Yesterday I attended the eCoast Mobile Summit. It was a good day of panels on various topics in the mobile realm. Chuck Martin (@chuckmartin1) kicked off the day with a great overview of many issues to consider when thinking about mobile (the Third Screen – as his book is entitled). He touched on topics from understanding where your users actually are to what devices they have and what they like. Designing mobile apps for what you like (a trap I have fallen into many times) is a common mistake. It was interesting to see the volume of people in the audience who have Android devices and the lack of people who have BlackBerries. In Canada, BlackBerry has such a higher penetration level, and Android is so low, that it makes it hard to remember that in the USA, the numbers are different. That constant reminder (when I’m at a USA event) makes it easier to understand when USA companies give us odd looks when we try to convince them to do BlackBerry development.
The first actual session for the day that I attended was purportedly on web vs native development. How ever there wasn’t really a balanced discussion. The Adobe rep (Brian Rinaldi @remotesynth) is appropriately focused on tooling support for either, the Microsoft rep (Chris Bowen) was really a web advocate in MS by day but mainly presenting on Windows Phone 7 tooling — which is mostly native development. The third panelist (Michael Davies) seemed evangical on using HTML5 but I, and most people I spoke with after, found his talk sounded more like a person who doesn’t believe in the widely accepted “use the best tech for the task” opinion that most experienced developers have and was saying HTML5 can solve all your problems. Not an opinion I share (as you well know).
At shortly after 11am, the session I was most interested in (the one I was a panelist on!) begun. Chris (@savetherobot) talked about applying gaming concepts to business and mobile apps. He did a great job outlining the different types/profiles of gamers and how those profiles can/should impact how your apply gamification strategies. I gave my talk on engaging customers by using mobile, social and LBS (which you can read more about on my previous blog posts: here, here, here and here) and Stephen Krueger followed with some practical experience on his use of LBS and social on mobile. I thought there was a lot of good questions by the audience and really enjoyed my experience as a panelist.
I only managed to catch one afternoon session where Margot Bloomstein (@mbloomstein), Shawn Grant and Paul Laroche talked about user experience concerns in mobile. This is an important topic and through various examples the panel provided good insight into what to consider when deciding on a mobile user experience strategy.
The day ended with a beautiful boat cruise which was a great capper to my quick trip to Portsmouth. I was excited to have the opportunity to be a panelist at the show and look forward to a future trip to the next eCoast Summit.