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From theory to practice - Lübeck students at Ergosign in Hamburg

21.03.2017

What are the typical tasks of a UX designer? We would like to answer this question to interested students from the „Institut für Multimediale und Interaktive Systeme“ (Institute for Multimedia-based and Interactive Systems (IMIS)) at the University of Lübeck within an all-day excursion.

After having a short glance around the Hamburg office, we presented the diversity of our jobs at Ergosign: from context analysis to the fully developed design, we have illustrated our practical experience on the basis of many exciting project examples and anecdotes. Following, in a relaxed atmosphere with pizza and some kicker matches, quickly questions about possibilities of theses, internships and entry opportunities came up.

In the second part of the day the students themselves were asked: in a creative workshop, many ideas for a given design challenge were collected and refined in a team. In this way, we were able to present the students a typical approach from our project day in a practical way and to convey the fun of the creative work.

We also liked the day and we look forward to the next excursion!

Susann Maßlau & Phillip Pfingstl

Young work colleague gets recognition!

20.03.2017

We are very pleased to announce that our UX designer Alexandra Dercho, together with her bachelor group at the ”The Bavarian State Prize for young designers ,“ have received a recognition in the category of ”Digital Design“ for their Bachelor thesis on the subject of ”Diseases on hiking“.

The work deals with the spreading of infectious diseases by mosquitoes and a possibility to act against them.
Alexandra and her bachelor group have worked out an installation for this, which is also part of the exhibition “Dangerous Souvenirs”. The purpose of the installation is to present the mosquitoes as transmitters of diseases in detail. The user can learn more about the different mosquitoes and gets more information on their spreading. The goal is also to increase awareness on one’s own protection during the next trip.

The developed concept of the installation is based on the real examination procedures of mosquitoes in the laboratory and on the interaction between human and machine. The intuitive operation is achieved by a combination of touch and counter measure as well as “tangible interactions”.
Due to the strong analogies to reality, which are reflected as well in the interaction concept as in the formal design, a positive user experience is generated, increasing the learning effect.
The highlight of the media installation is created by the users placing their hands on the touch screen. By the projections on the hand, the exhibitors can feel the bite and observe the effects of a bite by an infected mosquito on themselves.

The ”Bavarian State Prize for young designers“ was awarded this year for the 17th time by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs. 57 junior designers presented their varied and creative work in a total of 8 categories. After a preselection, the jury awarded a total of six prizes and gave further recognitions to eleven works. The award ceremony took place on March 6th, 2017 in the BMW World in Munich. Selected projects will still be exhibited in the foyer until March26th.

Congratulations Alexandra —We are very pleased with your success and that we have such a talented employee in our company!

Ergosign donates to the Kinder-Hospizdienst Saar

Kinderhospiz Spende

Unfortunately, there are many children and adolescents in Saarland who are incurably diseased or severly disabled and only have a few years left to live. The children are often looked after at home and the families are on their own. The everyday life of the concerned persons must be changed completely after such a stroke of fate. Often the parents and family members invest their entire strength in the children’s care and go to their limits, often to complete exhaustion.

Regrettably, there is just little help and support for these families. The hospice services of St. Michael in Völklingen, St. Josef in Neunkirchen and St. Jakobus Hospiz GmbH in Saarbrücken recognized the urgent need for outpatient and specialized child-care hospice assistance and founded together with the support of Herzenssache, the children’s assistance of SR and SWR, the Kinder-Hospizdienst Saar. The Kinder-Hospizdienst Saar supports the children and families on their way. Together with trained volunteers, the hospice staff accompany the children, young people and their families through the everyday life and facilitate this considerably. Counseling, nursing care, organization and mediation of further assistance as well as grief counseling are among the varied offer of the children’s hospice service. Furthermore many common activities and excursions with other affected people contribute to the joy of life of children and adolescents.

In this year, Ergosign decided to double the amount of proceeds from the sale of the raffle tickets and donate them to a charitable organization. For this reason, we are pleased to be able to support the valuable work of the Kinder-Hospizdienste Saar with a donation of 1,500 euros.

Review of the SPS IPC Drives 2016

12/10/2016

After three exciting days on Europe’s leading trade fair for electrical automation, the SPS IPC Drives in Nuremberg, our team came back with a lot of new impressions and ideas.

For the fifth time running Ergosign presented itself on the trade fair with his cooperation partner Inosoft. More than 63,200 visitors drew inspiration on subjects like “Industry 4.0”.

Thanks to all our partners, customers and visitors for their interest.
We are already looking forward to next year!

