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Has customer-centricity become a mere lipstick in today’s world? The reason why the big ones are failing the industry.

Why do so many Customer Experience initiatives fail? What you can do to make it better?

If we look at the actual economy and trends nowadays, we see that CX has become the main keyword for all big players. Such a popular term. But what is their key strategy? In reality, most don’t talk aber user and customer centricity, they are talking abour AI, BigData and Software solutions.

Use big data for great CX
Use our best tool for a CX journey
All think about individual projects, not about the core of CX.
Only marketing and CX is included, not all other departements. If only two departments are involved – how can you deliver great experiences?
Actually, the most important department for this topic is human resources, but they never hear about CX.
CX appears easy and supposedly everyone can do it, but in fact so many of CX professionals have no idea about real Customer Experience

Do you have the same impression?

People talk about technology and about software and they call it Customer Experience, when in fact they forget to think about the real human – about the actual customer. They are talking about the visualization of the full journey. Beware: If you trust them blindly, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. You can’t measure the full customer journey. It’s much more complex than it may initially look like. You always can measure and show parts of it with a software tool. In the end, to find the real insights, you have to dig deep, hands-on.

Of course there are some exceptions and this represents my personal view of the actual market, created through a multitude of conversations and projects in the past years. And it is really disappointing to speak with people, who excell at selling the „best experience“ and you realize, they indeed have not much understanding of the actual term.

To create a great customer Experience it usually takes a long way, and so often, it’s truly a change management process.

In this article I will describe a the difference between BX / CX / UX and the most important steps. Let’s have a look at our CX Master framework which visualizes the complexity of a whole customer Experience in a real simple way. I will mention the ten main eight points you must attend to in your next CX initiative.

CX Master Framework



Every company should have a core, a heart. Customer Experience is all about telling stories. What is your core? Ask 4-7 employees if they know the core values and the core mission and vision of your company? Write down your story, your mission and your mantra. Every employee should know it, as this will allow not only for a better culture, but ultimately help you achieve a higher CX impact. In the end it’s always about the people, and your employees are the first that need to be targeted! If they don’t understand it, how can you expect a user or customer to do so?



Every customer experience initiative has to start with the Human Resource department. They have to know which know-how and which characters are important to integrate a full CX vision. Without the right mindset in your company you never will create a great CX. So start with the internal mindset, with an internal campaign and find people with the right skills. How can you deliver a great experience, when people don‘t understand what happens? So for me, HR and Management are the key players for implmenetating great UX.



Every company should have a core, a heart. Customer Experience is all about telling stories. What is your core? Ask 4-7 employees if they know the core values and the core mission and vision of your company? Write down your story, your mission and your mantra. Every employee should know it, as this will allow not only for a better culture, but ultimately help you achieve a higher CX impact. In the end it’s always about the people, and your employees are the first that need to be targeted! If they don’t understand it, how can you expect a user or customer to do so?



Every customer experience initiative has to start with the Human Resource department. They have to know which know-how and which characters are important to integrate a full CX vision. Without the right mindset in your company you never will create a great CX. So start with the internal mindset, with an internal campaign and find people with the right skills. How can you deliver a great experience, when people don‘t understand what happens? So for me, HR and Management are the key players for implmenetating great UX.

Why do we divide UX & CX? The definition and the wording says, UX is about the User who uses a product or service and CX is about the customer who buys the product or service. So typically it makes no sense to cluster both areas, because at the end it is the same oftentimes. As I observed the market, UX is typically more in the Business to Business market, because those who buy are typically not those who use. BtoB companies focus 90% on the customer and forget the user. That’s a huge problem. CX is typically in the Business to consumer market, of course – there, the customer and the key users are predominantly the same. So in fact, UX is spart of CX.



The User Experience is all about the product and services before and after. A lot of departments are usually included in the whole UX development process. So from my point of view, all „near the user“ departments have to work together. No borders, but high transparency. Starting with the Marketing & Product Management and also comprising the Service and Research and Development. Only when all start to move together can a great User Experience be created. A monthly UX update is a must.



