• Case Study

    Sojourner conference companion

    FOSDEM is the biggest free / open-source software conference in Europe with 8000+ participants and 700+ talks in 60+ independent tracks. To get around during the conference, participants need a comprehensive, well-structured and easy to understand program.

  • The Challenge

    At FOSDEM, lots of events run in parallel so participants need to access the program quickly. Since it's a highly technical conference, attendees tend to use a large variety of devices with experimental operating systems and the application needs to support them as well as possible. They might plan their visit on a different device than the one they will bring with them to the event. While WiFi connectivity at FOSDEM is good for an event of this size, it inevitably contains blind spots. In addition, since many attendees come from abroad, they often plan their visit during travel, resulting in very limited internet access.

  • The Solution

    To solve all the above challenges we developed the Sojourner conference companion progressive web application.

  • User Experience

    The app creates a consistent experience across mobile phone, desktop computer and tablet platforms. The user starts with a dashboard containing main event categories followed by lists of tracks and talks sorted by date and time. They can easily bookmark an event without the need to log-in. We placed all the common actions, such as search and bookmarks, in the comfort zone of a one-thumb interaction for the mobile user. To help the user to navigate, we have grouped the events by date and added a navigation bar that features the back button and clearly communicates the current location. We made sure that pressing the back button always brings the user back to the same position on the list they previously left.

  • User Interface

    We made a special effort to create a minimalist but user-friendly interface. Google’s sans serif font Rubik was chosen for its clear visual hierarchy and readability. Only two core colors were used to create the interface so as not to distract from the main functionalities. We kept the event detail section design simple with no elaborate illustrations, instead using geometric patterns to make it more interesting. The thin and delicate patterns match the typeface, keeping the design elegant and professional.

  • Technology

    We have created a progressive web application to reach the widest possible audience. The application is offline-first, so it doesn’t require an internet connection and provides smooth page transitions. Log-in is not required to bookmark events to simplify the user onboard process. Firebase back-end was used to synchronize bookmarks between devices, application is hosted on Netlify and all pages are automatically pre-rendered for web crawlers. By integrating with an external API, a room space availability feature was added. All source code has been made available as open-source in the spirit of the conference.

  • Interested in our approach to mobile app development?

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