Social Media Week kicked off yesterday with a global schedule of events looking at how different regions and economies are making use of social and mobile media.
To help people keep on top of the various talks and workshops SMW has launched an official mobile app in partnership with Nokia that runs on Windows Phone, Symbian, Android and iOS.
Due to the nature of the event you would expect the app to set the bar high in terms of usability and social media integration. But is it?
The 'Schedule' screen shows a list of all the day’s global events complete with start times, an icon on the right denoting the topic and the distance to the event on the left.
There are three icons at the top of the page that allow you to easily filter the events based on your city, the date, event category and the distance from your current location.
However the ‘Proximity’ tool is a good idea poorly implemented. It lists all the events within 1km of the user's current location, but when you click through to an event and try to view it on a map an error message appears.
To register for an event you simply need to click through to the SMW sites and register your details. It enables the user to share events through Facebook and Twitter, but only once you have logged in your account using third-party software. This is something users may be wary of.
The message it then populates says the name of the event you are attending, but gives no details on time or location, and provides a generic link to the SMW homepage.
The ‘Speakers’ tab offers an alphabetical list of every person involved in SMW, but doesn’t offer any way of filtering the results.
It would have been useful to offer functionality to filter on location, company or topic.
For example, I would be interested to find out which Facebook staff are talking in London, but unless I know them by their first name there is no way of searching for them in this tab.
When you find a speaker you are interested in the app tells you where they are speaking, gives links to their LinkedIn page and Twitter feed, and allows the user to share details of the speaker via Facebook, Twitter, email or SMS.
The same third-party software asks you to login and the automatic message then simply says “I am attending [speaker’s name] at SMW #SMW12” and gives a generic link to the SMW homepage.
This offers little benefit to the user as the tweet includes no information on the location or the nature of the talk.
This tab presents a list of sites showing SMW related content, the first three of which are desktop sites.
The second link, ‘SMW RealTime’, is supposed to display real time infographics showing how much people are talking about SMW on social networks.
However, on the Android version I was using it failed to display.
There are clickable arrow icons above each host city that give access to a road map, but it doesn’t then offer any interactive features such as showing the user's location.
On the London map, there are blue icons above locations that are presumably hosting events, but you can’t find out the time or topic of the event as despite having a ‘More details’ icon they don’t actually link to any additional information.
You also can’t search for locations, so most people will still be using Google maps to find their way around.
This tab lists all the events and speakers you have saved when browsing the ‘Schedule’ and ‘Speakers’ tabs.
You can set an alarm for each selected event in just two clicks, and the individual event tabs provide the aforementioned information on the time and location with the same limited options to share through social media.
For a global event that is supposed to showcase social and mobile technology the SMW app isn't what I'd have expected.
The integration with social media is basic and I would have wanted better location-based technology. Telling a user that an event is 400m away from them and then not showing where it is on a map is frustrating for a user.
For next year's event, I'd want Foursquare integration so the app could automatically check the user in and prizes should be on offer for attending a certain number of events.
This would have the added benefit of allowing the organisers to incentivise people for attending under-subscribed events.
If you are simply looking for a daily list of events at SMW then this app is perfectly adequate, but hopefully it will have more integration for next year's event.