The Customer Experience is much more than User Experience. It includes the UX and in addition includes the entire sales and customer process. That means someone who buys a product or service is often not the person who uses the same. This is the main reason why User Experience is at the moment much more important in the Business to Business market, because normally companies concentrate one the customer, not on the user. BtoB products look like and feel like 20 year old products. In addition to create a great CX is also missed in BtoB because from my point of view, marketing professionals often don’t have the know-how about great CX. They are experts in BX.



Brand experience is everything about the brand. You can be no user and no customer but you know a brand and maybe you like the brand. It’s all about branding – and for me that’s the core know-how in a marketing departments. The cores skills often differentate from CX & UX skills. Nevertheless also every branding initiative, campaign, every ad should have the beginning at the core, Will go into the market and should strengthen the core again! Like every customer journey. Your TASK is to make your brand better.



Touchpoints are normally defined as the company’s responsible interfaces to their user or customer. But at the end, a user has much more touchpoints during his journey with a company than a company is responsible for, or can actively influence. A users journey includes other services and products, because you life is not only centured around the one company. So the big ones can’t visualize the whole journey in their software tools.

Efficiencey Touchpoints require an „automate or simplify“ Design appraoch and Experience touchpoints demand for an „slow down and emotional“ design approach.



Now, let’s chat about the famous customer joureny or user Journey. As you can see in the master CX template, a journey has touchpoints in the user-, customer-, brand area and in their real life area. So for a company, such a journey is much more complex to create, because for different targets you need also different solutions.

a.      Different areas

b.      Different target groups

c.      Different design approaches



Last but not least, the Inner circle of a company is also responsible for a great customer journey and experience. Research and development should find solutions for the customer need and not only technical solutions. It is much easier to focus on new innovations, when you know the need. Lawyers are typically those who defend the company from the customer. But how should you be a customer-centric company if people inside are working against you. It’s like a virus. Also lawyers should know the customer needs, working together with the customer for the best solution for both parties. And in fact, the IT department can make it happen, for a better cooperation between customer and company. We often have the case that we are not allowed to use any tools. IT is the foundation of a future communication, so also they have to know all different user & customers.


To summarize, if you look around, you realize that the big ones are conentrating on tools.

I wonder, if there are many companies who actually make the move and start by saying something like,

Hey come on, let’s focus on the customer need“. And then actually do it.

So here it is: Let’s focus on the real customer journey and not only on “touchpoints we can EASILY measure.” Let’s start with the storyline and not with the IT. Data and AI can support you in personalisation – it’s a foundation of a lot of experiences, but it’s NOT the ONLY TRUTH as all want to tell us.

Come on guys, let’s focus again on the customer and user. Customer Experience is all about the EXPERIENCE of the CUSTOMER – and moving back to this notion will ultimately benefit everyone!


If you like this article, please SHARE in your community!

Maricel Cabahug our OPENINING SPEAKER 2019

Money to put a roof over our heads and food on the table is an undeniable benefit of having a job, but work also often gives our lives structure, satisfaction, security, and social connection too. It enables us to grow personally and contribute to society. If you’re skeptical about the positive benefits of work besides income, ask someone who would like to work but cannot.

Article 23 of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrines the right to work. Going a step further, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that access to information technology is a basic human right. That places a special responsibility on enterprise software vendors. They must ensure that all of their customers’ employees – with their diverse needs and preferences – can use the software. After all, barriers that inhibit a person from contributing their talents to their workplace impinge on corporate and social progress.

One in seven

By embracing inclusive design, we strive to create software that can be used “out-of-the-box” by as many people as possible. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 1 billion people in the world living with a disability. That’s one in seven of us. Of those 1 billion, 80% of cases are acquired in later life, and our aging global population means the prevalence of disability is on the rise. At some point, you and I may need – or prefer– options for interacting with our digital systems that we don’t use right now. Why on earth should we limit ourselves?

Inclusive design and accessibility

read more…


We are working on a Global UX Trend Report!

PLease follow the link and be part of the report. You will get it earlier than all others.

UX Trend Report

Thanks a ton

Hannes Robier




When thinking about the multiple possible ways of becoming a global design leader, it must be noted that in order to lead, you have to start. Indeed, chances are very high that at some point of your journey, you will actually start out as a designer. Whatever you studied, you are not quite a leader, just yet. Regardless of the particular area you specialized in, you have to put in considerate effort for many years in order to become a leader or design leader. Experience and comprehensive in-depth know-how about the topic of your choice is an important foundation.




