Apps for the rest of us: hands on session at ASF

Last week we organised the last hands-on session of the project at Aalto Service Factory. We had a tight and committed group of people that played with the tools and the ideas for a couple of hours. We also had interesting discussions about mobile ecosystems, their design and technological features and what the future might bring. All in all the workshop setting worked well and we got some first app ideas developed. Thanks to all participants. We will start wrapping up the project next :)

Participants start working with the AppInventor

Participants start working with the AppInventor

JJ explains the trouble she encounter and how she solved it

JJ explains the trouble she encountered and how she solved it

Creating Android apps with App Inventor

Capacity building for Mobile App development

Capacity building for Mobile App development?

Apps&Os is organizing a workshop on Thu 12.6.2014 to get hands-on understanding of new possibilities for creating mobile apps without any / or very little programming experience. During the workshop, we will introduce App Inventor, a web-based visual development environment for Android developed by Google and MIT.  We will discuss some of the results from a workshop course held this spring in Aalto, and showcase demos of the apps made by the participants. These apps were made in one week (4 days) by participants with practically no programming experience.

WHEN: Thu 12.6.2014 from 9.30 to 13 (an optional hands-on session in the afternoon)
WHERE: Aalto Service Factory, Aalto University School of Business, main building
Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki, Finland, 3rd floor

Introduction on grassroots app development – App Inventor
Presentation of apps developed by the students

12:00-13:00 Lunch
Hands-on experimenting with the App Inventor

Please register before 6.6.2014 at For your convenience you
can register for the whole day or just for a half day.

Any questions? Send email to kimmo.karhu(at)

Mobile App prototyping with App Inventor

Last month, Kimmo, Sami and Andrea organized a study workshop for Aalto students with no prior or extensive coding experience with the theme of mobile app prototyping. We had a good response with 22 students registering, for the 15 seats we offered. We have placed information of the course in the Noppa portal, with the slides, exercises and structure. The main tool we used in the course was App Inventor, a very interesting toolkit for Android development that is very visual, easy to use and with a short learning curve.


Kimmo explaining the basics of App Inventor blocks

The App Inventor was a project originally from Google but afterwards been transferred to MIT where its been used extensively for studying programming basics and for prototyping apps. We wanted to explore also the “collaborative potentials” of it and try to mix in a bit of GitHub workflow. This prove to be more difficult, however we think it was useful exercise for all the participants

Sami reminds participants of the challenges of context sensing in mobile apps

Sami reminds participants of the challenges of context awareness in mobile apps

After intensive 4 days of working we got 7 prototypes. Some of them were actually quite elaborated apps! We will publish some of them in Apps&Os Google Play account later. Here is the list of finished apps:

  • Middleman (by Mona Taponen)
  • Pink mustache camera (by Päivi Tuovinen)
  • Hanging man (by Reinis Pakulis)
  • Sounday (by Scott McGregor)
  • Kitchen calculator (by Jinping Liu)
  • Cat & Pig Talk (by Salla Vasenius)
Salla working on her app & an early sketch

Salla working on her app & an early sketch

Mobile Apps – Made in Aalto!


Hello mobile developers in Aalto! We are working on charting mobile Apps made by Aalto community. If you know of one let us know! To contribute to the creation of shared resources for that type of work we have been working with Aalto IT department on a wiki guide for “Mobile App Development in Aalto” and we will also be doing some grass roots open events around mobile apps designed and developed in Aalto. Please stay tuned.

Picture re-published under CC BY 2.0, credits and original photo by JD Hancock.

Invitation: Aalto Mobile App Guide – Editathon 1.11.2013


Help us map resources, tools and knowledge within Aalto! Join us for a session to collectively write and edit an Aalto Mobile App wiki-guide. Working draft of the wiki can be found here:

Please register for the event before Oct 30 at

  • Where: App Campus premises (Open Innovation House, 3rd floor, Otaniementie 19, Espoo)
  • When: Friday 1st of November 2013 from 10 to 15 (Come and join us whenever you have time)
  • Who: Anybody interested / doing mobile app development (students and staff)
  • What: We will be collectively editing and producing a wiki-guide collecting links and resources needed to design, develop and distribute mobile apps within the campus and for the campus itself. We are interested in collecting: data sources, tools, communities, best practices, etc that exist, we also hope to identify those that are still needed.

