SXSW Eco, ArtPrize and GigaOM: 7 Days, 3 Events Apps

mobileTech Tuesday, by Steve Guengerich

The past week has been a whirlwind of travel and events: from San Francisco to Grand Rapids to Austin.

Along the way, I’ve had a chance to try out apps for each event, using my trusty iPhone 3GS – yes, I’m one of those who skipped 1st gen iPhone 4 and am likely to be a 4S purchaser!

Here are some impressions of the event apps, working backwards, with a few screen shots from each.

Running today through Thursday is SXSW Eco. The Eco app is pretty much a copy of the core scheduling functions that you last saw in the SXSW 2011 app, so it should be very familiar to you.

Once the database loads, navigation is pretty swift, although I did encounter a point where the database refresh hung (see screen 4). It would be nice if the target area for indicating favorites – that little gray star at the right of every row – was a wee bit bigger.

I also would have liked to see some transactional capability in the app, like if the authors had wanted to make a coupon available for their book signings, etc. But, overall, the app is clean, easy-to-use, and works. Thanks Southby guys and @Xomo.

This past weekend, I spent an awesome time in Grand Rapids on the pivot weekend of the 3rd annual ArtPrize. Look for more about ArtPrize on my personal blog – in a word, it was ridiculouslyawesomeandinspiring!

The app for ArtPrize, developed by @AtomicObject, is very nifty. ArtPrize is less of a schedule-driven conference and more of an experience. So, the app still has to provide many event-like functions – venue locations, bios of participants (in this case, artists instead of speakers), and maps.

But, it also has to provide more unique functions, like voting and background information on the competition. Because, at the end of the 3 week festival, the top vote getter of ArtPrize receives a $250,000 award!

I liked the choice the developers made to get you into the app right away, saving wait times for when you choose to loading larger data, like images of the art work. In general, I found the app UI very attractive and intuitive, with super-fast response time.

If I had any critique, it would be to also provide a transactional capability to the app, by enabling artists to offer their work for sale through the app. In fact, speaking with the organizers, the prospect of providing artists more opportunities to promote their involvement is a big topic on the list as they compile their debrief list for next year.

Finally, a little over a week ago, my team and I from Appconomy participated at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference. GigaOM doesn’t have an event app (at least, not one that I could find), instead relying on the primary app for the organization, which has an event section.

In prior conversations with the GigaOM team, I already knew they weren’t thrilled with their own app – it’s in need of a serious upgrade and they know that. But, it would have been nice to have at least been able to get to a mobilized web version of the 2011 schedule for the conference.

Instead, I couldn’t even *find* the conference when I searched for it – obviously a search feature glitch of some kind. In general, the app UI is solid and easy to navigate around. But, I’ve never been able to get it to save my Login credentials as a GigaOM Pro subscriber, which is something it appears to offer.

So, definitely more work to do at the home office for this one – especially since the conference itself is one of the premier thought leadership events in the mobile space! I expect to be “wowed” in 2012 guys!

So, that’s my 3 events apps in 7 days. Have you had a favorite or most dreadful event app experience to share? Please leave a Reply or add your thoughts in the Comments section, below.

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