So far, different models were developed, sketching the potential career steps of a design leader, but they all focus on the cooperate side, picturing design leadership rather as an actual corporate position, than an achievement across the entire area of design. Personally, I am convinced there also a lot of design leaders out there who are self-driven self-employed designers. Therefore, I created the design leadership cycle, illustrating the many facets of a true global design leader and the steps to be taken along the way.



Thus, in the end, you can become a leader in multiple ways, regardless of whether you are self-employed, or in a huge company.

There are four types of Design leaders:
• Cooperate Strategy Design Leader
• Cooperate Specialist Design Leader
• Self-driven Strategy Design Leader
• Self-driven Specialist Design leader


When you move on from being a Specialist Design Leader, to leading a Strategy Design, you are not a designer anymore. Still, you need to know what you are talking about in order to earn and keep the respect of other designers. You are a leading design strategist.
To be a such a specialist, you act as a leader within a specific design topic. Your ideas, thoughts and work are impacting the area of design on a broader level.



You want to level up your skills? www.uxqcc.com – The User Experience Quality Certification Center will provide different certifcations starting in 2019 globally.


In the end it does not matter in which area you are leading – but what definitely matters is to enhance the following skills:


1. Trust and respect

This is the most essential skill as leader. You must respect and trust all people in your team. If this is not the case, maybe they should not be in your team, or you have to think about your leading quality. A leader is not a position you reach through climbing a corporate ladder, but earned through continued excellence both professionally in your field and through strong social skills, empathy and compassion. Equally important? The skill of listening. Listening and asking questions are the key to being a true leader. Essentially questions are the answer.

2. Shaping a vision

It’s only one part to manage a team. As a leader you share this task. Your part is to find a strong vision and share it in the most inspirational way. Thinking about the why in every situation and giving a clear direction that people know why they are working and what they can expect in the end of long working hours and effort. A strong vision will empower your team and enable everyone to work towards a joint goal.

3. Transparency and protection of your team

You have to think of your team as of a big family. Leadership is about communication and trust, as already mentioned above. A strong family is well informed about the current situation and will stick together, no matter what. Inform your team about all happenings. They are part of your big family and have the right to know what happens. Furthermore, it’s your part as a leader to protect your team from different situations, to allow them to complete their work. This will earn you trust.

4. Take decisions and stand by them

Leading means taking decisions. But even more important? Stand by your decisions. If you took a wrong one, try to find a solution and acknowledge the situation. This will make you even stronger person and leader.

5. Lead by example and story

If you have tasks for your team or if you have to inform the team about different decisions, try to find some lively examples or illustrate your thoughts and choices through actual stories. Coming back to the idea of thinking about this team as your family – children learn much better through stories. The reason is quite simple: They typically pose a problem, as well as serve the relevant learnings and a proper solution. Stories are emotional und much easier to understand. If your team cannot relate to your decisions, they can’t focus on their work.

6. Lead through rewards and gratitude

You are a leader, but the operational work will most likely be done by your team. Award them if they are the hero of a project, show gratitude and acknowledge accomplishments. It will be a huge motivation for everyone involved, creating even more drive and sparking a sense of joint success.

7. Discover strengths and support your team to grow

To sustain long-term success, people have to be happy with their lives and in their entire job environment. Consequently, it’s your task to find out about the passions, strengths and personal needs of every team member. What is their individual motivation to stay in your team? Where do they want to go? What it is that really drives them?
Support them in their strengths and they will follow you. Provide them with challenges to keep them excited and creative. Lead by example.

8. Give feedback and say thank you

Just as plants require sunshine to thrive and grow, we all need feedback to further develop our skills. How can we learn without positive or negative feedback? Attempt to give feedback every day. Don’t say that you don’t have time when your team members ask for feedback or have some questions. You are the leader – show them your respect by listening and providing them support and answers where needed.

9. Give space to be creative in time and space

Designing is a creative process. Less people can deliver great designs and great ideas for a long time in a stressful workspace. Give your team a creative space and enough time to think about challenges. These creative breaks will spark new ideas and allow your team to reach new heights!

