Dialog: UX Design in der Industrie

User Centered Innovators ist am 25./26.2. auf dem VDID Industriedesign Forum der METAV in Düsseldorf vertreten und gibt Einschätzungen über die “Bedeutung von UX Design in der Industrie”:

Welchen Nutzen hat UX Design im Maschinen- und Anlagenbau?
Es geht um mehr, als nur die Kunst der Maschinenbauer zur Geltung zu bringen:
1. Eine einfache Bedienung ist ein entscheidendes Qualitäts- und Differenzierungsmerkmal einer Maschine. Dieses wird in Zeiten von Consumerization und Bedienung auch durch Nicht-Facharbeiter immer wichtiger.
2. Eine Maschine ist Botschafter der Marke. Eine starke Marke ist in Märkten mit immer ähnlicheren Produkten ein wichtiges Differenzierungsmerkmal.
3. Und Emotion! Wir erlebten, dass der Inhaber einer Lohnfertigung neue Maschinen kaufte und gleichzeitig die Produktionshalle neu gestaltete. Seinen Kunden führte er dann persönlich die Innovationskraft seines Unternehmens vor. Die Freude ist besonders groß, wenn er die Maschinen auch noch selber intuitiv bedienen kann.­

Das alles zusammen führt zu einer größeren Zahlungsbereitschaft der Kunden.
Welche Erfahrungen haben Sie in der Zusammenarbeit mit Unternehmen gemacht? Wann werden Sie im Entwicklungsprozess beteiligt und wie?
Die Zusammenarbeit verläuft optimal, wenn wir von Anfang an in den Entwicklungsprozess eingebunden sind. Sehr gute Erfahrungen haben wir gemacht mit der Durchführung von Innovationsworkshops mit Mitarbeitern aus Management, Produktion, Vertrieb bis zu den Servicetechnikern. Das wurde umso wichtiger, weil Maschinen sich nicht mehr nur auf die reine Erledigung einer Funktion konzentrieren können, sondern ständig neue Aspekte zu berücksichtigen sind: Bedienerfreundlichkeit, die Verlagerung von Funktionen hin zur Software, Vernetzung und Zugriff über Tablets und Smartphones.

Wie sieht die Zukunft des Industriedesigns im Maschinen- und Anlagenbau aus? 
Während früher oft ausgebildete Maschinenbauer alleine mit explizitem Fokus auf die Technik Unternehmen steuerten und Produkte entwickelten, ist heute Interdisziplinarität gefragt. Heute haben die Entscheider komplexere Produkte zu entwickeln und zu vermarkten. Sie wissen um die Wirkung von User Experience, Corporate Design etc. und sie sind konfrontiert mit Themen wie bspw. Industrie 4.0, Software-Lifecycle-Management etc. Aber oft können diese Fragen intern nicht beantwortet werden. Das ist der Grund, warum wir in unserer Kooperation Industriedesign um die Themen Software und Services für Produktmanagement und Marketing ausgeweitet haben.

Die Kooperation: User Centered Innovators (Siegfried Baldauf, Michael Grewer, Volker Kemmler, Erika Merz)

UX design for the IoT

When we talked about UX design in the past, we tend to focus on the software and hardware interface of the user device. But nowerdays the behavior of the device might also be generated by intelligence on another device or a server or triggered by a sensor.

This means that for the user experience the service around a connected device is often just as critical as the device itself. The physical and social contexts in which connected devices and services are used, can be complex and diverse.

The Internet of Things is happening in the real world. Users expect realtime-responses and reliability. The toleration of latencies is very limited. UX design for the IoT requires a special focus on the context of use and the performance of surrounding devices and data-driven services.

The Evolution of Collaboration Tools

Mobile, social and from the cloud

Not too long ago, a large portion of collaboration tools were installed on-premise. Features for mobile use were almost totally lacking and social networks were hooked up to content management and document management systems, if they existed. It wasn’t until the advent of cloud computing that it became possible to collaborate on the go, in real time, opening new horizons.

Today, cloud versions of enterprise collaboration platforms are standard and most social network functions are developed as native apps, based on social business concepts. Categories such as unified communications, file sharing and synchronization have taken on social network functions. What they all have in common: they are mobile, social and cloud-based.[1]

The needs of large corporations are complex, and include the ability to customize individual business processes and deep integration with existing back-end systems. As such, the focus of enterprise collaboration software tools is shifting constantly. A large number of providers offer collaboration tools to meet these needs, each with a different weighting of the collaboration functions.

