Jürgen Baumgartner
21. June 2015

UX Lausanne – A Palace full of UX Knowledge

About three weeks ago the second edition of UX Lausanne took place, an event dedicated to envisioning and crafting delightful user experiences. Me (Jürgen) and Pierre went on a journey and found wisdom in the Western Swiss Mecca of UX. Our goal was as simple (as simple UX Design should be): We seeked for inspiration on how to improve our work, we seeked new inputs for our creative minds, we seeked concrete examples, we seeked patterns and techniques we can apply to our daily business. Eager to learn we went to Lausanne.

Day 1: The sessions

In Lausanne we first checked out the location. We were quite impressed by it, the palace called „Palais de Rumine“. A palace as a place for a UX conference?! Not too bad, we could get used to that.

We entered, picked up our badges, grabbed some coffee and mingled with the other participants while strolling through the corridors. We got to know people with different and similar backgrounds, doing similar stuff as we do. It was quite interesting to chat with likeminded people.

Then the sessions started. That day nine speakers shared their thoughts and experiences with an audience of around 200 curious listeners. I briefly summarize the four (in my opinion) most impressive speeches.

At the end of the day we were quite tired but also satisfied. A lot of impressions and information had to be processed by our brains.

Day 2: The workshops

The second day we again traveled to Lausanne for the workshops. After Google Maps lied to us about the location, we finally found our way to the Arsenic, a theater in the artistic heart of Lausanne where the more practical oriented part of the conference took place. Four different workshops were held at the same time, so we had to choose one for the morning and another for the afternoon.

In the first workshop held by Andrea Resmini we learned how elements from architecture, video games and filmmaking can be taken to create compelling experiences. These days the digital and the physical world blend into each other. We are doing things online that affect the real world and vice versa. The separation gets more and more blurred. When you design e.g. an app, you can’t design it in total isolation. You’ve got to respect the blended world we’re already in.

Several exercises raised our awareness of this blended space and taught us tools that help us better understand how application and services are perceived nowadays and how this experience can be shaped by enclosure, orientation and articulation resp. continuity.

The second workshop I attended was held by Johanna Kollmann and dealt with the topic of system thinking. When you’re involved in complex projects, things might get complicated sometimes and problems arise. To find out where problems are, you’ve got to go out of the box to see it in a broader context. The view of system thinking allows to see the big picture.

In order to articulate and visualize possible problem areas, we learned in this workshop how to paint a „rich picture“ of a real use case in which stakeholders, their world views, conflicts and relationships are represented. This helps to make abstract problems more tangible.

At the end of the workshop day, the thirsty visitors of the conference met at La Datcha to wind down chatting over a glass of beer or wine, speaking of the two days and sharing impressions and ideas.

What we personally take away are a bunch of new ideas for our projects, a changed point of view and a certain motivation to change some aspects of our work and the way we’re looking at it. We got to know interesting people that maybe have a different focus or specialization, but that share definitely our culture and the ambition to enhance the user experiences we’re designing each day. It doesn’t matter from which perspective this is seen. This event gave us inspiration. We’re definitively looking forward to next year and hope it will again take place in such a wonderful palace.