Now, what do you think makes a great leader? I am looking forward to receiving your feedback – please share your thoughts in the comments below.



Are you a leader then visit the Global Design Leadership Meetup

Global Design Leader Meetup Public


Written by: Johannes Robier, 09/09/2018





LIFELONG Interaction


In 2020 society will experience an exciting coexistency of generations:

There will be a very young generation that experienced interaction with digital products through touch and speech in their first months of life.

There will be a generation that experienced the growth of silicon valley companies and several shifts of interactions paradigms like GUI to NUI.

There will be a generation that experienced the rise of home computers and their impact in communication and society and the early transformations in human computer interaction.

There will be a generation that experienced transformations in human machine interaction and has its base in the analog domain, adopting digital interaction at a late age.

There will be a generation who’s experiences in interaction are shaped by mechanical and natural roots, challenges in adopting digital conversion and will be the first to be experience by digital services and assisted living.

2020 will be a crossroads in interaction – with its coexisting knowledge of generations it is the perfect point in time to discuss and redefine the fundamentals of interaction and bringing together our collective knowledge from the analog and the digital domains.

Our vision for 2020 is bringing together ALL generations, ALL their knowledge and expertise wether it refers to the first interactions of the unborn to the end of life and afterwards, a harmony of analog and digital aspects, digging the roots of interaction – and therefore to redefine the future approach of designing interactions for LIFELONG INTERACTION.


Share our proposal if you like it and if you want to visit Graz in 2020!

Click on:



Projects fail because there is no design project management included. Oftentimes, UX or Design will be integrated to be part of a project at a stage, where it’ practically already too late. We ought to not only talk about UI Design, but also talk about Stakeholder Mapping, ask for the right problems, define the best road plan, include research, development and design. To be frank: We are seeing massive challenges in projects with project managers that lack the know-how of design processes.


Use such a Strategy Plan to start your project!


To help solve this issue and provide support, we developed the UX & Design Strategy plan, comprising what a project manager should know before starting a project. These questions need to be answered first by all means.


1.) What’s the project?

Do you need Design Management in all projects? Service Design, Hardware Design, Software Design, Marketing, eCommerce… So as you see Design & UX has a considerable cross-sectional function. Indeed, you will need it in 80% of your projects. Do you have a Design Manager or a UX manager in 80% of your projects?


2.) Project Manager

That’s normally an easy question. What’s the name of your UX or Design Manager? Who is RESPONSIBLE for it? This person must know all about different design processes, must estimate the effort and must design the method an appropriate UX strategy.


3.) UX Support

Can you manage the entire effort with internal man power or do you need also external manpower? If you have no in-house UX expert, it makes sense to work with external expertise. They work in different projects and will usually be able to assist with a vast amount of experience.


I am a track and field athlete. So to illustrate what I mean, let me draw this quick comparison:

I am convinced you are an expert. Let’s assume you’re actually one of the best project managers out there. So, in my comparison you are a decathlon world champion. You can throw a javelin 70 meters. But a world champion trained in a single discipline, the actual world champion in javelin, can achieve distances 20-40% longer than you, because he is the expert in this discipline. You are a champ, but for design and UX, ask the champ in their discipline. Rely on the expertise of others and thereby build your own success.


4.) Importance of Design & UX:

What’s the importance of Design and UX? Is it an end customer process or product? Do you want to sell the product? Is it an internal service for a huge amount of people or only for fewer people? Do you develop a backend product? Depending on your strategy you must decide how important Design and UX is for your project.

Usually you will already know this, or it may actually depend on a few factors. But this Design Strategy paper is for the commitment of the whole project.


5.) Value of Design

What’s the value of design for the customer in this specific project? Is it high or not? Could it be your USP for the whole project?


6.) Product Vision

Without a project vision, you will end up on the wrong road. You must include all strategies and future functionalities in your designs. Of course we will start small and develop it for the next 10 years. But you have to think about your vision, so you don’t have to start fully redesigning after 2 years, because you didn’t think of all aspects.

It’s also important for your whole team communication. It’s much easier if your team knows what the project vision and what the target will be. The motivation is much higher, than if you keep everyone guessing about exactly it is they are developing and what the scope might be.


