UX Family Reunion at UXCamp Europe in Berlin

22.06.2013 in EnglishEventsUser Experience  von Katrin Mathis
UXCamp Europe 2013

For the fourth time in a row, the European UX family came together on June 21 - 23 for an energetic weekend at Erwin-Schrödinger-Zentrum in Berlin Adlershof. While in 2009 the organizers were still worried whether they would be able to attract 200 participants at all, this year the 200 German tickets were sold out in less than 60 seconds and the 200 international tickets in a matter of minutes. After I had been stuck on the waitlist due to technical problems last year I was able to grab a ticket this time. In this blog post I want to share some of my personal highlights with those who have not been as lucky.

Crash Course in CX Journey Mapping

Customer Journey Map crash course at UXCamp Europe 2013

After currywurst lunch Niels Anhalt, director UX Consulting/UX Strategist at FatDUX Cologne, shared what he had learned at a recent Customer Journey Mapping course.


Customer Journey Maps can be used to understand, design, implement and communicate experiences. First, you identify a customer to map the journey for which could be a persona or a customer segment such as extreme users. You then map their step-by-step experience, add touchpoints and systems on-stage and backstage as well as attitudes and needs. At the end you will be able to identify problems and opportunities and prioritize to focus on the moments of truth that are decisive for customer satisfaction. What I liked about this particular way of journey mapping is that it takes into account business metrics and KPIs and that it can thus easily be transferred into a value proposition and strategy blueprint.


The website by John Kembel, Vice President of CX Design at Oracle and Consulting Associate Professor at Stanford, provides a CX journey mapping toolkit including an introduction, information on materials needed, a facilitator guide and a template for a CX strategy design canvas that can be used under CC license.

UX Hacks

Parallel to the Customer Journey Mapping crash course, Jan Srutek held a session on UX hacks. Apparently participants collected little tips and tricks around UX and productivity and tweeted most of them. Here are some of my favorites that entertained me even though I did not attend this session:


  • Stop staring, go outside. Search for a different view.
  • Always share everything you know. If people around grow, you will grow with them.
  • Share ur task list with the team. Increases transparency & gives them a chance to challenge & give feedback on prioritization.
  • Always begin with interactions, not UI elements.
  • Make prototypes ugly so management does not mistake them for final designs
  • Get completely drunken and try to use your product. Congratulations if it works.


You will find a collection of tweeted UX hacks in this Tumblr blog.

Brand Services - A User Centric Marketing Tool

It's no secret that advertising creates less and less interest in a world of abundant information. Martin Jordan, one of the organizers of the Service Jam Berlin and Christian Vatter held a session on how to sneak service design into marketing. Needless to say that this session caught my interest.


With service add-ons to a core offer so-called brand services balance marketing needs and user needs and help to promote the offer or brand. Ideally, brand services are useful, novel and fit the brand.

Martin and Christian showed a range of examples such as

  • Guide Michelin offers a list of worthwhile restaurants for travelers
  • Adidas Runbase, a concept store in Tokia next to a popular running site offering running gear, free showers & lockers
  • KitKat offers the "No WiFi Zone" for a real break by jamming any WiFi signal around

Following their introduction we were given the task to come up with a brand service for H&M that is highly useful for one of two given personas and that fits the brand core "staying up to date affordably." In ten groups we drafted a typical user journey of a day in our persona's life and then searched for opportunities to fulfill a certain need with a novel service.

Design Studio

Design Studio is a methodology for collaborative design. It offers the opportunity to detect hidden requirements and capture priorities of stakeholders before starting the design process. I had read articles on Design Studio and found this a good opportunity to try it out in a workshop by Petr Stedry, UX Designer at Good Data.


Design Studio mostly consists of 3 - 4 rounds in groups of 3 - 6 people. In a first round everybody quickly sketches as many concepts as possible in five minutes. The initial ideas are then discussed and critiqued in the group. Round two consists of improving the sketches based on the feedback again followed by a round of critique. In the third round the group syntheses one group idea from the individual ideas.


The actual designers get as a result good and bad ideas as a basis of their final design. Usually, designs based on collaborative outcomes will receive higher acceptance.

Large barcamp with like-minded people

UXCamp Europe was the biggest barcamp I have been to so far. The organization was perfect. Everything felt really smooth except for occasional waiting time at the coffee stand. I was really impressed with the parties, a warmup at KircherBurkhardt on Friday night and a beer garden gathering at WBB Willner-Brauerei on Saturday night. Catering was excellent with coffee from Sonntagmorgen, currywurst and a large salad bar for lunch as well as other amenities such as ice cream and Koelsch beer.


Apart from the quite usual discussions around Usability vs. UX, User Experience vs. Customer Experience, agile and on how to establish UX in companies, one trend that came apparent in the number of sessions is prototyping and the internet of things. 


I contributed a session on how UX can benefit from Google Analytics insights. In general, I counted around 70 sessions during both days. Many participants seemed impressed by that but considering the over 400 participants I do not find that as much compared to for example over 40 sessions with less than 100 participants at Barcamp Bodensee. Maybe this is an issue of larger barcamps and people do not feel obliged to hold sessions when there already are so many to attend. And even though I find it great to get together with people like Eric Reiss at a barcamp-style event it just does not feel right when he gets the closing session in the style of a keynote speaker. I found it especially great to see so many workshop-style sessions. But as 45 minutes are too short for most hands-on activities I would wish for workshop slots (that we had recently tested at Barcamp Bodensee) next year that could span over more than one session slots. Having levels assigned to each session proposal would also help to pick the most relevant one from parallel sessions. 


I still have not completely processed all the information that I gathered at UXCamp Europe but from following the tweets around the weekend I do not seem to be the only one:

I'm always back so energized & inspired from ux conferences that I loose my sleep each time, thinking of new plans.


Katrin Mathis, UX Konzepterin und Service Designerin aus Freiburg

Katrin Mathis
MBA in Service Innovation & Design und BSc in OnlineMedien berät seit über 10 Jahren Unternehmen, die digitale Transformation zum Nutzen ihrer Kunden einzusetzen.


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