The Netherlands are a small country. Yet, or just because of their small size, they are a very progressive and innovation driven nation – always open for change and new ideas. This curiosity and urge to always be moving forward holds true for all different aspects of life – also for technological fields, such as user centered design.
Besides, Dutch people are very sociable and they like to get together for a ‘borrel’ and to share ideas and insights. So it’s not a surprise that there are already plenty of meetup groups in and around Amsterdam that focus on topics related to UX design. Yet, none of them takes place regularly.
AmsterdamUX is the first UX meetup in the Netherlands that brings together professionals and non professionals from the UX field on a monthly base. Goal is to create a space where people can meet, share, and learn about topics like interaction design, visual design, user research, sketching, prototyping, and the role of UX in the development process, marketing, business, and our everyday lives.
The group meets every first Wednesday of the month. Subscribe to the AmsterdamUX meetup group and join us at our next event!
What happened at AmsterdamUX last time?
Our last meeting was sponsored by and held at User Intelligence in Amsterdam. Their office space allowed for 40 attendees, which was just about perfect for our informal meetup.
The User Intelligence office offered the perfect setting for an informal meetup.
Besides beverages, pizza, and a lot of interesting people, there were two very inspiring talks – granting insights into two very different topics.
Talk 1: Digital Natives
First, Saskia Schippers from User Intelligence took us on a journey to the core of any design. With the question “Do you really know your users?” she asked us to pause and really think about the user. And not just any user. With some remarkable research and surprising facts, Saskia opened our eyes for a new group of users – digital natives.
Digital natives are those people that are accustomed to technology from their early childhood – they seem to be different in their perceptions and reactions from “digital immigrants” (born before 1985). Digital natives are “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet. User Intelligence has conducted an online survey among this target group.
Here are some key characteristics of digital natives that affect their role as a user:
- Intolerance – They blame technology not themselves if something doesn’t work. They don’t like to wait. They don’t try to fix things.
- Impatience – They switch to another app if something crashes. Usually, they have several apps running at the same time.
- They are constantly multitasking. As a result, they have fragmented attention and make more mistakes.
- They are highly social. 60% of them are members of more than 1 social network, 92% have a Facebook account, and their favorite services are Whatsapp, Facebook, and Twitter.
- They are deeply attached to their devices. Spending a day without them could be a hard challenge, making them feel lost, or even naked.
- They use their phone continuously during the day. 100% of them have a mobile phone and 89% of those are smartphones. They spend an average of 3.5 hours per day using their phone.
- Technology means fun. All devices they use are multifunctional, and prove entertainment is an integral part of the device.
- They don’t have a pre-digital experience (80% say they can’t stand a single day without the internet).
These insights show that we should think differently when designing for young target groups between 15-25 years of age. This audience consists of mainly heavy users of technology with different experiences. Where digital immigrants may still appreciate the unlimited possibilities of 24/7 Internet access, digital natives don’t know any better. They are used to it, which means they experience this as normal. Creating stable, fast and user-friendly products is not a luxury feature anymore. It’s a necessity.
Digital natives are constantly multitasking. As a result, they have fragmented attention and make more mistakes.
Talk 2: Redesigning the website of the Rijksmuseum
The second talk was presented by Anna Offermanse from Fabrique. She talked us through the process and challenges of developing the new website for the Rijksmuseum. Together with her team, they developed both a whole new concept and a new design for the site.
Here are some key design decisions that resulted in the final version of the new website:
- The design was based on a ‘mobile first’ approach.
- The pivotal idea for the site was to ‘bring the museum closer’. This was implemented both on a sensible and functional level.
- “Everyone should have a piece of Rijksmuseum in their living room.” Over 140 000 art objects can be viewed on the website in high quality. Visitors can browse different galleries, create their own gallery, download images, and order prints.
- The homepage shows the new logo of the museum in big letters. This was a wish from the logo designer Irma Boom.
- All main pages show full-screen pictures in background. The idea was to give the images as much room to breathe as possible.
- The navigation menu is hidden behind a small icon if not needed. This way, functional elements don’t take in any unnecessary space.
Rijksmuseum.nl was designed with a mobile first approach with the idea to ‘bring the museum closer’.
It was very interesting to see how Anna and her team made different design decisions, how they handled criticism, and how they worked together with the Rijksmuseum. After a very detailed presentation, there was room for a vital discussion.
AmsterdamUX MeetUp. 3rd Ed. at Usabilla
All in all, the second edition of AmsterdamUX offered a lot of new ideas, interesting insights, and an inspiring setting to meet new people.
We are looking forward to welcoming everyone – you included – to the next meetup on September 4 at the Usabilla HQ in Amsterdam.
Do you want to get involved?
Are you passionate about UX? Do you have an interesting topic you would like to share? Or would you like to become a sponsor of AmsterdamUX and host your own event? Then join us on meetup or drop us a line for more info.