IBM Wins a 2018 Red Dot Design Award for SPSS Statistics

The IBM Hybrid Cloud design team shares the magic behind the monumental design award

Arin Bhowmick
IBM Design
5 min readAug 16, 2018


The IBM Hybrid Cloud team is back at it with yet another win for design. I’m excited to announce that our design team has been awarded the 2018 Red Dot: Communication Design Award for IBM SPSS Statistics in the Interface Design category. This award is a continuation of the design achievements we have seen this past year, including the A’Design Awards, IF Design Awards, and others. I am thrilled to see the hard work of our designers and IBM Design continue to shine and make a difference in enterprise software.

First developed in the 1990’s, the Red Dot Award has been the revered international seal of outstanding design quality. Designers, agencies, and companies from 45 different countries took part in this year’s competition, totaling over 8,600 entries that underwent a 24 member jury.

“All those who progress through the tough adjudication process to garner a Red Dot have every reason to be proud of themselves, as the jury grants our award only to creations of high design quality. This makes me all the more delighted to congratulate the laureates sincerely on their well-deserved success.” — Professor Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Award

Receiving this award was incredibly exciting for our team and we are honored to be among the winners. This is a major achievement for our designers who worked on this product, and they faced an interesting and challenging journey in working on this product.

What is IBM SPSS?

IBM SPSS Statistics is a powerful data analysis tool that is one of the most widely used statistics applications. