I’m a digital designer with a human-centered and lean approach to developing products and services. Over the past 10 years I have led teams and designed award-winning experiences, working for clients such as Otto Group, UFA, Volkswagen or ZDF. I have also founded my own startup to prototype, launch and test ideas for products/business models.
I'm passionate about innovation and believe in design as a catalyst for change.
My specialties include Design Direction, User Experience, Interaction Design, User Research and Design Thinking.
Thopia was another product that I developed with my startup. Thopia should help broadcasters and TV-production companies to reduce development costs and to build technological competences in-house. Me and my co-founder had the idea for the project through our work in the Film/TV sector. We decided to explore it further after we attracted interest of potential customers and got funded through a public broadcasting innovation fund.
Stakeholder-interviews / user research
I started the design process with stakeholder-interviews to identify key requirements and to learn who was involved in making purchase decisions. I also wanted to find out how potential customers were currently developing mobile apps, who they were working with, what they liked about it and what they didn’t. In the next step I did a competitor analysis and interviewed employees who would be using the product. Other methods I used were personas, empathy maps and a business model canvas.
Prototyping / user testing
I had already tested the value proposition and pricing model with stakeholders by using a landing page. After the foundational research phase I involved stakeholders and end-users in the iterative development of a prototype. For testing with end-users I collaborated with “UseTree" – the usability research institute of the TU Berlin / UDK Berlin.
This project was a great opportunity to collaborate with other researchers and to deepen my usability knowledge. I also learned more about B2B business models. My co-founder and I decided to end the project, because it became evident during the prototyping phase that the business model was less scalable than we had initially assumed.
Amp was the second product that I developed with my startup. It was a mobile app designed to protect users from being overwhelmed by the growing amount of social media content. The idea emerged during the user research of my first startup product - fck, we love it !. Research participants would report being overwhelmed by their existing social media accounts, so I decided to explore this potential problem.
I conducted user interviews with social media "power users". In these interviews I observed participants using social media apps and asked them some open ended questions to dig deeper into potential frustrations and other aspects of their experience. I also looked at existing studies about social media usage patterns, created personas, did a competitor analysis and drew a business model canvas.
Prototyping / user testing
Based on my research we designed a landing page and a prototype to test in a second round of research. This time, I divided participants into two groups - “passive power users” (who consume a lot of social media content, but don’t create it themselves) and active power users (consume lots of content and also create content). It turned out that both groups found the product only moderately useful and missed social networking features. The possibility to "clean up" social media was associated with additional effort and participants didn’t see enough value to pay for the product.
In this project I built upon my learnings with fck, we love it! I identified a potential customer problem as a starting point for research and discovery and was more aware of a founders' bias I might have in research interpretation and synthesis.
Lean Startup Process Model
My thesis in Digital Media was inspired by my experiences as a Startup founder and a conversation about the Lean Startup concept with my professor. She had co-founded a Startup and developed an app for horse-riding-enthusiasts. The number of downloads for the app was high, but engagement was low and the freemium model didn't work. With my bachelor's thesis, I wanted to get a better understanding of the situation to see if the Lean Startup concept could help the founders with their next steps.
Research / process model
I started my thesis with more reading, so I could analyse the Lean Startup literature, looking for phases and methods that were recommended by the different authors and used my findings to design a process model.
In addition to my professor, there were more founders, whom I interviewed. I asked open-ended questions, to learn how the founders got the idea for the app, how they were iterating it, what worked well and what difficulties they were facing. I also used closed questions to see if specific methods and metrics that are key to the Lean Startup had been applied.
Comparison with process model
The interviews revealed that the team was using agile principles to develop and iterate a MVP. They were also measuring progress through metrics, experimenting with surveys, evaluating support requests and monitoring social media to understand user needs. However, the founders didn't use qualitative user research or A/B testing and their metrics were not actionable enough, according to the Lean Startup concept.
From a comparison of the approach of the founders with the process model I concluded that qualitative research, such as exploratory user interviews and field studies could be helpful. The founders could combine it with quantitative data to segment their users and to find out why some users were more engaged than others. This would eventually help to identify early adopters and features that users are willing to pay for.
I enjoyed the deep dive into the Lean Startup and learned more about how it relates to other ideas, like Customer Development, Agile Development, Lean UX or Design Thinking.
Fck, we love it!
Fck, we love it! was the first product, that I built with my startup. Users would publish content that they love or hate in an app, which helped them to meet people with similar tastes and interests. I developed the idea with a co-founder and a small team that I hired after acquiring funding.
My research goal was to understand how potential users meet people online, how they discover, collect and buy products and what motivates them to use certain services over others. I did user interviews, a competitor analysis, wrote personas and scenarios and looked at existing studies.
Prototyping / user testing
Starting from the user research I developed and tested a prototype. It turned out that most of the participants didn’t understand the product idea, but were curious and wanted to try fck, we love it! as soon as it launched.
Despite the mixed feedback we got from testing the prototype, I decided to build and release a MVP, because a few hundred users had signed up for a Beta on our landing page. Unfortunately only a fraction of those users created an account after the release. We tried to iterate the product, but weren’t able to retain users and had to kill the idea in the end.
Even though the product was not a success, I learned a lot in this project. I wrote a business plan to get funding, founded a company and had responsibility for a small team that I hired. However, my biggest learning was how easy it is to become biased in the interpretation of user research as a founder.
Rescue Dina Foxx!
“Rescue Dina Foxx?" was a transmedia entertainment format that I developed as part of a team for the german public broadcasting channel ZDF. It consisted of a TV-film and an online scavenger hunt, in which viewers were invited to solve a puzzle and explore the narrative even further.
Transmedia Story Development
We were a team of screenwriters, producers, cinematographers, designers and developers who regularly met with the director and the client to develop the transmedia concept and elements. We started with a rough story for a TV-film, which we adapted and fleshed out until it was part of a game with hundreds of quests and puzzles. There was even a browser game inside the game, phone numbers to call and real-live events to join.
User research / user testing
We looked at other examples of Transmedia experiments and conducted secondary research to see what had worked and what didn't. We also tested elements of the experience to better understand user needs. The most important conclusions were that we needed to facilitate close collaboration between players and that we would design for two groups of users who expected different levels of difficulty.
Through my work for an interactive agency I had already gained some experience in projects that involved interactive storytelling. However, working as a UX designer in the film-industry was an entirely new thing for me. It was quite exciting to see how the concept development was not only driven by users’ needs, but also by a story that evolved and converged through ideas of different minds.
Campaign for Tamsen Yachts that I developed as a Creative Director for the interactive agency Kubikfoto. In addition to a website, brochure and print ads, there was an interactive photo story surrounding the events of a wedding in Monaco.
Research / stakeholder-interviews
The client was aiming for a campaign that was different to typical advertising clichés in the yachting sector. I researched how other yachting companies were advertising and spoke to the client to get a better idea of the self-image of the Tamsen Yachts brand.
In the next step we used moodboards to define a visual language with the client. We proposed a style that was inspired by a retro bohemian chic and fashion magazines and put this in contrast to usual yachting advertising.
In the next step we developed a storyboard for the interactive photo story. It should entertain, but at the same time also inform about the features and the interior design of the yacht.
I supervised the booking and the production on location. Then I accompanied the image selection and editing, as well as the design of the website, brochure and print campaigns, which featured scenes from the interactive story.
As a Creative Director in a digital agency, I learned a lot about visualising ideas and pitching them to clients. I also got practice in delivering experiences that are consistent and engaging across different channels.