7.) Project objectives

What are your project objectives in detail? This will be also the key performance indicators to watch out for. For example:

  • With this project we will increase the click rate to more than 15% in the coming 2 years.
  • We will increase the net profit to 500.000 in 5 years.



8.) Stakeholder Map

The stakeholder map is one of the most important tools at the beginning of a project. You will define all actual user groups and people who will be directly or indirectly part of the project. From people who will use your system or not use the system. And those who can influence your project, as well as those who can’t.

After your first stakeholder map, you have to decide which people are important for your project and define a stakeholder activity map. For example, let’s assume you want to start a project, but your team doesn’t know how to work together in a creative process with designers. Thus, you have to motivate them with different steps, or include them in other projects to ensure that they are willing to work with you on this project in harmony, not in war.

–> Download a UXTB_Stakeholder_map


9.) Super Persona and Personas

Out of the stakeholder map you will define who will be the Super Persona, the leading target group and who will be your personas. This should be decided together with your time and should support the vision you have shared earlier. This tool is also for your team communication and to evaluate every stage at your project if you are going into the right direction.

It’s also important to define your non-personas. So you know for whom you are not developing. Maybe this might be your superior, who might have very specific ideas of how to do it, or a specific target group.


10.) Timeline, KPI’s and Exit Points

Of course, you must know your timeline,  or define the timeline for your project. Define the internal and external KPI’s to measure your services, processes and your project. And in the worst case you have to define your exit points. This would be the point, where you stop the project and acknowledge that the project has failed.

This is important, otherwise you will work on the project for years and you know that you will lose a lot of money, and never will succeed, because your project is dead.

Please keep in mind: At some point there is just no point of return, no matter how long you will try to resuscitate!


11.) Methods

Regarding to your timeline and KPI’s, which methods make sense? How often can you iterate and how often can you plan user studies? Is it more a straight forward or a really open project? Do you have enough money and manpower?


12.) UX / Design ritual

Define a UX ritual like a weekly meeting, a UX review of your Research Guerilla wall a daily standup like in scrum or something creative. You have to emphasize the importance of your designs. A ritual is really important for humans to stay in a motivated stage, to hear something new and it’s a great opportunity to discuss all failures or new ideas in your project.


If you know all the START Key facts you can start your project.

I wish you much success in your coming projects!


Hannes Robier


You are an awesome UX Designer. You love your job? Of course, because you are a great designer and you deliver the best concepts. Your interaction designs win different awards? You are more creative and competent than other UI/ UX designers?

But you don’t get recognized?

You don’t have the chance to prove yourself at the right time?

Now, ask yourself: What are the key skills that make a true UX hero? The skills don’t have anything to do with the ability to design, to concept or to do research. Anyone truly interested in the field may have the opportunity to acquire the typical UX Skills, but there is only a few who will get recognized by the world. And the skills making up these UX heroes are hidden skills – skills you can’t easily learn at school or university.  So, let’s talk about the social UX skills to become a UX Hero.

1.) Have a network behind you

During your whole life, if you want to be a UX leader or hero you will come to different challenges with different exercises. You are most likely not the one person who can solve all problems. But you must know who you can ask, or who can help you to get to and stay at the top. In the end it was your task to solve the problem.

So, what are the to-dos you need to master for this first skill:

  • Build up a huge network to know who to ask
  • Convince the right people who are influencers of your goals
  • Help your contacts every time and build a high level of trust – for every once in while you may need help



2.) Ask questions

Asking questions is the holy answer to everything in UX. If you get technical or other requirements: don’t trust them. Ask questions if you don’t understand anything. Ask questions, if you do. Our job is to ask questions, questions, questions. The more you know, the better will your designs be. In fact, asking questions is no sign of being stupid, it’s a sign of being interested and it will give your designs the edge your clients will look out for. Knowledge is power.

So, what to do:

  • Ask as many questions at the beginning of a project. Start with a vision workshop.
  • Ask everything, every time in your life. Repeat.
  • Summarize answers for everyone involved to clarify your understanding and potentially spark new questions!



3.) Be personal

If you have no personal level of communication, no one will tell you the true insights. I know a lot of companies where usability tests are not personal at all. Do you really think the tester will tell you the whole truth? Think about your clients and the people showing up for your usability tests and make sure to fit your appearance to them. This will allow for an easier connection. Ask them (not too) personal questions to break the ice and be a person to sympathize with. This holds true in every project and for every team. A personal feeling and connection will bring you the right information and so you can design much better products.

