"Good design requires intense debates"
We make the world of tomorrow easier and more appealing. UID’s Creative Director Henrik Rieß constantly pursues this mission. 2018 was the second year he was nominated to participate in the jury of the UX Design Awards, which are offered by the IDZ (International Design Center) in Berlin. We are talking to the UX designer and technology enthusiast about passionate discussions, surprising moments and the influence of design on society and the future.
Henrik, what do you pay particular attention to with regard to the projects submitted?
As a jury member I value submissions that enrich and shape life in the future. Often, these products question the added value of existing solutions. What’s the significance of driving a car in a world in which cars no longer need steering wheels? And what will I do with the extra time?
What is especially important: Do the users actually need my solution? The context of use is decisive! A car’s control system that is operated by artificial intelligence gives me an extra 6 hours of sleep on the way from Stuttgart to Berlin. In the context of a cruise missile, the system has a destructive effect on people.
Whoeversubmits a prize-worthy idea has asked many questions, identified a relevantproblem and offers an appropriate technological solution. This improves thestatus quo. To me, generic variants of one idea are boring.
What ideas do you find exciting?
In the jury, we want to draw up a scope of visions, illustrating how design can advance different spheres of life. The online information platform Infozeptgenerator, for example, which received the award in 2017, helps to reduce antibiotic resistance: It improves communications between doctors and their patients across language barriers. And although the product has room for further development, the existing solution can be used in health education to reduce the number of prescriptions for antibiotics. This is an important contribution to society, which was deduced from the design question.
What’s the jury’s approach? How would you describe the discussions?
The IDZ selects people with different characteristics in terms of age, sex and professional experience for the jury. Therefore, every jury member contributes a certain approach, a certain background. Because good design requires intense debates.
What was your main focus in the jury?
I make a point of not only awarding prizes to concepts which are perfectly worked out, down to the last detail. Forward-looking applications and visionary products and services should also find consideration, just as excellent design for the current state of the art. This is why the IDZ has introduced the new category "UX Design Awards | Concept".
What do you like most about this work?
First, it is the passionate quest for the truly best idea. In the discussions, you take the role of an advocate for a product or service and exchange your views with the other jury members – sometimes this involves heated debates. As designers, it is our responsibility to decide which ideas are finally brought to life. In my view, the UX Design Awards should reward such ideas.
And second, I love those surprising moments when you start to grasp the excellence of an idea and the underlying approach. This fills me with admiration, and I am happy to communicate it to the contestants through our work in the jury.
In what way do your work in the jury and at UID interact?
Apart from my affinity for visionary, inventive and also funny ideas, my extensive experience in working for our clients plays into my decisions on the submissions. It makes it easier for me to assess the potentials, but also the weaknesses, of an idea. I also present my opinions to our customers and, in times of digital transformation, I increasingly find that they are grateful for an exchange of ideas.
Henrik, thank you for the interview. Enjoy your time with the 2018 jury!
Until April20, 2018, exciting contributions can be submitted at the website of the UX Design Awards. Short-listed products are automatically presented at the IFA 2018and have the opportunity to be chosen for the coveted Award.
Theinterview was conducted by Marion Gottschling.
Image source: UX Design Awards
Henrik Rießis UID's Creative Director, a UX designer and technology enthusiast. He focuseson creating product and service environments that are comprehensible andaccessible for everyone. Therefore, his work evolves around the conflictingpriorities of clearly defined product requirements, implicit user expectationsand the playful fascination that future technologies have on us. In addition toworking for UID, Henrik is a lecturer for interaction design and designthinking at the BAU International University of Applied Sciences in Berlin andat the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences. He has been a memberof the UX Design Awards jury since 2017.