way — Raven’s trade show app makes sure editors can manage content with the confidence that it will all be in the right place when the internet cuts out.
Finally, design and modeling focused not just on this specific use, but also on the future. We helped create an experience that can be expanded for new products, as well as allowing the app itself to eventually break away from the trade show booth and into the hands of sales representatives and Raven customers.
A web app without the internet. We’d say we’ve seen it all, but that’s the thrill of web development — there’s always a new use case to explore.
- Developed an internet-optional application to be used anywhere a tablet can be set up
- Designed user paths that satisfied attendee needs and Raven’s sales goals
- Integrated video, surveys, and data sheets in a seamless package
- Leveraged Umbraco’s editor-friendly interface to create an app-like experience