UX Camp Europe 2012

By Jan Srutek

Und das war’s (That’s it). The third European UX Camp is over. And yet again, it was two amazing days in Berlin, packed with talks, discussions, workshops, and meetings of like-minded passionate user experience folk from all over Europe.

The topics ranged from new experience evaluation methods and trends, to designing safety-critical medical devices, to holistic customer experience and design innovation.

Last year, the topics du jour seemed to be agile UX and responsive design. This year, three salient themes stood out for me:

  • Challenges around designing products for a myriad of devices used in different contexts
  • Penetration of UX and design thinking in corporations and start-ups alike
  • Designing holistic customer experiences spanning several interaction touchpoints

You always miss many great sessions at barcamps because there are parallel session streams, but I wanted to focus on two great talks that I managed to attend.

Designing for multi-context

Neils Anhalt gave a great talk titled ‘Mobile Go Home – Welcome Multi-Context!’. Neils reminded us that the days of good old web are over. In our designs, we will never be able to think about just one device and usage context anymore. Multi-channel experiences are a reality now, not a thing of the future. Designing for an adaptive output is discussed a lot these days, but we must also think about responsive input methods. Multi-touch has been with us for a while now, but gestural user interfaces and voice input have recently entered the mainstream market as well. And EEG input (using brain wave sensors) might be just around the next corner!

How do we deal with it, given that one usage scenario might now contain several context and device switches. For instance, you might start on a laptop, transfer to a connected TV with gestural controls, and finish in bed on a multi-touch tablet. Just as we thought we have almost nailed designing for the web, the web has become just one part of a much larger puzzle. Usable and consistent interaction design embracing new opportunities is needed more than ever.

Holistic experience design

In another great talk by Pedro Custódio we looked at designing services around well-planned customer journeys.

We live in an experience economy. And therefore, it is not about the product anymore – it is about how you ‘package’ it, and how people experience it.

(The experience economy - shift from commodities to experiences)

We discussed examples of customer journeys and experience maps, e.g. by Starbucks, or by Lego. Pedro highlighted the key elements of these deliverables, such as the required data objects, interaction channels, target customer segments (do not try to design for everyone!), and also offline touchpoints.

The power of these documents is that they allow us not only to envisage future scenarios and customer interactions through the flow of the service, but also highlight pain points and suggest opportunities for improvement and innovation. (And they allow us to visualise the multi-context, multi-device scenarios I mentioned before too.) Likewise, it is useful to remember that one product could have multiple associated customer journeys – each one for a given customer segment, with its unique entry points and messaging.

Great framework – great content

The organizers have provided us with a great framework, while all the participants contributed to the overall experience with great content. We love taking part in these events, because we enjoy learning and constantly challenge ourselves to reflect on the things to come.

Bis zum nächsten Mal! (See you next time!)

Written by former Foolproofer Jan Srutek

What do you think?