UX Day Graz

Last Saturday Oskar and Dirk from the ERPAL Platform Team went to UX Day Graz 2015. A small community conference on user experience, interaction design and usability.

The event had 3 Keynotes as well as some showcases from the community.
The Keynote by Eric Eggert from the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative showed how small changes in markup can already improve accessibility by a lot. He demonstrated this by showing button markup and providing the readings from a screenreader. But also delivering fallback solutions for other disabilities is not that hard.
Regulations, like for example BITV in Germany to make governmental websites accessible or the BGStG in Austria to make every website accessible from 1.1.2016 on, show that accessibility is not only a nice thing to have, but also required by law.
Other than that, there are millions of people with disabilities using the internet. To be exact about 15% of the worlds internet users have some kind of disability. So you exclude a lot of people by not making your site accessible. More information on making websites accessible including the WCAG guidelines and easy to follow tutorials for beginners can be found on at the Web Accessibility initiative.

In his keynote Philipp Sackl, Lead Designer for Firefox, talked about building empathy with your audience. It was interesting seeing an example where he thinks firefox has improved the user experience and where it still needs lot’s of work. His opinion on designing for user experience showed us that user experience is something than can be improved by precise planning. But one major take home lesson is that you should never rely on your knowledge, you always need to test and get feedback from your target audience. You as a designer or developer are the pro user of your system, so you are biased before you even use the software. Get out there and collect data about how non experienced users use your software, that the only way to improve usability and user experience. Interesting as well was his opinion on how much influence you can have with making decisions, even with the bad ones. He showed us how a user had to search 2 minutes to solve a simple task. Assuming that every of the million users was wasting 2 minutes with this task he feels like firefox was wasting a lot of the worlds time.

In his talk on "Visual Search and Analysis“ Tobias Schreck, Professor at Graz University of Technology, explained some approaches for visual search. His argument was to make visual interfaces interactive to get the most from it. He showed some interesting projects and how they helped retrieving valuable information form big sources of information. The talk showed again how much potential is in data visualization and how easy it can be to extract information if you choose the correct format.

In the Panel Discussion follwing the Keynotes Eric Eggert, Tobias Schreck, Keith Andrews and Heinz Wittenbrink were discussing the future of UX. The main points: content is always the most important thing do deliver, so you don't need to talk about user experience when you don't deliver interesting content. In future a lot of will focus on user testing with prototypes, made with special prototyping tools or html dummys. And one of the hottest topics at the moment is data visualization as it makes it easy to review large numbers of for example measurements. Providing easy to undarstand and oversee data improves the users experience by a lot.

On the picture (f.l.t.r) Oskar Bechtold, Chair Keith Andrews (Graz University of Technology), Vice-Chair Konrad Baumann (FH Joanneum) and Dirk Peter.