Øivind Jorfald About Developing Mobile App Tech in Norway: Managing Apprise, Clients and Own Startup

Oksana Zabolotna
HBD at Qubit Labs

Qubit Labs was honored to be part of Apprise Conf as a media partner in 2023. We want to share more about it with you and we strongly suggest joining the next Apprise edition in Oslo in 2024.

Earlier we met for an interview with Øivind Jorfald – Apprise conference manager, a consultant mobile developer in Forse, also running a small start-up with a couple of friends, called HabTech – a digital solution to help children, youth, and adults with cognitive challenges.

apprise conf norway oslo audience
Apprise Conf

Apprise Conf is a mobile tech conference that took place in Oslo, Norway the 23rd of March 2023. The conference is a full-day event, with optional full-day workshops the day before and a conference party afterward.

Apprise Conf will cover mobile tech topics. There will be two simultaneous tracks; one for more soft/visionary/inspirational subjects and the other for more deep-dive/hardcore tech and code subjects. The program tracks will include iOS, Android and cross-platform development, and various other mobile-related topics.

What is Apprise Conf about:

  • Learning something new on two tracks with high quality, unique and inspiring content of mobile tech. Native-, cross- & mobile web development, UX & UI, testing, security, mobile projects, and much more!
  • Meeting and listening to fantastic speakers whohave extensive knowledge of mobile topics. All speakers and talks are hand-picked by a panel of experts from the field.
  • Getting to know the people attending this event. Speakers, sponsors, organizers, and other attendees. This is the best opportunity to meet and acquaint new people from the mobile industry. There is a focus on diversity and inclusion; everyone is welcome!

    apprise conf norway oslo
    Apprise Conf

QL: Hi Øivind, thank you for creating such a great event, tell us more about yourself?

Øivind: Hello! My name is Øivind Jorfald. I’m a Norwegian mobile developer and enthusiast. I have worked as a mobile developer for 10+ years and am currently working as a consultant. I have also founded and are running Norway’s only mobile tech conference, Apprise Conf.

QL: Let me know a bit about the company you work for. What is the main focus?

Øivind: I work for multiple companies, but my main full-time job is as a consultant mobile developer in Forse. We help small and medium sized companies improve their mobile apps and experiences by designing, planning and creating better apps and mobile solutions. Both externally to customers and internally to employees.

QL: What is your role in the company?

I work as a consultant for business customers where I design, plan and develop applications for mobile devices. I am also one of the co-founders of the mobile part of the company.

In addition to this, I run a start-up with a couple of friends, and work on other different apps on the side.

QL: How has mobile development changed in the past years?

Øivind: Mobile development has changed in many different ways. First of all there are a lot more devices, screen sizes and different technologies to consider (i.e. TVs, cars, payment terminals, etc.) when creating apps. This of course depends on the requirements in the project, but for phones only there are a lot to consider. The software is also constantly evolving, and developers need to adapt to changes and new features that are introduced.

For the development itself there are new frameworks coming up and some that are disappearing. For cross platform development, Flutter has exploded in the last few years and Microsoft’s MAUI is an exciting new way of combining .net and mobile. SwiftUI and Jetpack Compose are converging into a more similar development style (and even languages) than regular Swift and Kotlin (which also was a convergence towards each other from Objective-C and Java).

QL: What is most crucial for building a successful app?

Øivind: In my opinion there are a couple of things that make for a successful app; first of all you need to have a dialog with the users of the app, and get a good understanding of what their needs are. Too many apps (and websites) are made without involvement of the end users. This makes it a guessing game to how the app actually should work.

Second, I would say that a clean and well readable codebase will help a lot towards making a great app. There will be less surprises in the form of nasty bugs, and multiple people with different skills, experience and/or preferences can navigate and work in the codebase without trouble.

The third thing is a good designer-developer interaction. Well the whole team in general. A well-working team makes things run smoothly, which again means that everyone can do what they’re good at without too much unnecessary interruptions and trouble.

QL: How many people work on an app from idea to launch?

Øivind: That depends very on the size of the app and other factors, but in my experience, I would say that a bare minimum for a serious app-development team should at least consist of:
2 app developers (iOS/Android), 1 designer (UI+UX), 1 backend developer, 1 test engineer, 1 project manager and 1 product owner.

