3 Highlights from the UX Day in Mannheim 2014

If I were British, I might sum up the UX Day on October 23, 2014 in Mannheim by saying it was partly quite good and partly very interesting (see http://tinyurl.com/saying-vs-meaning.)

The event was a double-track conference, so therefore all attendees didn’t share the same conference experience. I can only speak and write from my experience.

The day kicked off at 9:30am and closed at about 6:00pm. Christian Reschke’s welcome and opening remarks and closing comments bookended the day. Three breaks, one in the morning, lunch, and afternoon breaks gave attendees opportunities to network. During my lunch I had the luck to meet a few nice conference members who are working as UX designers at Hornbach, a home improvement chain.

This one-day conference included a choice of over 20 presentations as well as 3 workshops.

It was announced that the conference attendees can learn about best practices for user-centered product development, usability research, and real-world case studies about websites, mobile devices, software, and more.

I joined 11 presentations – and, to be perfectly honest, just three were really good.( I marked my path through the event – by the red marks on the above schedule )

Following I will summarize the 3 mentioned presentation which I liked most.


The first presentation I would like to point out was a speech by Daniel Sproll (RE’FLEKT GmbH ) about Virtual und Augmented Reality UX.
The reason why UX designers should care about augmented reality (AR) is that it is yet another type of user interaction, albeit a relatively unexplored type. Most user experience principles may be applied to augmented reality apps and technology, but there are still many gaps to be filled and opportunities to be embraced. (btw. There was a presentation in the morning by SAP’s Andreas Hauser about UX in AR which I missed, as I over looked it ;-( perhaps one of my SAP colleagues can say something about it). What Are the UX Challenges of Virtual und Augmented Reality?
Like any other new technology there are lots of constraints and limitations to augmented reality that need to be considered when designing the user experience. And as you might expect if we talk about AR and VR we have to handle really big data – that leads us to issues like imitations of bandwidth, software, hardware and backbone (data, backend processes, etc.)
Although it has greatly advanced in recent years, AR and VR are still raw and in need of bright minds to put technology and user needs together.
While augmented reality technology is still new, and virtual reality is almost ready for the market, it has already proved to be useful in many fields. As a new interaction medium, both require a solid understanding of users, as well as their expectations and needs. It is important to get it right and make sure it adds value to the user experience.


The second presentation which I liked was by Benjamin Kraier (Weitclick GmbH ) called “Second Screen – TV-Revolution?
Second Screen is the use of an additional monitor (e.g. tablet, smartphone) while watching television. It allows the audience to interact with what they’re consuming whether it’s a TV show, video game or movie. When we are talking about Second Screen experience we are talking about creating rich media experiences through synchronous interplay between different touch points. In a world teeming with cable cutters and streaming media, critics have predicted the demise of live TV for some time. But the real fans know that’s not so — new digital tools are actually making the experience of favorite shows even better.
One of the most exciting new developments is second-screen apps. By keeping their smartphones, tablets or even laptops handy, viewers can get new insights into their shows and tap into an active community from the comfort of their couches or their picnic blanket while they are in the countryside.

A few examples:

The Walking Dead Story Sync

AMC’s smart, suspenseful take on the zombie genre has generated a large following, and this app lets them share the experience of live episodes together. Story Sync keeps viewers engaged with polls, trivia, still photos, quotes and flashbacks. All the information is shared in a striking design.


This is a must-have for any serious fan of HBO programming. If you have a cable account, then you can watch full episodes on either the mobile or web versions. Within the tool, you can find hubs for different shows, and the standout is the extra content for Game of Thrones. If you need help keeping the members of each house straight or understanding the complex politics of Westeros, then this is a great companion tool.


The popular social network has become a close partner for many of the second-screen efforts on TV. Even though it wasn’t made just for simultaneous viewing, Twitter has become an important part of the television experience. Many shows have had successful campaigns and conversations based around Twitter. For example, Psych on USA Network and Bones on FOX have both made smart use of live chats and hashtag games to keep their fans talking.

NFL Games Live | NFL Game Pass

And my fourth example is my favorite one, which I use more or less every day (as a 49ers fan ;-) is this one. I can chat and sketch with other fans while I am watching the game at home.


And lastly – and please don’t think that I am saying this because I am an SAP employee – one of the three presentations I liked best was the one by Götz Bockstedte & Stefan Krüger called Experience Design.
In a very easy to understand way, Götz and Stefan explained the correlation and synergy between user experience, customer experience and brand experience.
User Experience (UX) covers a user’s behaviors, attitudes, and emotions about using a individual product or service. User experience focuses on all the elements. All elements which make up the interface, including layout, visual design, text, brand, sound, and interaction. UX is in charge to coordinate these elements to allow the best possible interaction.
When we talk about customer experience (CX) – we are talking about the whole range of experience a consumer has with a company, it products and services – it includes awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, . Understanding the customer experience is an integral part of customer relationship management.
Brand experience (BX) covers the individual, subjective perceptions, feelings, preliminary findings and emotions, and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related impulses, actions or appearance that can and will be fragment of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments.
If UX designers want to play in the entire experience world, we need to lift our heads up from our desks and step out from behind our wireframes, clickable prototypes and we have to see the bigger picture, have to feel and understand the whole user and his use cases, the whole customer and is life cycle in relation to the unique brand awareness and the market and future trends.

And finally,:
I wrote a lot about three great talks which were good -  but if there is light, then there is also darkness.
The ‘darkness’ started at the very beginning with one of the worst parking places in Mannheim and the website of the UX Day was of no help. The next dark spot was that everyone has to face in the main hall / conference room it was dark and the air bad. And the next disappointment was the catering – just bad, bad coffee ;-)