Mar 1, 2016

UX and interaction designers @ HEL: The Interaction16-fun started

Sunset in Helsinki
Today I arrived at Helsinki for my first attendance at the Interaction-Conference organized by the IxDA.

After enjoying the sun in the afternoon with a nice run, the Interaction-Community already started coming together for the first evening event at the IDEAN office. They really have nice slogan...
"Life is too short for crappy UX!"
IDEAN and IBM invited for a get-together and Douglas Powel (Design Principal at IBM Design) presented how they are currently facilitating their design process.

Get-together at IDEAN office
Douglas Powell (@douglaspowell1) talked about "What more can Designers do?" in order to push borders and "move" into new areas.

Design is not something new for IBM - it started in the mid of the 20th century.
"Good design is good business." (Quote from 1966)
And todays philosophy of IBM is:
"The technology we use at work should be as delightful, intuitive and efficient as the techology we use the rest of our life."
The tactical formula to reach this goal is focusing on three parts: people, places and processes.


IBM hired a lot of Designers - they have a 3 months' program (like a boot camp) to give the new employees the chance to "understand" IBM with all the related aspects. They have now 700 designers and are hiring more - 2/3 directly from the university.


The designers will work in Studios - the workplace needs to be flexible (moveable whiteboards) and collaborative, with a lot of space to be creative.


IBM created an IBM design language, which is available since early 2015 - it includes resource for vision, motion and interaction design. It's available at

A process resource is the IBM design thinking: it's design thinking but focusing on distributed teams and high speed (constant movement) - so the focus is speed & scale.
The IBM design thinking focuses on user outcomes, multidisciplinary team and restless reinvention (iterations) - the team need to "move" always; stagnation is the worst.

So Douglas Powell presented a good overview of how IBM is facilitating the design process and there are some interesting aspects - but I'm still curious if they are able to make the huge amount of "new" designer really productive.

So this evening was already a nice start with interesting discussions and I'm already looking forward to the first day of the conference tomorrow.

Thx IDEAN (@Idean) once again for hosting this nice evening.

Feb 2, 2016

UX Toolkit for Product Owners - a full-day workshop!

In October my team and I created the "UX Toolkit" - a collection of 10 UX methods that can be used in a project. In the toolkit we explain the method and give some basic information about it. In addition we provide some links and references at

Based on the toolkit and my talk at the Agile Tour Vienna 2015 I will do a full-day workshop called "UX Toolkit for Product Owners".  The main goal of the workshop is to learn the basics of 7 UX methods and practice them. In this workshop we will do end-user interviews, contextual inquiry, personas, scenarios and storyboards, wireframes, paper prototyping and some usability testing with end-users (with think-aloud).

This workshop is for everybody working in a project who want to put more focus towards the user: understanding the user and getting feedback early.

Some details:
Hope to see you :)

Dec 1, 2015

UX Toolkit for Product Owners

UX Toolkit
About one week ago I did a talk at the Agile Tour Vienna called "UX Toolkit for Product Owners". As I'm working as a Usability Engineer in several agile projects I learned that the team and especially the product owner can benefit a lot from directly talking to the users.

Because I think that UX is no magical thing that only can be done by people studying several years, I created a small "UX Toolkit" explaining 10 UX methods that could help product owners and other team members to get a better understanding of the users and that should help to validate their designs. The methods are End-User Interview, Contextual Inquiry, Personas, Scenarios and Storyboards, Card Sorting, Wireframes, Paper Prototyping, End-User Testing, Think Aloud and Heuristic Evaluation.

We tried to describe the methods briefly and we visualized how much experience is needed and how much time/effort is necessary.

In addition to the printed UX-Toolkit we provided a tiny Website (in German) for providing additional links to blogs and videos:

In the talk I presented then five methods including some real-life examples ... the slides (in German) are provided on Slideshare.

