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PUSH conference 2014

#push14 – The PUSH conference took place this year on Friday, October 10th and Saturday, October 11th in Munich. I dare say it's the best group therapy for UX professionals in Germany. Read a brief review, ordered more or less chronologically.

Again the team of PUSH managed to gather many interesting speakers from all over the world to cover many different aspects of User Experience. The sessions' topics ranged from technique to art, their depths varying from the detail's level to broader experiences. Many inspiring exhibitions were available to look at, feel and discuss during the pauses.

The catering

Beginning with the most important factor which will shape my opinion about a conference, I'll talk about food. The wraps were tasty and the cakes were awesome. The free cold and hot drinks made a very good job of preventing overall dehydration. Catering review successfully passed.

The give-aways

Once primal needs (like hunger) are satisfied, the amount and quality of give-aways also generate positive memories of the event. (At least it works for me and the colleagues I'll tell about it as soon as I get back to work.) I really like the fact that the name tags are not only designed, but also customizable. The PUSH-related materials - text blocks, pens, stickers, etc. - display a consistent branding. Other little souvenirs include chocolate and/or are visually appealing and/or seem to contain relevant information. Review of goodies bag passed.

Talks on day 1

Toby Sterrett - Profile
With Simple, Toby transformed mobile banking into a more personal, social, and intuitive experience. He showed us how he personalized the transactions by supporting tags, and, going even further, provided intelligent queries based on them (e.g. search for expenses for "food this month"). The users are involved by being able to set goals and share them with their social network. The banking experience Toby has provided seems relieving and really worth trying. We may remain curious about how the German law and citizen would react to the idea of sharing money-related achievements online...

Razan Sadeq - Profile
Razan elaborated on how the UX researcher can be compared to a detective - none the less than Sherlock Holmes. She also reminded the audience that multitasking is a myth, citing Daniel Coleman's book "Focus". Thanks, Razan, for speaking aloud what I'm feeling when doing research! "Investigating a case" perfectly describes my requirements gathering phase.

Josh Carpenter - Profile
Exploring the relation between the web and virtual reality, Josh made it clear that VR truly is a new medium. He compared VR to the Wild West, with its new and thrilling opportunities of usage and work fields, and encouraged us to become pioneers.

Marcus Eckert - Profile
Marcus put the emphasis on the details that matter within visual transitions. He demonstrated the value of bézier curves, and how a purposeful tweaking of animations between states improves the user experience.

Daniel Burka, Braden Kowitz, John Zeratsky - Profile
In the state-of-the-art workflow, the designer will conceive a product first, then she/he'll let developers build it, and afterwards the users will test and review it. Daniel, Braden and John unfolded their secret shortcut: they skip the building phase completely, increasing the project's speed dramatically.

Lightning talks on day 1

Rachel Ilan Simpson - Profile
Rachel listed the benefits and some tricks about generating a product story video.

Julius Dietz and Daniel Neame - Profile
The guys talked about the challenges of designing for all possible devices and screen resolutions.

Christoph Ortmann - Profile
Christoph explained the interface of the future oven and its making-of.

Min Hu - Profile
If a product is getting cluttered, it can be useful to remove some of its features.

Talks on day 2

Mike Tucker - Profile
Mike made it clear that developers should take responsibility and become part of the design process. Illustrating that, he let us have a good look behind the scenes of "Polyfauna v2".

Gregor Hofbauer - Profile
The relation between an agency and its client can be compared to a love story, with all sorts of ups and downs you'll also see in an interpersonal relationship. That's what Gregor explained in detail with many examples of his passionate work (see for example "Long Distance Art").

Lauren McCarthy - Profile
Lauren shared a couple of experiments she made involving humans and technology. She explained how people "wrote the script of her life" and how her actions were remotely controlled by the crowd.

Ben Fry - Profile
Because "We'll never have less data", data visualization itself keeps gaining importance. Ben charmed the audience with awesome visualizations, for example 2013 Year in NikeFuel.

Dan Williams - Profile
Dan told us about his various quests for knowledge in a very humorous way. He showed how the designer/developer is in charge of what she/he puts into this world.
Participant – "Who are you?"
Dan – "I'm just a software developer."

Lightning talks on day 2

Arne Loermann - Profile
Arne gave the audience something to salivate for by presenting The Dash.

Jenny Ludwig - Profile
Highlighting the importance of making vs. consuming products - and regain power over one's own creations -, Jenny also invited us to the upcoming DIY fair Make Munich.

Dominikus Baur - Profile
Dominikus showed how the context of usage influences (or should influence) design decisions. He used the underground train map of Munich as an example on mobile devices.

Martina Mara - Profile
The number of intelligent robots interacting with humans will increase in the future. Martina gave insights about possible common languages und dynamic behaviors.

The exhibitions

A few I looked at closely:

A few I didn't I have time to check: Others I didn't list: If you'd like to be mentioned here, please send me an eMail with a link to your website and I'll add it to the list.


See you next year at PUSH 2015!

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