Last Wednesday we had an inspiring evening at bol.com. We held Ladies that UX Utrecht meetup as part of our bol.com campaign Women in Tech*. Ladies that UX Utrecht is an existing group that brings together women that have passion for User Experience Design, tech and digital, positively promoting and teaching each other. They gladly brought two uplifting presentations to the 45 people in the audience. Before it everybody enjoyed a nice dinner and got prepared for what was coming after.
The event was kicked it off with a welcoming speech from Ladies that UX Utrecht and then bol.com UX manager Roos Groenewegen presented briefly how the User Experience takes place in the company and also some job openings.
High-Traffic locations in the experience economy
Our first presenter was Martijn Steur, from Kinetic Consultancy. Martijn talked about High-Traffic locations in the experience economy. In other words, how to effectively improve the customer experience in order to build businesses. Martijn began by stating the rapid shifting on consumer behavior and demands. According to him, 87% of people want to have a meaningful relation with brands, which means creating “stories that people bring home”. As examples of successful companies in this aspect, he mentioned: “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles, Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content, Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory and Airbnb the world’s largest accommodation provider owns no real estate”. So it’s all about the experience they can provide to both partners and users.
As his main example, Martijn used the experience in airports as he has extensive experience in this field. Its business concept is; retailers don’t pay a fixed rent but a revenue-based rent. So it is one of the most business reasons to boost the experience. He shared best practices such as store allocation based on category and customer behavior. Giving passengers the opportunity to order groceries online and pick them up after arriving at the airport. Or creating a wonderful local environment inside the airport, like a simulation of a Japanese city people could walk through.
Martijn presented a tool he developed, a new role at airports: the “Mood manager”. This tool is responsible for checking the “feelings” of travelers measuring the temperature, the smell and so on.
He ended his presentation with an inspiring case study about Frankfurt Airport. This airport is Europe’s largest travel hub and the largest shopping mall in Germany. It managed to turned itself into a fruitful Omnichannel E-Commerce experience. “Companies should focus on enhancing and enchanting their customer experiences and aligning their business on their response to customer demand. The value is in the experience: it won’t go down in price, and no one can steal it.”
Climb that mountain!
For the second presentation, we had two enthusiastic ladies, Carina Palumbo and Joline Boschman. They told their UX story at Exact and shared their learning, gains and losses. Their story started in 2009 with the hiring of the first UX Designers.
Carina and Joline measured the transformation by using 6 items:
Leadership buy in,
Organisational buy in,
UX Team effectiveness,
Embedded processes and
Embedded design guidelines
Even though Exact management did believe in the UXers, the company didn’t understand what they were doing and what could come out of it. This was the beginning and the maturity level was not ideal. Their enthusiasm and believe in themselves was not at a low level. But as they learned along the way, they still had to learn a lot about the processes, stakeholders and users.
After the first years, they stated that these actions helped them to improve: adapting to peers, leading by enthusiasm, getting insights from the user (with user testing for example), designing more than development (they say) can handle, fighting the fight. These were some pitfalls they also got acquainted with: thinking too much of themselves and not in the company, aiming too high and not understanding and respecting technical development.
Besides the internal changes, the team also was changed by the market and by the exposure to IT. They started to be more data-driven, questioning and challenging assumptions, measuring success and failure. Within IT and the approaching of agile methods of development, the designers had to work with lean methods and comprise the teams. It made the UXers into the decision-makers. Finally, the presenters understand that their teams are not designing for a service or function as a connector anymore. They have now reached the top of the mountain and are designing as strategic drivers.
These two wonderful presentations gave enough food for good conversation afterwards with a nice cool drink. Lots of exchanging insights, ideas and networking until security had to ‘kick’ us out. 😳
For everybody who could make it: thanks for coming! And for those who missed it out, we hope to see you next time!
* Women in Tech at bol.com: we aim to make waves in the technology sector by helping women discuss and take action on issues such as bridging the gender gap. We try to inspire both non-technical women and future generations of girls to join the tech sector.