Report on UXCamp Europe 2014

By Pauline 13-06-2014


The sixth UX Camp Europe took place on the 6th and 7th June: at this non-conference where there are no spectators, only participants allowed, passionate professionals from all over Europe assembled together to share their thinking, experience and talk about the discipline. The following is a report on some of the most remarkable sessions during this warm, summery weekend in Berlin.

Sprints + Jams: Design Methods for Fun and Profit

Rachel Ilan Simpson from Google organizes Design Jams regularly; she talked about different types of collaborative events that can be organized quickly to answer specific design problems. Rachel insisted on the distinction between professional workshops and weekend ones, like friendly competitions, such as Service Design Jams. She enthusiastically encourages this type of event by sharing with us her personal tips: for example, not forgetting about the conclusion, presenting results to others and using the occasion to create a friendly social occasion: “Celebrate!”


Bridging the physical-digital divide between ID/UX

Jason Mesut has two large subjects he cares about deeply: music, his source of inspiration, and thinking about the UX designer role. During this session he looked at the later from a new angle: as connected objects become more common, how should they be treated by UX designers?  Should they acquire industrial design skills? And what is industrial design these days anyway? Looking at examples from the greatest designers, he defines their jobs, fields of knowledge, what brings them together and what sets them apart, talking about the need to collaborate as partners, like music listeners at a concert, vibrating in unison.

Bridging the Physical-Digital Divide: For UX from Plan Strategic



The Experience is the Message – Creating Unique Airline Brand Experiences

Christian Vatter and Martin Jordan wanted to show how much the brand is a crucial factor when designing the user experience, so they set themselves a hypothetical brief. They picked two very different airlines (Lufthansa and EasyJet) and decided to imagine different solutions to improve the passenger experience for each, according to their brand values. Their exercise generated completely different service and application ideas, perfectly aligned with each brand’s key values.

Their presentation on Slideshare speaks for itself.

The Experience is the Message – Creating Unique Airline Brand Experiences from Christian Vatter



Nailing it: How can others better understand your ideas and concepts

Fabian Klenk and Katharina Weber organized a workshop to help others understand the mechanics of communication thanks to different experiments. The exercise unfolded as follows: two people were sitting back-to-back, one of them had to describe a photo while the other had to draw what was being described. After 5 minutes, the two people would stop and place the description and drawing side by side. Participants would then describe what they’d learnt about ensuring good communication, such as: “Find the key point on your presentation, it makes it easier to see the links between the minor points”;  “Present details and information which seem obvious to you, they’re less obvious for others”; “Don’t merely present facts, but also emotions”; “Present ideas in their context”; “If the person listening doesn’t pose questions, the risk of incomprehension rises considerably: keep in mind when sending an email…”; “Summarize the big picture first, details later”. The workshop’s resulting photos, drawings and thoughts stayed on a board during the Camp’s two days so that everyone could view them when passing by the hall… a great way of sharing!


CX is not UX

Berka Leos Stybnar was a user experience designer when he was recruited as a customer experience manager at Kentico, assuming it was more or less the same thing. After six months, he told us his point of view on his new role and presented the distinctions between UX and CX.

Customer experience has only one role: make the client come back. Based on the principle that what matters isn’t the experience, but the memory of the experience, CX professionals create customer journey scenarios which attempt to increase the return rate. The key point is not to improve the experience… on the contrary, certain negative aspects are deliberately kept, sometimes even created, because they generate profits or, conversely, because they let you allocate resources to a positive aspect which might be more cost-effective or have a higher impact on making clients come back.

Berka bases his thinking on a number of sample deliverables: migration action plans, emotion curves, and user journeys, from companies such as Ikea, McDonald’s or Burger King. While the presentation helped us discover a new activity related to user experience, it also casted a new light over our own practice and inspired new ways of approaching ROI in projects.


Mobile Strategy Framework – A game for client workshops

Tamim Swaid came across different clients uncertain about their mobile strategy but looking to get more engaged with the subject.  How to help them form their vision? How to translate a vision into tactics and operations? In order to answer the question, Tamim Swaid and Stefan Böhland imagined a tool that they presented in an unfinished form. The purpose of their grid is to be a basis for client workshops: because it renders the subject’s complexity obvious, it lets you formalize choices and draw conceptual borders. The take-away lesson from this presentation was realizing how much our discipline is so young and is still imagining and creating its own tools, methods and know-how.

Mobile strategy framework - A game for client workshops from Tamim Swaid



Why we need Lean UX: Lessons learnt trying to implement it

Francesco Kirchhoff was a freelance user experience designer before joining the Omnidoo startup. In a packed room, particularly hot by the end of the day, he presented what he learnt by applying Lean UX principles. He based himself on the principles found on Jeff Gothelf’s books, which he vividly recommended in passing.

Spending time improving a user interface which hasn’t been tested with users is pointless: with Lean methods, you test at least once a week, usually with 3-5 people, up to 8 if possible. You work by formulating a hypothesis or belief, and you check its validity through testing, making corrections and iterating as you go. The priority is to launch a product into the market as soon as possible: you work on one week sprints, for example he reminds us that Amazon puts a new version of its platform online every 11 seconds…

There is no time for user research beforehand, but Francesco uses testing sessions to interview candidates and learn about users. He also describes the way each function is expressed as a hypothesis statement, based on an assumption with an associated success metric, which lets you check its efficiency. He also reminds us the cheapest way to correct a bug is through design… a deliberately pragmatic approach to UX design.


Sunday ended with Eric Reiss’s plenary session, a European UX design icon, dedicated to e-commerce. With his trademark humor, he brought the house down laughing, while illustrating his beliefs regarding conversion with numerous examples.

Of brains and buttons (UXCE, Berlin, Germany) from Eric Reiss



My conclusion…

Once again, the organizing team successfully pulled together a unique event, remarkably organized, which has become an unmissable meeting of the European community. In a word: Thanks.



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