So, what to do:

  • Find a level of communication and talk
  • Ask personal questions, connect and show personality
  • Be a gentleman / lady to show your respect


4.) Be active not reactive

Be the first to communicate. If you have a bad feeling, ask, organize a meeting, go forward. To be reactive it’s the worst thing you can do. To wait for customers giving feedback or if you are waiting what you should do.

Offence is the best defence.

Customers, or your boss don’t know it better than you, so have an opinion and tell it to others. But you must argue, question and build upon it every time. For that you must have knowledge, ask questions and know all the foundations in UX. Processes, methods.

So how to start with it

  • Know all the foundations in UX. Have a proper certification, get re-certificated.
  • Know what to do in all situations. Have a strategy.
  • Be an influencer. Tell your story.



5.) Don’t believe a HIPPO

This is something I saw and experience everyday in my life.  If someone in a higher position has an opinion, UX designers do what they want. No question asked. That’s the wrong way – you need to think differently and question what you’re being told. Be active.

Don’t believe a HIPPO (highest paid persons opinion)

It summarizes all other skills. Be active, ask questions, have a network behind to answer questions and be always a gentleman or lady that they have no way to attack you.


  • Have your own opinion
  • Design every time something new and innovative
  • Work on use cases, not on opinions


So the most important way to start is to build up a great network. How is it possible? Meet people, visit UX Meetups and conferences like the World Usability Congress (early Bird until end of June). There you will find the best design & UX heroes from around the world.

Try to find a mentor who will support you on any way. If unsure how to do that – a great way is the Interaction Design Foundation, IxDA or your local UXPA.

Try do design your own sheet with all 5 social skills and put it in front of your computer. Start working on every skill continuously. Write blog articles, share your thoughts. People will start following you.

Create your livelong masterplan, your vision board.

And there are much more possibilities.



What it takes to make a great UX designer doesn’t depend on what kind of company you work for—whether a product or service company or an agency. In this article, I’ll describe some common best practices that enable UX designers to do great work.

Practice 1: Build Trust by Being Authentic and Loving Your Job

Only people who truly love their job and work with passion can do great work.

For example, I take my passion into agency pitches. Dewetron, an Austrian company, needed support in developing new, long-term data-measurement software. They understood the importance of simplicity. I really wanted to work on this project and was passionate about doing it. Why? Because, these days, we don’t often get the chance to build software for an industry from scratch without any user-interface requirements. I was thankful to be part of this development effort.

As a UX professional—whether in consulting or in business—you have to build expertise and trust. At the beginning, you must convince your clients of your expertise and establish your references. Your passion for your work will help you to convey your expertise.


Practice 2: Plan Your Projects

Be prepared and plan what you will do! This practice is truly a game changer. At youspi, to define our approach to our work, we always start with a UX Strategy Plan that includes the following:

  • Vision
  • Targets
  • Importance of UX
  • A Stakeholder Map
  • Exit Strategy

If something is missing, we know we have to define the details with the customer. Figure 1 shows the first UX Strategy Plan we created.

Figure 1—UX Strategy Plan
UX Strategy Plan


Figure 2 shows our UX project-management toolbox.

Figure 2—UX toolbox
UX toolbox


When we start a new project, we learn about our client’s competitors. We pledged to make the Dewetron software better than their competitors, no matter what. First, we evaluated the main use cases and launched a couple of workshops. After that, we met up once a week.

Time was a major constraint because Management demanded that we complete the design of their software just one month after the initial project start. We had to define a rough design concept within that month. This was not really enough time and didn’t even allow us to chat with real users.

Not knowing the real users was a huge disadvantage. We had to find an alternative way of proceeding. This meant talking with in-house experts, defining the roots of the software, and gaining as many insights as possible in a small amount of time.

We quickly identified the basic function of the Dewetron software—it was all about recording and reviewing data. We realized we needed a mental model. So we adopted the tape recorder, shown in Figure 3, as our mental model for the software, which is shown in Figure 4. Luckily, everyone in our target group was old enough to know how to work with one.