10:00 Welcome words by App Campus host, Mike Bradshaw
10:15 Coffee / Tea / Intro to the Edithaton, Kimmo Karhu (Apps&Os project) and Petri Mustajoki (Aalto IT)
10:20 Editathon starts!! typing, collecting, more typing, and chatting
12:00 Lunch (provided to active participants that register) and social mingling
12.45 Intro to the Edithaton for those just arriving, Kimmo Karhu (Apps&Os project) and Petri Mustajoki (Aalto IT)
13:00 Editathon continues!! typing, collecting, more typing, and chatting
14:30 Wrap up: What we achieved and what is still missing, Andrea Botero (Apps&Os project)

Why: Do you want to know what APIs are available to Aalto infra (such as Noppa) and how they can be used? Do you know if there are any graphic guidelines for the use of Aalto brand on a mobile app? Do you have an app and don’t know how to publish? Are you designing a mobile app and need some devices to test it? Do you have a great idea for a mobile app for Aalto?  Members of Aalto community are having some of these questions and we want to help find and map answers to them.

Feel free to forward this invitation to people you think might be interested. If possible, please bring your own laptop with you!

This Editathon is organized by Aalto IT and the Apps&Os project with the aim to connect Aalto people and Aalto resources related to mobile apps across platforms and disciplines. Q? email kimmo.karhu(at) or andrea.botero(at)

Recent research achievements

Working on a grass-root level is essential for our project. However, delivering research results is as important and we are happy to announce some recent achievements:

  • Andrea successfully defended her dissertation Expanding Design Space(s) against Dr Monica Buscher from Lancaster University. Congratulations for Andrea! Expand your design thinking and grab a copy of the dissertation from here.
  • Sami successfully defended his dissertation Field Studies on User Experience of Automation in Context-Aware Social Media against Assoc. Prof. Anind Dey from Carnegie Mellon University. Onneksi olkoon Sami! You can find Sami’s full thesis from here.
  • We also recently got a journal paper accepted at Telematics and Informatics with a topic Analyzing competitive and collaborative differences among mobile ecosystems using abstracted strategy networks. Article is still in press but now already available online here.
  • Andrea presented our poster paper titled Connecting stakeholders through context logging at Mobile HCI 2013.

Cleaning day app stats

Cleaning day (Siivouspäivä) apps for iOS and Android have now been available and in use for two cleaning day events (May 25th and Aug 31st). We thought this is a good time to share some stats on how these apps have done in terms of app downloads.

Altogether the apps have now been downloaded 2813 time. iOS version has been the more popular one contributing little over two thousand downloads. Detailed stats and story behind the iOS version are available from Fabian’s blog (developer behind the iOS version).

Below is a screenshot from the AppAnnie stats for the Android version illustrating how the app downloads accumulate close to the actual event day.


All in all these are fantastic figures and much bigger than we anticipated. Let’s hope our developers have time to polish their apps and new records will be set for for the next cleaning day!

Cleaning day apps published!

We are happy to announce that the results of our first challenge “Cleaning day digitalkoot” are finally out. This week we published in the Apple itunes store and on Google play; two apps done by Aalto students as contributions to the civic movement Cleaning Day! The Apps (iOS) and (Android) let people  explore the flea market stands and recycling spots created for Siivouspäivä/Cleaning Day, and help them to find their locations on a map.


Working during the digitalkoot

Credits for the work go to a very talented and committed group of students including Fabian Häusler (iOS), Mesbahul Islam, Feroz Ahsan (Android) and Suse Miessner with input from Roope Kiviranta, Dipti Sonawe and Tae Yong Kim.

ui splash

Intro splash for both applications (By RK)