Roundup Appbuilders Conference — Switzerland
Two days of talks, all centered around the topic of app development. There was a good mix between technical talks, with concrete tipps and advice, and non-technical talks focused on inspiration or design-topics.
The conference took place in Technopark Zurich. I have seen nicer looking buildings, but we are not architects (of buildings at least), so it served its purpose.
The event took place for the first time, so I expected some difficulties, which was largely unfounded. The line at the check-in on Monday morning was getting pretty long, but it didn’t seem to affect anyone’s mood. This was maybe because everyone was looking forward to the great lineup of speakers. Kudos to the organizers for the selection! It seemed like there was quite some time invested in finding good speakers — definitely time invested at the right place. The talks are probably the most important part to make a great conference.
The other major part (however less controllable by the organizers) are the attendees. Conference veteran Steve Scott mentioned in his opening talk, that every conference has its own “vibe” and he was curious how this will develop in the two days. Personally I found it to be a very pleasant environment, with a lot of interesting people. Even though the majority of the crowd was Swiss it was remarkable how many people made their way to Zurich from all over the world.
Following a short wrap-up of two talks that I attended and found interesting:
Non-technical ways to be a better developer by Marin Todorov
One of my personal highlights of the conference. Marin took us on a personal journey of his own life story and very honestly shared the frustrations he encountered in his career and the strategies he developed to deal with them (amongst others meditation). Also he showed the public a simple trick how to win 10 free evenings of your life in just 1 second: The next time someone asks you to “help out on this awesome app, that has to be finished in two weeks, because one of the main developers just quit, and you’ll be paid outrageously well — in stock options — once the business is running” just say NO!
Simple Psychology as the Key to Better User Experience by Preben Thorø
Apparently the title of the talk struck a chord with many attendees — the room was filled to the last seat. Preben Thorø showed the public why it makes sense to use physical shapes, that people already know out of the “real” world, for guiding users in digital environments. A button with shadows is perceived as clickable, because we know that’s how it works in the physical world. The use of skeuomorphic design elements definitely makes sense coming from this logic.
The inevitable question was asked by someone in the audience: why then did Google and Apple shift to flat design? Thorø ‘s answer: Once users have gotten used to what digital interfaces can do, it might make sense to shift to a more flat design giving the content more room and emphasis. A funny part of the talk was about the use of icons. How does the young generation interpret the telephone-icon or the save-icon. People that never saw a floppy disk actually might see a garage (where you can store things) or a store-front.
Over all: A great two days and definitely on the agenda for the second edition in 2017!