Handheld 2012 – The Round Up

Handheld Conference

A while ago we wrote a post talking about Handheld Conference organised by Craig Lockwood. Well, it took place yesterday in St David’s Hotel, overlooking Cardiff Bay and the sea! (Although it was a bit rainy and grey, so the view of the sea wasn’t the best, boo).  The theme for the day was ‘all things mobile, web & native’ and talks covered everything from device specific development issues, to good mobile design and user experience. We had such a great time, we thought we’d put together a brief round up of the talks for anyone unable to make it.

Keir Whitaker -Book Stories

Keir kicked off proceedings by giving us an insight into one of his own personal projects, Insites: The Book, and how he went about making it into a reality.

He also told us that his book smells great, so of course now we have to buy one to verify that. Smart move, Keir. Smart move…


Lee Armstrong – Start Small, Think Big

Lee talked about the thinking behind his hugely popular app, Plane Finder, including how he was accused of being a terrorist by the Mail on Sunday (which, as most of us know, is a highly intelligent publication… sigh). Lee’s talk was based around scalability and how no matter the scenario, whether high or low traffic, they needed their app to deliver results to the end user.

It’s incredible how much data this app has collected on flights. Totally fascinating. I hope they make it for bus times as we all know how reliable they are…


Dave Addey – So You Have an App Idea?

Dave talked us through how to determine if an idea is good, and if so, is it a good idea for an app?

People disliking Phone Gap began to emerge as a bit of a theme for the day, summed up neatly by Dave and Aral:


Robert Mills – Content & Tone 

Robert talked about implementing a content-first strategy, and introduced us to a couple of useful tools, Slickplan and Gather Content, both of which are offering discounts to Handheld. We won’t post them here but you can get in touch with with @robertmills if you attended.


Ollie Wells – Working with Muppets

Ollie spoke about how Cardiff-based agency, Sequence always try to design with mobile in mind. He also pointed out just how many devices there are on the market and how it’s impossible to test on all of them.


Rob Lo Bue – Taking Content Abroad

I’m sure Rob liked this tweet 😉

Speaking German to English speakers to demonstrate what we do every day when we don’t release our apps in different languages, Rob gave some tips on how to make your apps more universally available. We’ll do a proper post on his talk next week so for now, it’s onto…


Simon Cross – Whats Holding the Mobile Web Back, and What Are Facebook Doing About It?

Looking eerily similar to Mark Zuckerberg, Simon Cross gave some impressive stats on the mobile usage and engagement of their users.

Ben summed up Simon’s talk for us nicely:


Matt Gaunt – It Started With a Browser

Matt Gaunt from Google talked us through how working for Google TV has changed his opinion on the web vs native debate. He also highlighted TV as a platform most people already have in-house.


Kevin Mears – Is Your Thinking L-shaped?

Next up was Kevin Mears, talking about how simple tools like your desk can change how you work, and how being adaptive is the way forward.

Kevin also presented the most attractive slides of the day with hand drawn doodles to accompany his notes. Great work!


Amber Weinberg – UI for Developers

Amber presented a well thought out talk with tips for developers on responsive and mobile design. We loved her little doodles too!


Andrew Spooner – We, Human

Andrew Spooner from Microsoft opened our eyes to the human aspects of computing and how over the years new technologies have been dreamt up to help us in our daily lives.

Alas, your toaster is probably never going to talk to your fridge. You heard it here first.


Laura Kalbag – Design Systems

Laura gave a fantastic talk on responsive web design and how to keep your sites consistent no matter what they’re being viewed on.


Aral Balkan – A Happy Grain of Sand

Aral closed with yet another incredible talk on experience design – featuring toilets, ticket machines and a hole in the ground for dirty clothes.

We’ve seen Aral speak several times now and he never ever fails to disappoint.


Most of the talks will be up on Be Square soon – we’ll let you know as soon as they appear. It was a genuinely memorable day, hats off to Craig for organising it! Next year’s event has already been confirmed. We’re very much looking forward to it!