QL: What are the best practices for clients when they work with an agency? How can they ensure project success?

Øivind: This would also depend on what kind of project etc. but there are some key factors in my opinion. One important thing is that the team itself should get full trust and be able to make their own decisions. This is important for good flow in the process. I also like to work in teams consisting of at least one person from the client itself (usually the product owner). This resource is usually a bit more invested in the product/company itself and should have a good knowledge of the business part of the project. Other than that, try to get people that are really interested in making something good and that work well together.

QL: Do you work only with Nordic clients or have a broader focus?

Øivind: We only work with Nordic clients at the moment, but the focus may change. For now we have enough demand locally, but as the company grows it may be that we broaden the horizon. This could happen pretty soon.

QL: Tell us about Apprise and Apprise Conf, what is your primary goal?

Øivind: Apprise is a non-profit organization created by me and some other enthusiasts of the Norwegian mobile developer industry. The company was created to arrange mobile tech related events in and around Oslo. Our main event is Appris Conf – a mobile tech and developer conference which was held successfully for the first time in March this year. We plan to make the conference a yearly event and host other smaller events throughout the year.

apprise mobile tech conference speaker on stage
Apprise Conf

QL: Was it the first conference you launched? How much time did it take to plan and bring it to life?

Øivind: I had some experience with organizing an earlier mobile tech conference in Oslo, called Mobile Era, but Apprise Conf is a completely new conference with a bit different format. The idea came to mind early November 2022 and the conference was held at the end of March 2023!

There was a huge amount of planning and work to get it together in such a short amount of time! None of us are getting paid (non-profit), so this is in addition to our regular jobs. I’m planning to write a medium article on how to create and run a successful tech conference, I just need to find the time…

QL: Why is it important to do such events offline?

Øivind: We chose to have this event purly offline for two main reasons:
The logistics are so much easier if you’re not filming / streaming / subtitling everything. This was our first time doing this, in a very short amount of time, so we needed to cut back on things that would make it harder to complete.

We really wanted the conference to not only be a mobile content event, but also a place for people with the same interests to meet and get to know each other. We have been locked at home for a long time during COVID-19, so we felt the need to make something physically available for people now that the community finally is open again!

QL: What is your most significant insight from speakers?

Øivind: That they want to return and come back for the next edition! (It means we did something right).

QL: What are your plans for the second edition of Apprise in 2024?

Øivind: We will for sure host another version of Apprise Conf. The general feedback was very positive from attendees, speakers and sponsors. The plan is to do a lot of the same, but maybe we’ll add one day and/or a track to squeeze in even more of the good stuff!

QL: Could you briefly talk about the start-up company you’re running?

Øivind: I run a small start-up with a couple of friends. We are called HabTech, and we have created digital solutions to help children, youth and adults with cognitive challenges (i.e. autism and similar diagnoses). The solutions are based on principles in habilitation, where facilitation of enablement, motivation and empowerment have the main focus. If this is relevant for you or anyone you know, please contact me and we can see if this can be relevant for you!

QL: Lastly, how can people find you and your companies?

Øivind: I would love to have a chat about mobile tech with anyone that’s interested. Feel free to add me to LinkedIn and send me a message: https://www.linkedin.com/in/oivindjorfald/

Øivind Jorfald Apprise Conf Manager

Also please check out Apprise Conf on our website for updates on the next edition of Apprise Conf: https://appriseconf.com/

You can also follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, or join our newsletter (from the website).

If your company needs help creating better mobile solutions and experiences, check out and contact us in Forse – the consultancy company I work for (mostly Nordic customers at the moment).

My start-up company is called HabTech – Check out what we do and our app products at https://www.habtech.no/en, and contact me if you have any questions regarding this.

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Oksana Zabolotna
HBD at Qubit Labs

HBD and Head of Partnerships at Qubit Labs. Oksana is proficient at Search Engine Optimization; performs as a speaker for international tech conferences; author of webinars and guides on peculiarities of remote recruitment, top markets for hiring IT experts, and latest tech trends. Oksana is one of the partners of Women in Tech Ukraine – large-scale social project created to increase the number of women in IT industry.