LearnMeet @HelloApp, Making Conferences More Fun


writes on August 14, 2009

Hundreds of Twitter avatars

After four tiring-exciting-stressful-fun days, we’d like to introduce you to our new little buddy, HelloApp.

The idea is simple: When you arrive at a conference, you just say where you’re sitting, via Twitter. Once you do that, you can …

  1. Search for people with a certain skill-set (ie PHP, jQuery, CSS3, marketing, etc) and see where they’re sitting
  2. View the seating diagram colored based on Twitter follower count
  3. Search for a specific person in the audience and find out where they’re sitting
  4. View the seating diagram colored based on whether people are Designers, Developers or Businessmen
  5. Earn badges and points by meeting people and completing tasks. If you earn a high enough rank, you’ll be able to post public messages to the entire audience and win prizes.

Here’s how it works …


The first thing you do is check-in to the conference. You can do this by tweeting:

@helloapp !dev #php #html5 #jquery

That says that you’re a Developer who is tagging themselves with PHP, HTML 5 and jQuery.

You can also check-in via the web app …

Screenshot of the form which allows you to signup to Hello
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Earn Badges and Points

Bronze badgeSilver badgeGold badgeDiamond badgeHigh five badgeSmiley badge

You can earn points by meeting people and completing special tasks. Once you build up enough points you earn the right to post messages to the entire audience and win special prizes. Here’s how it works …

When you meet someone and they give you their Twitter username, just tweet:

@helloapp met @their-username

If they return the favor and tweet:

@helloapp met @your-username

You’ll then both get points for meeting each other. Both people have to do it, in order for the points to be awarded. Here’s how badges look on your profile …

Ryan's profile with badges

Grab Your Seat

Once you check-in, you say which seat your sitting in by using the passcode attached to your physical seat at the conference. This is done via Twitter like this:

@helloapp sat your-seat-passcode

Once you’ve done that, you appear in the seating chart like this …

Screenshot of the Hello Home page which shows all the conference seats filled with Twitter Gravatars, and a bubble over one user with their details displayed
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Explore the Crowd

You can then browse the seating chart, click on the tag cloud or search. You’ll be able to see who is sitting around you, what their interests are, and whether you have anything in common.

In the screenshot below, we’ve searched for anyone who’s tagged themselves with ‘PHP’.

Screenshot of the Hello Home page which shows how you can search the attendees for skills or names. The search results are highlighted which you can then click on.
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In the screenshot below, we’re viewing the audience based on number of Twitter followers …

Screenshot of the Hello Home page which shows how you can view the attendee seating chart like a heat map based on twitter followers
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In the screenshot below, we’re viewing the audience based on whether they’re a Designer, Developer or Businessman …

Screenshot of the Hello Home page which shows how you can view the attendee seating chart like a heat map based on whether they're a designer, developer or businessman
View larger

What You Can do Right Now

Obviously HelloApp is designed to be used during a conference, so you can’t use that functionality right now. However, what you can do is Join In and tag yourself and say whether you’re a Designer, Developer or Businessman. You can also search the list of everyone who joins before the conference.

Screenshot of the Hello Home page with Twitter Gravatars displayed in a random pattern
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A Big Thanks To …

It was a great experience coding it in ASP.NET MVC and we’re looking forward to possibly doing more apps in the framework.

Please Join In and let us know what you think!


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0 Responses to “Meet @HelloApp, Making Conferences More Fun”

  1. Stuart Smith on December 4, 2009 at 9:14 am said:

    Hi Ryan, this is my first foray into MVC and web apps in general (background is C++ and Military Apps) and your ‘Hello’ app looks like a very good intro. However, being a ‘newbie’ in this I am not too sure how I set up the database from the code in the git repository. Do I just the run sql etc in the Hello.Repo project or are there some cunning tools I should be using?


  2. It’s awesome to see great apps being written in ASP.NET MVC. This should be interesting to see in action. Now we just need to get other conferences to use this!

  3. Interesting app, will be fun to try it at FOWA.

    The thing I’m somewhat skeptical about is the earning points and badges feature. It feels a wee bit gimmicky and out of scope.