Figure 3—Tape recorder
Tape recorder
Figure 4—Software based on the tape-recorder mental mode
Software based on the tape-recorder mental mode


Practice 3: Discover the Right Mental Model

Find the right mental model for your product. This will contribute greatly to your product’s success. With the right mental model, when users look at your product for the first time, they’ll intuitively know how to work with it and what they can do with it. Whenever you need to show a process or define the main use case, a mental model can be very beneficial. It lets you bring the essence of a product to its main screen. In the case of the Dewetron software, we defined the whole screen as a data recorder and provided the main actions—including Play, Record, Fast Forward, and Rewind—at the bottom.

Once we had defined a mental model we could work with, the next challenge was defining the interaction model for the main navigation. This was a challenge because the client wanted and expected Microsoft’s ribbon. They thought the ribbon, shown in Figure 5, represented the best solution.

Figure 5—The ribbon the client wanted
The ribbon the client wanted

We’ve all experienced a client or boss who thought he knew best. While the proposed solution was okay, I knew there was a better solution, so we offered to create more than one concept.

To find the best solution, we designed several different solutions. In the end, for this multitouch software, we decided to place the navigation at the right side and also to use swipe navigation for the main use cases and for expert users. Left-handed users can move the navigation to the left side to suit their needs. We could easily justify this approach, and testing also backed it up. Such a navigation concept is much more flexible and let us match the needs of 90% of all users.

We proposed a few design solutions and two different interaction models to Management, as shown in Figure 6, following up with various discussions.

Figure 6—Other design solutions
Other design solutions

After another week of back-and-forth with the Product Management team, who supported our concept, we got the final go-ahead and proceed with our design concept.


Practice 4: Focus on Navigation for the Main Use Cases

Next, we had to find a way to work hand in hand with the development team. Dewetron used the Scrum development method, and we designed the use cases they provided. We participated in weekly meetings and discussed the new design, the old design, and optimized design to find the right approach.

As shown in Figure 7, we first created a UX minimum viable product (MVP), then developed a real MVP. Once we knew the concept would work well, we began the Scrum development process.

Figure 7—MVP process
MVP process

Now, you might be asking yourself: Why are User Experience and developing MVPs so important? Following a UX design process reduces errors. If you put greater focus on UX design at the beginning, errors decrease and your development process will be shorter.

We were really happy because the development team was really open minded about all of our ideas. They cared about great interactions and design. It’s so important for User Experience to work in close collaboration with Development.


Practice 5: Be Flexible in Interacting with the Development Team

It’s essential to reduce errors and this collaborative approach really worked for us!

Throughout the whole development process, we received feedback from Development and came up with design solutions for very specific use cases. To me, consistency is key. Because of my deep belief in the importance of consistency, we’ve developed a pattern library for each and every single one of our projects—similar to that shown in Figure 8. We also defined a pattern-library process. Anyone can define new patterns, which go through an evaluation phase for a week or two. Everyone can evaluate and provide feedback on a new pattern. If the team agrees to implement a new pattern or replace an old pattern, it gets accepted into the library. In this way, you can create consistency across different product teams.

Figure 8—Pattern

Let’s look at some screens to get a better understanding of what I mean by consistency. Strive for consistency in

  • active elements
  • groupings
  • color coding

As a UX Manager, you should endeavor to improve the consistency of all elements. This is important because there are a lot of creative UX designers and developers out there who do not pay enough attention to consistency—each with their own design ideas. Ultimately, inconsistency creates user irritation and frustration.


Practice 6: Stand Firm and Create Consistent Interaction Models

Consistency is really important. Another thing every UX professional should focus on is bringing consistency to use cases of many different types. These are hard to describe just in words, so let’s look at a few specific examples.

Let’s start with recording status, shown in Figure 9. Initially, we intended to use color to distinguish the Record button and thought this would be enough, but it wasn’t.

Figure 9—Recording status screen
Recording status screen

We received feedback that no one recognized the Record button as such. To make it more prominent, we came up with different ways of displaying record status. In the end, we created just a one-line status. But we quickly found out that we needed to design the screensaver recording mode, shown in Figure 10, because this is a long-term recorder that normally runs for more than two weeks. Obviously, the user won’t spend the entire time in front of the system, but will instead check back regularly to see what has happened at a glance. So we also created the screensavers.