Save the Date: 28. – 30.11.2017


You’ll find impressions and highlights from the SPS IPC Drives 2016 in our video.

From Wireframe to HiFi prototype: Possibilities and limitations for interactive big data visualizations


You’ll find impressions and highlights from the SPS IPC Drives 2016 in our video.

We all know that interactive data visualization is an effective communication tool for easily conveying even complex contexts: if applied correctly, users can use them to discover hidden patterns, change perspectives and develop new ideas.
But how can we create data visualizations which best assist users in their tasks? And how can we test interactive visualizations where they are actually needed?

Generating insights and findings from seemingly abstract pain data?

For the treatment of chronic pain, data about the changes of the patient’s condition, movement profiles, sleeping habits, the weather or the timing of therapy measures are observed over a long period of time, analyzed and investigated for patterns and correlations. To do this, pain therapists require an effective and efficient tool. In this context, (interactive) data visualization assists human cognition in the rapid recognition of patterns, gaps and outliers – even for large amounts of data.  Therefore, the basis of my work was the search for such an interactive data visualization:
“Quiri Analyzer” was created in the third phase of the overall “Quiri” „Quiri“ project and complements this with a user interface for medical staff for the evaluation of the data collected from individual pain patients.

How does one visualize data for pain therapy?

In this blog entry I would first like to exclude the technical requirements (what type of data is collected in what cycle for what diagnosis). A special challenge from the UX perspective, was finding a suitable prototyping tool with which the visualization of and interaction with complex amounts could be appropriately evaluated with users, also in the run-up.

I found a few approaches in my research on the topic of prototyping. From intensive paper prototyping to exclusive digital mock-ups: Unfortunately, many of these methods were only suitable for very few interactive visualizations or for very small amounts of data. From the varied repertoire of prototyping methods, I had to choose those which met my requirements:

  • flexible design and adjustment of large amounts of data points
  • ideally, a responsive design
  • interactivity!
  • functional prototype
  • possibility of exploratory testing with users

Another particularity in this project was a small target group which is difficult to access: Pain therapists are usually very busy people with heavy schedules. Consequently, within the evaluation session, as little as possible abstraction, but rather concrete “exploring” by means of realistic patient data was to be evaluated in order to receive valuable feedback for my case, i.e. meaningful data had to flow into a highly functional prototype in order to test my aspired filter concept.

The tools of my choice

For the visualization of the individual parameters that are relevant for the pain therapy, I first scribbled notes onto paper. Written notes on paper are a good basis for making rudimentary decisions and discussing first approaches with colleagues. I also presented the rough layout as well as the idea of the filter concept and the temporal representation of the data in this way.
Quick changes or new ideas were no problem!

With this approach, in a second prototyping phase, I was able to first test the layout and the UI in digital wireframes in the prototyping tool Antetype. In this phase I mainly worked with static contents and concentrated on the fundamental UI. With the jump to a digital prototype I for example had the option of using recurring elements via “copy-paste” or hiding and showing information. Together with my colleague I performed a few expert reviews by means of this prototype, in order to include improvements in the further iteration.
In this project phase, Antetype made it possible to develop and adjust the options, layout, interactions with the UI and a responsive behavior.

However, as user experience in the evaluation of such great amounts of data ultimately depends on the possible interactions with the data, and these must feel as real and correct as possible, I had to opt for a functional prototype. As I had already had first experiences with the Framework D3.js, and because I required a high level of flexibility of the visualizations for “Quiri Analyzer”, I decided on the D3 and the implementation as a HiFi prototype with web technologies.
After a short phase of getting familiar with the possibilities of D3, I was able to gradually implement the concept from Antetype and design the interactions realistically. In this phase of prototyping, I made decisions on what behavior feels natural and can optimally support users.
With the developed prototype I asked for qualitative feedback on the use from two users. The approach of letting users “explore” by means of realistic patient data exceeded my expectations and turned out to be exactly right.

It’s particularly great to view the graph together with the patient. [...] People love pictures. Yes? Most people are visually triggered, and when one shows it to them and holds up a mirror: “They have a look for themselves. That’s them. Nobody else“. This provides a great sense of momentum. Cool. ”

Dr. Bialas

In a second loop, a visual design was added to the prototype and improvements from the validation were integrated. Created in Antetype and implemented in CSS styles, the final version of my prototype was created.

Conclusion

By means of the “Quiri Analyzer” practical example I have shown you my (an) approach of prototyping for interactive big data visualizations. The effort of an expansive prototyping phase is worth it, try it for yourselves!

Annika Kaltenhauser

UX Designer

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