If you want to get the printed version of the UX-Toolkit you can directly contact me: claudia.oster[at]

Besides that I want to highlight that the videos of the keynotes of the Agile Tour are online - for all UX-Designers the talk by Jeff Patton is a must-see. Have fun!

Oct 30, 2015

Innovation Games Retrospect: How I created my first game... & Upcoming Events

In September I participated in the Workshop by Luke Hohmann about "Innovation Games: Designing for Multidimensional Collaboration". In this workshop Luke presented how everybody can create a "serious" game by themselves in order to fit the own needs and purpose.

In the first part of the workshop Luke explained the basics of game theory about rules, the "game board", the resources in a game and the players' problem and motivation. In addition to his presentation he also talked about some real life examples and challenges creating games, which were very interesting.

In the second part of the workshop we tried to create a game on our own. Lukas and I worked on a game for "retrospective retrospectives". The idea is to get some quick feedback from a project team how the retrospective can be improved. The important thing is, that the method shouldn't be too complex to explain and everybody should be participating.

We used the idea of a metaphor and created a poster with a car body. The team will get a concrete number of missing parts, e.g. wheels, spoiler and engine, that they should add to the car in order to get it running. These missing parts should be the ideas how the retrospective can be improved.

Retrospective Retrospective Car Game

The idea and metaphor worked well, but it was a little bit too easy for the participants. So we learned that a game should also be a little bit tricky in order to be fun. Nevertheless, we learned a lot about creating a game and adapting existing games to better fit our needs.

Also really funny games were created in this workshop - like a game for Impact Mapping using the metaphor of a knight searching the way to the castle. The knight has to pass a dark forest with trolls, but there are some signs and a fairy that can help him to find the way.

"Serious" game with a knight, a castle, trolls and a fairy.
I would like to see this game in real-life.

If you are interested in the topic of Gamestorming and Innovation Games as well - I have some interesting events coming up in Vienna:

Sep 11, 2015

September Events: Barcamp.Digital, Playcamp & Innovation Games-Workshop

Next week Luke Hohmann is in Vienna and there are two interesting events you can meet him:

playcamp Vienna
Luke Hohmann
Friday, September 18th, 2015, 9 am to 5 pm

This one-day conference is all about Innovation Games and Gamestorming.
"Playcamps are for anyone with an interest in learning how collaborative play can help individuals and teams collaborate, prioritize and communicate more effectively."
Luke Hohmann will be a keynote speaker. More information and registration can be found here:

Innovation Games Workshop with Luke Hohman
Saturday, September 19th, 2015, 9.30 am to 5 pm

Luke Hohmann will moderate a one-day workshop about "Innovation Games: Designing for Multidimensional Collaboration" (Certification Course) at the TechTalk Office.
More Information is available on the TechTalk Website.

Friday to  Sunday, September 11th - 13th

And finally a short-term announcement ... if you have some spare time in Vienna this weekend (September 11th to 13th) - the is going on at the Microsoft Office - including the UXcamp - maybe you want to join. This event is free of charge.
More Information is available on the Barcamp.Digital Website.

Have a nice Weekend. Regards, Claudia

Jul 6, 2015

UX Certifications - honor or waste of money?

Several years working in the UX field I already had a few times a look on possible certifications and thought about the usefulness for my daily business. Until now I thought most available certificates are too focused on making money by some UX companies and doesn‘t provide any benefit for neither me nor our customers. In the last two years the CPUX was established by the UXQB (a special organisation created by the German UPA) and I tracked the process over the last years.

A few months ago I convinced myself to give the certification a try and I want to share my experience and opinion on that.

In general in the UX field it is important that everybody speak the same language. From the well-established tester certificates by ISTQB (especially the Foundation Level) I experienced that a certification can fulfill this expectation. So it was interesting for me to see if this is also provided by the CPUX certificate.
I was positively surprised about the state-of-the-art iterative approach that the content is based on. The used methods and processes are very similar to my daily business.

