I talk a lot about how the value of belonging to a community like this lies in the relationships that you form with peers that have skills and interests that are similar or complimentary to your own. The purpose of this Member Spotlight is to help you get to know each other a bit better in the hope that you can make one of those connections.
This time we're getting to know Georg Köhler.
I asked him a few questions, and this is how he answered:
What first sparked your interest in UX?
My way into the area of UX was kind of unconventional but at the same time typical. Unconventional because I originally studied Geography and Geoinformatics, typical because in our area there are people working from so many disciplines. As geography is strongly interdisciplinary and geoinformatics is technical, it served as a stable foundation from the beginning.
My interest was first developed during my masters thesis which was practically a UX user study about the implementation of bicycle information systems in tourist regions. This is relevant in a geographic sense because of the different perception of navigation system uses due to user goals, context, etc. During this I conducted a combination of expert interviews, observation and pre- and post experience questionnaires. I was lucky to have an experienced mentor/professor who worked with big companies like Audi or BMW and was also focused on indoor navigation systems. This was how I entered the area, always having a close look at state of the art scientific papers from conferences like mobile HCI, CHI, KAI and some others.
Actually my former professor is now working for German Research Center of Artificial Intelligence investigating intelligent user interfaces an building up an innovative retail laboratory
If anybody is interested in that: http://www.dfki.de/web
I have always loved the opportunity to learn continuously about state of the art topics. And to be honest, since I can remember I was always interested in human behaviour and perception. It´s kind of a topic which is so broad that you never stop learning because people and contexts are so different wherever you go. That´s fascinating.
Who is your UX role model and why?
Actually I don't think there is a specific person but lot´s of inspiring practitioners in the area who influence me. I am of the opinion that the more people you know working with UX related topics, the more tools you learn, in order to handle the diverse challenges in our business. For example David Travis, who was mentioned before by Paddy, is the best UX-teacher I've seen so far. This is a really important skill you need every day in your work. I´ve worked a lot in mobile devices as well. There a Luke Wroblewski with his "Mobile first" idea or Rachel Hinman describing "The Mobile frontier". They are UX role models to follow. From a psychological point of view I am inspired of Susan Weinscheink and some others. I am also inspired by Leah Buley and her book "UX Team of One" or the classical Don Norman Book "The Design of Everyday Things". Also Nielsen still publishes some great research about different topics from time to time.
I don´t want to forget to mention that I am also influenced by real life projects. At the beginning of my career at my (external consulting) UX-company I had some great UX seniors to learn from. They also have an influence on path I follow as well as the experiences I gained in the internal UX work that I am doing right now for the development of eHealth systems.
There are a lot of of interesting people out there and I try to follow different people for getting a complementary picture of my own UX role. I am still building and always refactoring the UX role model I follow. I think it´s important to keep this flexible as our surroundings and work context changes continuously.
What is the dream project or client that you’d like to design the experience for?
My dream project would be global or international. As there are a limited number of companies who can arrange this, the number of clients is also reduced. A while ago I heard of an SAP system analyzing the running behaviour of soccer players. As I am a big soccer fan it would be a great pleasure to support such a project with global research studies including the greatest players on earth like Messi, Ronaldo or our german team. I´ve had plenty of ideas about what could be done and how I could support such a project.
As I already worked with navigational systems it would also be cool to work towards a great car driving experience information systen.
I am sure that there are a lot of of dream projects out there I would love to work for. Really important for me is the support, flexibility and will of stakeholders to invest in designing the User Experience when working on a project.
If you weren’t in your current job, what job or career would you choose?
I admire writers who have the opportunity to dive deep into topics and then write about it later. As a writer you can write whatever you want in order to follow your profession. I am sure it´s not the easiest life but I think it´s quite cool when you are good in it.
On crazy days I dream of going to study ice cream production in Italy, and then opening a shop wherever I want, to create the perfect ice cream tastes By the way this is not a joke .. such a university is existing :
When have you been the most satisfied in your life?
Easy answer for me. This was the day my daughter was born 3 months ago. This was the purest and most fascinating experience I have ever had.
If you could choose one superpower, what would it be and why?
I thought about this and I remember a series called Fringe where there were people called "Observers". They were able to foresee every possible future and behaviour of people. This would be cool for making great decisions in my personal and professional life. Imagine a meeting with a client explaining to him the value of UX and showing him the different futures of his product and the related behaviour of users.
If you can make the future of a product UX tangible, then you can create better products for the people experiencing them.
In order to do that the described superpower would be of great help
Lastly… do you have a site, a blog, a twitter feed or anything else that you’d like to use this opportunity to promote?
I am on:
Feel free to contact me if you want to know me better. I am always curious meeting interesting people