Figure 10—Screensaver recording mode
Screensaver recording mode

Practice 7: Be Alert to All the Different Use Cases

It’s really important to evaluate and discover how people work.

Assuming the software was finished, we also had to consider the hardware design. The solution shown in Figure 11 was the best way to satisfy all the use cases that we had to bear in mind. This industrial product must work within various environments. Because there is a use case in which ten or 15 of these devices can be plugged together and must stand beside and above one another, the shape had to be rectangular, as shown in Figure 11. However, users can customize the product by buying it in different colors.

Figure 11—Recording device
Recording device

We also thought about other use cases and external systems. We knew that the system also had to analyze data when the user was driving a car or motorbike. In this use case, the user had no free hand, so had to speak to the control center. We had the great idea to include a brain control, shown in Figure 12, only for the main use cases: starting and stopping recording.

Figure 12—Brain control
Brain control

To be quite honest, we’re still working on brain control because, for industry, it must work 100% of the time, without fault. This feature could be an exciting game changer, and it’s extremely interesting to consider how people think.

You probably know this next example: If I asked you not to think about a pink elephant, you’d probably already have a very clear picture of a cute, pink elephant in your mind. The mind is indeed a curious thing. And that’s the way with start and stop actions.

Practice 8: Be a Trend Scout!

It’s essential that we always bring our passion to our work on every project. Coming back to Practice 1, I fully believe that if we put our heart in our work, we can achieve so much more and become aware of the many tiny little things that can make all the difference. If you do this:

  • People will appreciate your products and projects.
  • They’ll hear about them.
  • They’ll see the love you’ve put into them.
  • You’ll be successful and honored.

In case you’re wondering what happened with the Dewetron project: It got awarded the NASA product of the year, as shown in Figure 13.

Figure #—NASA product of the year
NASA product of the year


Work on every project with your full passion. You never know what the outcome might be. Steve Jobs, a pioneer in simplification and an early proponent of the UX revolution, said these words decades ago:

“Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean—to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because, once you get there, you can move mountains.”—Steve Jobs

I think these words are particularly appropriate today. So develop your social skills and UX practices, simplify the world, and move mountains!




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UX Has the Power to Impact Exterior Design

UX Challenges and Opportunities of
  • Angry driving
  • Risky driving
  • Dissociated driving
  • Careful driving
Today drivers have to tell cars what to do. Cars are mute, not-so-intelligent hunks of machinery. Driving is a cognitively heavy activity because the driver does all the thinking and commanding.
  • Fully autonomous vehicles would give passengers the ability of engaging in other relaxing or productive activities. The owners of these cars would accept longer commutes and this would create a shift in the dynamics of sub-urban development.
  • New kind of displays would be added to the interior of the cars. Space would be optimized so it can adapt to different situations. Cars that double as an office space would be hugely popular.
  • Cars would likely have an OS fragmentation like the one we are currently experiencing with Android and iOS. Auto makers would focus in creating advanced interior experiences , but they would rely on software vendors to provide an Operating System and a Software Distribution Platform that would allow car users to do things like using productivity tools or watching live TV. However, companies like Google or Apple, would likely create their own hardware (Cars) which would create new market dynamics in the automotive industry.
  • Gaming would be a major player in the new scene of in-car experiences. Windshields would also work as Dynamic Displays and as Augmented Reality surfaces.
  • Car Segments would stay as the market reference for competition in the Self-Driving Car Industry. Families would still buy big cars with features for every member of the family. Young people would favor small cars with interesting in-car experiences. Mature professional would still buy high-end cars with distinct luxury features and in-car experiences.
  • Prices and features would impact the final in-car experiences dramatically. Very cheap self-driving cars would feel like flying economy. High-end luxury self-driving cars would provide an experience similar to flying First Class.
  • Self-Driving Cars would be slightly more expensive that current cars. However Self-Driving cars would be able to join ride-hailing networks and earn money for their owners. Although, companies like Uber would very likely have their own fleet, they would still need to rely on third-owned cars to keep their business scalable and profitable.
  • Some professions would experience fundamental changes. Delivery services would become fully automated and police forces would have to re-define their patrolling practices.


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