What is very important for me as well is, that the certification is provided by an established organization (= German UPA) that is not focused on making money. The workshops for the certification are provided by various other companies. Besides that the certification itself is relatively cheap.

I have one critic regarding the content of the certification. They have described the UX roles and their responsibilities regarding the UX deliverables (page 16 in the Curriculum (pdf)). I don't think this overview helps to understand what each role should do. For example describing that the Usability Engineer is responsible for the "UX project plan" is a little bit too much simplifying the process and tasks.

In general I was positively surprised by the content of the certification and it could be a good starting point to provide an established basis and vocabulary for our industry, but at the end a certificate doesn‘t tell anything about the quality of work we deliver.

Jun 21, 2015

UXcamp Europe 2015 - Day 2/Part 2: Conditio Humana (Why UX in real world sucks & agility stinks & some war stories) & Panel Discussion

Here are my notes from the final two sessions I participated at the UXcamp Europe 2015...
(Previous posts of the UXcamp Europe: Day 1/1, Day 1/2, Day 2/1)

#4 Conditio Humana: Why UX in real world sucks & agility stinks & some war stories - Jevgeni & Uli 

Conditio Humana is a philosophy term.
The Human Condition: We are born. We have to die. End of story. Everybody has to master the transition and they try their best.
BUT the limited perspective is leading to some limited results.

Have you heard of the peter principle? 
.... read about the peter principle.

Advertising & UX contradict each other.
"Let's make a website where people can..."
NOBODY - no user in the real world - ever will to that. Ever. Seriously

UX dies a slow death in advertising
- UX = Ease the pain
- Advertising = Increase the pain. ("Make the logo bigger.")
What is good for the user is bad for the brand.
"We've been working on our brand guidelines for 1 year, but we don't have something yet. Please use the version from 1996." (real quote from telecommunication company)
Why scrum does not work for big companies
General Show Stoppers in bsuiness: Procurement (they want to now upfront the costs in detail) & Legal

Show stoppers in doing:
- Daily business in departments, internal trainings, holiday situations
- Project vs. Operations
- Gap of reponsibility
- Agility in Strategy? Art? Creative Direction?
- Processes take time. Rework takes time. Time is money.
Who has participated in a daily standup taking longer than 1 hour?
"We don't have a product owner." (real quote from insurance company)
What can you do?
- Don't be afraid to fail. That's part of the process.
- Know when you screw up. It's a gut feeling. Act on it.
- Play. Have fun. You can see people smile in the results.
- Build a bridge you can be proud of. At least make some stories.

My conclusion: The scrum implemented in the large organizations was only bullshit-word-dropping, because Scrum with 400 people can't work - and it's not scrum.

... The conclusion: Isolate - Plan - Focus

#5 Panel Discussion

Panel discussion by a failed industrial designer, a failed frontend web developer, a failed project manager, a failed philosopher and a not-failed stage director :-)
Panel Discussion

Discussion on Apple Watch
"I have one so that I get to know the experience."
"I'm still searching for a use case."
"Probably sports is the main use case."
"The main use case of a watch is displaying the time."

Best Sessions/Topics
- Scrum Self Help
- "UX is still not appreciated how we want to have it."
- "The value of UX is there and we should try small steps to move the organisation." (referring to the talk by iversity)
- "We should not sell it, the results will sell itself."
- "A lot of eye opener discussion took place: like context ux, panel with women, education panel, ..."
- "Data collection is changing: is not only about collecting data, but it's about high quality data. But the analysis is done now very quick and dirty - I'm not sure if this is good or bad."
- "Visual User Research - Tools are very useful and easy to use."

The panel discussion closed with thoughts about how the UXcamp can improve... but many agreed that the conference is already at a high level and they should continue focusing on the Barcamp-Way of Conference.

Last but not least I also want to thank the organizational team for there perfect work and there huge engagement that was visible all over the conference.

See you soon :-)