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Report: A summary of learnings from Update Conference

Having attended Update Conference in Brighton this week, Andrew Yates, developer for 383 Project in Birmingham summarises his thoughts on the event.

Unusability

To kick things off Matt Gemmell (or his evil twin) talked about Usability by giving us his “Inhuman interface guidelines”.

1. More is better.

2. Be useless.

3. Celebrate stupidity.

4. Do it your way.

5. Not found.

6. Boxed in.

7. Speak English.

8. Signted users only.

I’m sure if Matt Gemmell (and not his evil twin) had presented the talk you could take away the following points:

1. Do less

The old “Keep it simple, stupid” applied here. Don’t pack features into your app for the sake of it. Quality not quantity.

2. Be useful

Pack in useful functionality, consider how & where people are going to use your app.

3. Don’t be antisocial

Use social media to share information from your app but don’t use the worst features from social media websites to do so.

4. Support orientations

Allow the user to use the app how they wish. Don’t fix the user to use a single orientation it is their device.

5. Consider data retrieval

Make it easy for the user to find information easily, don’t hide information in hard to reach places.

6. Layout for ease

Use native UI elements which the user is familiar with, ergonomics is not only for the device but for the software as well.

7. Localise

If your app is going to be used in other countries localise the app, make it easy for people who don’t have English as their first language.

8. Be accessible

Ensure text is big enough to be read by people who may be visually impaired. Use native controls to ensure screen readers and the devices OS can employ its own accessability features without problems.

Corona hacking session

Seb Lee-Delisle performed some “Live Coding” and built a Angry Birds clone using a mobile development platform for iOS and Andriod called Corona. Within 30 minutes Seb had a ball knocking over a structure made up of blocks using the built in physics engine.

Seb got the audience involved in debugging the code and various members of the audience were following along creating their own clone during the talk. Corona itself looks like a great platform to base games off, it being simple enough to build a part of a Angry Birds clone in just over 30 minutes.

With the audience joining in to debug the code as well as many members of the audience following along creating their own clone the talk grabbed the attention of a fair few developers. Speaking to a few people after the talk everyone wanted to download Corona and build a game right there and then.

The Digital Native

Anna Debenham presented “The Digital Native” highlighting problems with the current model of teaching students. Being only a few years since I left school this is a topic I am all to familiar with and deserves a completely separate blog post, which will follow soon.

Thanks to Aral Balkan, Team Update and all the speakers for putting on such a good conference. Definitely worth a visit next year.

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