Every year has one or two simply awesome conferences which I can attend. But upcoming events will have a really hard time getting even close to the one I just returned from: Mobilism in Amsterdam.
The focus of this conference was the mobile web. So if you went there expecting talks about the latest tools and trends for native Android, iOS or BlackBerry apps, you (1) didn’t read the conference description on their site and (2) were probably a bit disappointed ;-) What you got instead were trends and techniques on how to offer the best experience for mobile users in the browser.
But let’s start with the infrastructure and venue: Felix Meritis is an art center in the south west corner of central Amsterdam. The former concert hall opened in 1788 now hosts political discussions, concerts, conferences and much more. An absolute stylish venue only about 10 minutes away from the central plaza. Compared to other conferences the wifi worked remarkably well. Sure, there were some outages, but nothing on a scale worth mentioning ;-)
The catering was really nice, too, although the local cuisine definitely takes some time getting used to :-) I’ve personally never wanted to eat a rice-dish with chicken, vegetables, nuts and raisins, but to my utter surprise it tasted great :-) Same goes for the beer: As my first one during the social event of the first evening I had a glas of Hoegaarden. I’m usually a wheat beer drinker so it definitely looked like something I’d really like. But when holding it in my hand a friend commented “This doesn’t look like beer”. Five seconds and a large sip later I answered “Nor does it taste like one” ;-) Not that this little cultural difference kept me from having probably too much Hoegaarden that evening :-P
So, now that the venue is out of the way, let’s get to the sessions. All talks were exceptional. On most other conferences I attended over the years I had some downtime simply because every 3rd or 4th talk was simply not all that interesting to me. Mobilism definitely broke that rule. While the topics were spread widely with talks ranging from mobile browser discussions down to the information architecture debate about should sites be designed for mobile users first, everything was very much focused on real world problems designers and developers face every day. And, I learnt something new in every talk!
Normally I’d take this opportunity to walk you through every single talk and share some notes but Luke Wrobleski already did that for the talks of the first day and most of the second day so I will just link to his posts, posts by others and the slides where available :-)
- Mobile First! by Luke Wrobleski (slides)
- The Future of the Mobile Web by Peter-Paul Koch (slides)
- Beyond the Mobile Web by Stephanie Riegel (slides)
- After HTML5: Mobile Device APIs and PhoneGap by Brian Leroux (slides)
- Devices, designs and enabling behaviours by Antony Ribot
- Mobile browser panel: Nokia, RIM, and Opera moderated by Jeremy Keith (video)
- High Performance Mobile by Steve Souders (slides)
- How to put the Mobile in the Mobile Web by Jen Hanen (slides)
- Meta layout: a closer look at media queries by Stephen Hay (slides)
- jQuery Mobile: Building tools for a changing web by Scott Jehl (slides)
- Muddling Through the Mobile Web, Designing for rapid change and increasing diversity by Bryan Rieger (slides)
- The hitchhiker’s guide to mobile development by Nikolai Onken (slides)
- Mobile & UX: Inside the Eye of the Perfect Storm by Jared Spool
I really want to thank the organizers and speakers for making Mobilism such a great event. If in any way possible I really want to go there again next year :-) I also want to thank Netconomy for making this trip possible :-)
Last but not least some random thoughts about this whole trip:
- The number of iPads was really shocking. Now I just have to decide if I should take one with or without 3G ;-.)
- As always only a handful people without an Apple device were present ;-)
- Austrian has probably the best snacks.
- Nova Hotel is really nice but could take some repairs here and there.
- At Schipol Airport you can get 2x30 minutes of free Wifi thanks to KPN