UX Design Barcamp

UX Camp Europe 2017 in Review

UX Camp Europe in Berlin is one of the the biggest User Experience events worldwide. On one amazing weekend, more than 500 participants from various professional backgrounds such as User Experience, User Interface Design, Development, Service Design, User Research, Psychology and other digital design enthusiasts from around the world gathered at Humboldt University Berlin for the 9th UX Camp Europe.

The event concept is that of a BarCamp, which means it’s an open, participatory workshop, where everyone is part of the camp and contributes equally to its success and all the content of lectures and workshops is provided by participants themselves. Every attendant has the chance to manage a session and share their own topics, questions and network with other participants.

In this article, we want to share some impressions of the sessions we attended and our most important learnings with you.

uxcamp sessions

Impressions from session planning and some sessions at the 9th UX Camp Europe in Berlin.


Lessons I learned about designer – developer collaboration

Session by Magdalena Zadara, Experience Designer at BCG Digital Ventures

In her session, Magdalena Zadara talked about the collaboration between designers and developers. From her practical experience as a UX Designer, she gave many useful tips on how to work with developers. Her method is not only suitable for big companies, but also helps any interdisciplinary team collaborate more smoothly in their everyday workflow. Her key points were the following:

First: Get to know each other
  • First of all: Really get to know each other: You could use tools like team canvas to organize alignment meetings and bring all your team members on the same page.
  • Have a clear definition of success: What is the goal of the team? – A team event can also be useful for team building.
Second: Establish a workflow
Third: Be interested & interesting
  • Sitting next to each other helps communication.
  • Internal flash talks can provide regular quick updates.
  • Retrospectives provide clarity for future collaborations.
  • Engaging developers in design workshops identifies challenges early on and increases motivation on both sides.
  • A team dictionary helps – so that you talk about the same things.
  • Going to conferences together gets you inspired and builds your team.

2. Taking notes in meetings

5 Steps to change your note-taking

Session by Eva-Lotta Lamm, UX Designer

The note taking workshop going on.

One of the most popular sessions of the day was “change your note taking” by Eva – Lotta Lamm. She used some great examples to tell us how to visualize information instead of “just” writing. In her talk, she gave 5 tips on how to drastically improve you note-taking:

  • Use chunks: Write information in chunks and short lines, around 2-4 words per line and only one thought per chunk. Always leave some space around your chunks, because it’s more flexible if you want to add or change the information later on.
  • Add keywords: If there is no keyword, give your chunk a title and make it bigger.
  • Add visual Hierarchy: You could use some tricks, for example size, style, contrast, underlines and frames on your notes to develop consistency.
  • Add structure: Use lines and arrows to connect, separate and group your chunks.
  • Add visual hooks: Use simple images or small icons to go with your written notes.

3. How AI is changing UX and product design

Future proof your product!

Session by Holger Eggert, Lead Strategic Designer at Daimler

How do you make your product safe for the future? – Design a useful algorithm.

In his session “Future proof your product“, Holger Eggert gave many insight and tips about working with artificial intelligence and how to build useful algorithms. He also made a couple of very specific points on how to understand Artificial Intelligence (AI), like “you don’t need consciousness for artificial intelligence” or “in the past, we only knew intelligence combined with consciousness, because the only intelligent thing we knew were other humans”. As a striking example, he menioned the Japanese board game Go, in wich an AI named AlphaGo recently won the game against a human grand master. Still, we don’t really know how AlphaGo feels about this ground breaking victory.

Here are Holger’s top tipps on how to build a future proof product:

First: Map out the user journey – in meticulous detail:

  • Start with the user journey: If you have a product, map out the user journey, and map it out again in much more detail. Try to be as detailed and specific as possible to identify every step.
  • Begin with the intension of the user: Observe what problem they want to have met, what task they need to do, what they want and wich outcome they want to acieve.
  • Do the work: Along the user journey you see now, you will be able to see every action, decission and input wich the user has to undertake in order to reach their intended outcome. Take all of these steps away from the user if you possibly can. First, someone at your company may have to do these steps. Later, assign an Algorithm to do the work. you end up with a user journey with no friction – the perfect service.

Second: Three approaches to building a future proof algorithm:

  • Rule Based approach: At the first step, you would map out step by step what you want to do – computer scientist will call it rule-based approach – in a similar way the rules in IFTTT (if this then that) are laid out. Try to cover all the possible cases and you could map your process into software. Then you have to rule-based algorithm.
  • Machine Learning approach: The second way to build the algorithm – wich we see becoming increasingly popular in the past two years – is machine learning. Basically, you don’t tell the machine what to do, you just tell the machine the outcome you expect and let the machine figure out the details. Much easier for the human. The basic algorithm of machine learning doesn’t change, but the machine is trained with different data sets – like images, text, or sound – and in the end, the machine will figure out how to do it. For example, if you happen to work for a customer support system, the machine could figure out the right way to reply to a customer e-Mail.
  • A combined approach: Third point is, there will be an even more flexible way: In the future, we will have algorithms writing and training algorithms for us. Both rule-based and machine-learning based ones. Today, that is something really complex, but this development is sure to take place. And if there is a task that an algorithm can not do – so you still need a human to do it – there will simply be moments where a human expert will take over the work of the algorithm, keeping the large percentage of tasks automated but still gracefully managing exceptions.

To get a more detailed impression on this topic, you can watch Holgers Talk on Vimeo.

Wrapping up

UX is not what you think

As technology is progressing more and more rapidly, product teams need to adress many emerging roles – from flexible and empathic team leaders to decicive product visionaries and fearless tamers on artificial intelligence algorithms. Building innovative products that carry meaning for the customer needs teams of flexible professionals who take on roles as they emerge and who know how to surf the waves of constant change with grace.

We are very happy to participate at UX Camp 17 and we are already looking forward to witness the state of the UX profession in 2018.


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