First UX Brunch Zurich 2015

Last Friday started for me with friendly smiles of people who care about user-friendly solutions, which make our lifes better. I was happy to be among 60 attendees of the first UX Brunch Zürich 2015, organized by Valérie Vuillerat, Rahel Vils and Marc Steffen. Event took place in Impact Hub, which is known as a space with a good vibe. Being there is already enough to love the world around you even on an early Friday morning. But greeting and meeting people, who understand your challenges and the big meaning of those small victories on the way to great designs, is even better. 

But of course we all came to listen to Karin Lanz, User Experience Specialist at SBB, and Anne-Katrin Maser, Head of E-Market at Helsana. They were sharing with us their experiences and challenges with user centred design approach. Both presenters shed a light on their ways of trying to solve a common problem: how to make customers happy. 

It was interesting to learn that the SBB UX team is actually a very young one, that was born in 2014. This is rather surprising for a company where the target group consists of the population of the whole country and has a quite broad spectrum of needs.  But already within the short period of time, the SBB UX team has been involved in more than 25 internal- and customer-oriented projects, using quantitative and qualitative methods to measure results. The team battled problems well known by anyone who introduces UCD in a company. One of these is the sceptical attitude towards people, who in a way suppose to criticize solutions and applications. But with help of events like for example the UX day for SBB employees and external guests and the introduction of project management check lists (do you need UX research in your project?) the new team got noticed and now has a big list of projects to work on.

For 2015 the SBB UX team has great goals, among which is working on style and guidelines, setting up a UX Lab and focusing on accessibility. 

To introduce a new way of “consulting without consulting” Helsana and Anne-Katrin Maser went an insightful way together with their partners Ginetta and Stimmt AG. Anne shared with us that while conducting contextual inquiry and usability tests you can learn things you never imagine you would. For instance, how a user perceives an innocent question like “Do you need glasses?”. While my personal reaction was “well, I need contact lenses, what am I suppose to answer”, that particular user wasn’t sure whether her reading glasses would be a suitable answer to the question.

The presence of important stakeholders at UX workshops is a good way to not only share insights, but also show the importance of UX research and iterative design. Another important take home message is familiar to all of us, but we need to “rediscover” this again and again: reduce complexity. Yes, less is more. And of course: the "Go Live" doesn’t mean you should stop with UX research and product improvements. 

Next UX Brunch Zurich has already been scheduled and will take place on 26th of June. Don't miss it and in the meantime check the awesome event pictures taken by Boris Baldinger

March 25, 2015

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