    Curious to hear your thoughts on why it was included, and what other solutions you looked at to fulfill the “earn the right to post messages to the entire audience” credentials.


    • Hey Jaan

      It’s interesting you feel it’s “gimmicky”. We think Game Theory is quite powerful (just look at Stack Overflow) and will be a way to encourage people to meet each other at the conference.

      Don’t know if it’s going to work, but I’m excited to give it a try πŸ™‚


      • Hi Ryan,

        Thank you for your reply.

        I have to confess that since I posted my comment I have had a change of heart. I have learned more about Game Theory and with this new found knowledge I can 1) see why you included the feature and 2) why it makes perfect sense for the app and FOWA.

        Thank you for being patient with me πŸ˜‰

  4. Nice work, a shame we get to see it on the FOWD tour – fingers crossed that changes!

  5. Good work! A nice, simple practical example of an ASP.NET MVC 1.0 web app.

  6. Love it!!! I had no idea about the badges and points. That is such a cool idea and a neat way to allow people to interact. Great job everyone!

  7. Ben Arnold on August 16, 2009 at 6:19 pm said:

    Awesomeness! Are we gonna see this at the FOWD Tour? Please? πŸ™‚

  8. “Hello” !! WoOWW a new platform for designers & developers to gather and discuss the their ideas.

    I wish I could be there on the conference.

    Congratulations “Ryan & Carsonified Team on developing such a wonderful app”

  9. I think this looks fantastic and is a brilliant idea. Shame I am in Australia and therefore no chance of ever attending a FOWA or FOWD event… Adding this to other conferences too? Wish we had had something like this at conferences I have been to/

    Plus what about people like me who are Devigners? There should be an option to choose Designer AND Developer.

    Otherwise, well done! and thanks for sharing the design/build process with us.

  10. Awesome. Why lock it into Twitter?

    What if you don’t use or choose not to be a Twitter user? What if you’re a person who has better things to do than ‘twat’ about their inane life?

  11. If anyone would like to look at the data model I have reverse engineered it and created some ERD diagrams in various formats. You can download them here: http://download.jackson-delaney.com/helloapp/helloappmodels.rar

    The reverse engineering was done with the HappyFish data modelling tool (http://www.polderij.nl/happyfish/index.html) a top quality data design tool at a very small price – €99 – P.s. I have no affiliation with this company I just like them.

  12. Dam looks fantastic great work guys really useful for networking indeed.

  13. A great idea and another beautiful design from Mike. I’m looking forward to trying this out at FOWA πŸ™‚

    Congratulations, folks!

  14. kathy sierra on August 14, 2009 at 7:37 pm said:

    OK, this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. [sitting here plotting how I could use/exploit/game that as a speaker, too… fun!]

    It would also be very fun to encourage tags NOT based on whatever drove them to be at the event in the first place. The likelihood of anyone I bump into at FOWA being interested in design/tech overlap is fairly high already — but your app might enable the FAR less likely scenario of finding people there who share an interest in non-tech activities like games, hobbies, passions, etc.

    So perhaps a way to also tag your three top not-related-to-tech-events interests. It would be nice/useful to meet people there who are also into [same language/framework that I am]. It would be delightful/exciting to meet people there into the same music (including fellow musicians), films, sports, etc.

    This is just… so… fun. And so *you* [Carsony, I mean].

  15. Although I can’t be there to participate, I think the people who are there would benefit from some kind of cheat-sheet they can print off. Unless, of course, you’ll be handing them out at the event.

  16. I wonder how it feels to be a speaker at one of these conferences knowing that many/most people are not paying attention to what you are saying…

    On the other hand, what a great idea! πŸ™‚ Social media meets social gathering.

    I love the concept and the design.

  17. Awesome, I can see myself on the last screenshot! Furthermore, absolutely gorgeous app. Carsonified do it once again πŸ™‚ Great job guys!! x

  18. I can’t wait to use this! It’s going to be so much fun.

  19. Amazing, congratulations guys. Can’t wait to see this being used at FOWA!

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