[1] ZDNET: Today’s enterprise collaboration landscape 2013


White paper: ENTERPRISE COLLABORATION (2014, Erika Merz on behalf of Deutsche Telekom, EMS and in Cooperation with Sven K. Hübner)

Why products?

Early adopters might buy tools, consumers buy products. But what about enterprise software?

Apple has proven that well-designed products are loved by their users. Unfortunately, not many companies that build products for the enterprise have embraced high-quality design. At work it is different. Often I ask myself: “Why do we have to ‘learn’ how to use enterprise software?”

As users of enterprise software today have the same expectations for great interfaces in business than they have at home, it will be necessary to produce procucts that are easy, fun, and desirable to use instead of tools that do the job, but which have to be studied before use.

Whitepaper: Industrie 4.0

Usability Design for the industry of tomorrow

Industrie 4.0, the high-tech strategy of the german goverment, is more than the Internet of Things and the linking of machines to cyber-physical systems. The challenge is to develop new business models and services, and therefore also new production processes that aim to make efficient use of the potential that exists from humans and machines working together and to capitalise fully on this partnership.

Work tasks, processes and environments are becoming more flexible. In order to make this a positive economic development, there is a need to integrate future technologies intelligently into operational organisation. This will change the interfaces between humans and machines as well as the interfaces between humans and systems.

Download: Whitepaper in English
Download: Whitepaper in German

Staying Human in a Machine Age

“I am a technologist. I am not a computer.”
says Kati London, a Senior Researcher at Microsoft

“…My work is weird. It also does not fit neatly into categories — it aims to make the real world more engaging sometimes via technology and often through play.

…I also happen to be a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an aunt, a wife, a human. Ethical issues of emerging technologies weave their way through all aspects of our lives.

Especially today and moving forward we don’t have good understandings of the impacts of the new modes of interaction and data collection that are now a reality.

No factory, no machine or line of code can truly replicate a human — we can fool people; but it is our humanity, emotion, ability to keep promises and to relate on a deep level, to understand the implications with empathy that differentiates us.

But, let’s not get too serious. Much of my work has involved play. Play is great because it’s free, separate from real life and creates order — it provides a magic circle or sandbox. One in which we’re permitted to fail, behave differently than we could in everyday live, collaborate, compete, role play and experience systems from the inside out.”

Quote from the Commencement speech of Kati London to the University of California at Santa Cruz Crown College June 2014.

‘Resilience’ or how to react to the unexpected

Unpredictable territory for Industrie 4.0

In an current interview by the german magazine Wirtschaftswoche with Henning Kagermann, former CEO of SAP and President of the Academy of Economics Acatech explains the chances of ‘Industrie 4.0‘, (high-tech strategy of Germany) and warns of the unpredictable territory and the disruptive character of some service providers could have on traditional industries.

Advanced Manufacturing and IoE add complexity

Advanced Manufacturing and the increasing networking by the Internet of Everything (IoE) inevitably go hand in hand with more complexity. This cannot be stopped! We can only learn to deal with it. In a world of greater complexity new safety awareness and a holistic approach are needed. IT-Security and safety are thereby brought together. It refers to the protection of the system against targeted attacks and on safety in terms of process and failure reliability.

Security breaches can happen

‘Resilience’ a word that was first used in behavioral research is now used in security research. Resilience in psychology is the capability of a system to find back to its ideal state after it has been hit by an external shock. Resilience in IT is based on the assumption, that security breaches can happen and you know how to react to it. It is all about developing plans, tactics, routines and training courses, to lead back to a steady state.

Three layers for more security

There are three layers in the Industry 4.0. A core area with single, intelligent machines that can be controlled very well, a so-called partially controlled area, the smart factory, which is equipped with internal IP addresses and controlled by MES systems (Manufacturing Execution System). The open area, where data and services from the Internet are received or sent out comes on top of it all. This can lead to uncontrolled behavior.

The three areas do not actcompletely detachedfrom each other. They are linked by transaction points and to othersegments, e.g. smart energynetworks.

It is expected that therefore two different worlds and industry segments will develop separate from each other. One which provides the systems for open IT solutions and in which the traditional IT providers play a role. Another one in which the manufacturing companies and their providersenhance the machines with IT.

View interview (German)

Let’s start 360-integrated….

Innovation is moving extremly fast and in many directions.

In consequence it has become challenging to even pay attention.This blog focuses on topics driven by the information and telecommunication industries and its influence on other industries. It lists snapshots, article and and quotes, which attracted the authors attention immediately and which she thinks is worth, keeping in mind.

The  aim is to get an integrated view on engineering and information technology and bringing togehter marketing and engineering competence.

You want to find out more about the blog and the author? See ABOUT 360