Picasso didn’t need usability tests

Günter Pellner
Günter Pellner
June 30th, 2016

Please take the following with a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a big portion of good-natured humor: Below we dive into the fictional world of a very naïve designer. The situations are exaggerated on purpose to illustrate some of the difficulties designers can fall prey to when they do not have an overall understanding of the design process with its stakeholders on client- as well as on user-side. Each issue of the fictional designer is contrasted with that broadened perspective.

The first Feedback

Monday morning. I am launching Outlook and, behold: The e-mail I sent on Friday has just been answered. There is feedback on my newest design – yay! With a humming growing louder and louder in my ears I read that almost everything looks ok – which, of course, to my artistic soul feels like a slap in the face! Because “…almost everything…” and “…looks ok…” basically means that my, oh so perfect visual concept will be taken apart.

All my work for nothing! Researching for hours to find the perfect font. Putting so much thought into every margin. Wisely selecting colors with the pantone catalog I stole from the hardware store specifically for that purpose. And now someone dares to demand changes to my creation? Did da Vinci have to make changes to the Mona Lisa? Did Picasso do usability tests? Did Van Gogh ever read his e-mail? Who knows… I, for one, know immediately and with certainty: After all the changes that are being demanded the design will be ruined and, adding insult to injury, I will have to be the one to destroy that work of art.

I Love my job. read more…

Dreaming of being the champion or what software developers can learn from Jogi Löw – Part 2

Alexander Keller
Alexander Keller
May 31st, 2016

The last article dealt with the question of how we can secure the future of the IT industry in Germany through youth development. Also and most importantly, it dealt with the question how software teams can position themselves better. As an analogy to software engineering I am referring to football as a sport that can teach us a lot about team work and that I am myself involved in with passion since my childhood.

How do interdisciplinary experts become a team?

In the last part we learned about the benefits of broad-based groups of experts. But how does a group of different people working in different disciplines become a team?

read more…

Dreaming of being the champion or: What Software Developers can learn from Jogi Löw – Part 1

Alexander Keller
Alexander Keller
April 29th, 2016

Since I decided to study computer science and media in 2007, I have been confronted with software engineering on a daily basis. Something else also is very time consuming and I am doing it with a lot of passion: sport as compensation to my office job. Since I can walk, I am fascinated by a 27 inch   large ball. My father passed this passion on to me. But what has football as a widely spread sport in Germany got to do with my job as a software engineer? In this blog post I am going to dive into it and take a close look at possible similarities. The first part is about basics, gathering an initial understanding of the subject. In the second part I will take a closer look at methods that we as a company see as added value in this regard.

read more…

WatchOut: Smartwatch meets Industry 4.0

Dominic Gottwalles
February 29th, 2016

2015 was an important year for smartwatches. Following the release of the Apple Watch in April sales figures for wearables increased strongly (see: IDC). It seems obvious that smartwatches, at least in the consumer market, are on the rise – but what added value do users see in a smartwatch, and in which everyday situations can they benefit from them? Is it even possible to use them in an industrial context?smartwatches-lg-applewatch-pebble read more…

Do I really need a smartwatch? Part 2 – Apple Watch

Tobias Gölzer
January 31st, 2016

So there it is – the Apple Watch. One year after the Pebble review, the long awaited gadget has arrived on my desk. Some months later, I finally get to test it. As it can be seen by the time passed by, my anticipation is limited – the information I got  from the internet and the multiple reviews have rather only been moderately inspiring. Charge every day? Change the wristband only for some hundred Euros? Only limited app support so far? All these facts do not really strengthen the wish to buy an Apple Watch for my private use.

If one reads reviews on the internet, the conclusions reach from „How could I ever live without this? “ to „A total waste of money!“. I think that no Apple product so far has had such a polarizing effect. Honestly, the Apple fan boy and the somewhat  more realistic interface designer in me are also fighting a tough fight right now. read more…

DeepGrip – Hands on Virtual Reality

Ronja Scherz

In the last few years, more and more people have started talking about “Virtual Reality”. The possibility of completely immersing in a virtual world via new technologies like e.g. the Oculus Rift fascinates gamers, developers and UX-Designers alike. Looking around a virtual environment by just turning your head, or moving virtual objects with your own hands, offers a completely new and extremely direct way of interacting. In consequence, many users of VR applications really feel like being inside of the virtual environment. It is exactly this feeling, called “immersion”, which makes users expect to be able to really interact with the virtual objects, just as naturally as they would with real ones. But unfortunately, this is not possible with the contemporary setups. VR-glasses just offer visual access to the virtual world. Hence, a user touching a virtual object will not feel any haptic feedback.

To discover how the integration of the tactile sense into a virtual reality application affects the immersion of their users, we at Centigrade developed the prototype “DeepGrip” – an application combining visual and haptic feedback in a virtual reality.

read more…

Coffee for your ears: How Death Metal can make you more productive

Robin Meyer
July 14th, 2015

Bored during the train ride? Rolling Stones. Angry in a traffic jam? Slayer. Party with friends? Daft Punk. Sitting in a wing chair with a brandy in your hand? Chopin. Gang warfare? 2Pac. In the age of streaming services like Spotify, music is probably more ubiquitous than ever. Equipped with a smartphone everybody has the possibility to use an enormous database of songs. Our favorite interprets accompany us to almost every place in almost every situation. But what about the working environment? When is it acceptable to listen to music and can it help you do your job? Or is it more of an unnecessary distraction? read more…

Contextual User Interface Design Engineering with the Universal Windows Platform

David Würfel

Recently I gave a talk at the dotnet Cologne and also at the DWX  Developer Week titled “4K and other challenges – Next Generation Desktop UIs for Windows 10”. The session discussed the term Universal App Platform in Windows 10 and showed what a developer can make out of it in order to create future oriented user interfaces. This blog article is not only supposed to target those who attended my session, but also those who were not present to hear it. Moreover the article will provide further information to the topic. As in the session there will be a coding part at the end where some new Universal App features are shown. read more…

How Morticians and Industrial Engineers play – A Gamification User Type Study

Sebastian Korbas
May 26th, 2015


Part of my Master’s thesis, which I wrote here at Centigrade as a student trainee was to design a mobile application for more sustainability in daily life. Due to the focus on personal energy consumption, the main goal of the application was to create more transparency and generate awareness of the background story of energy transition. The intended effect was to hopefully initiate a possible behavioural change of the potential users, inspired by works of serious games (for change). Essential for this project obviously was – next to a proper usability and an appealing look – to create a motivational design, which tries to engage the user on the long-term. Due to those goals, it was an easy decision to take a look at gamification and its specific possibilities regarding user motivation. But my main challenge in the generation of a concept could be summed up in the question: How to design for an unknown user?

Where to search for common ground, when you are working with a wide range of different users?

Where to search for common ground, when you are working with a wide range of different users? Photo: Jay’s Brick Blog read more…

What consistency means for a cat and what it means for your interface

In interface design, the term consistency is part of the professional jargon. It is used for everyday feedback and in long term concepts. It is also common ground with developers and clients. Consistency is an important evaluation criterium. Enough reasons to get a good handle on the term. read more…

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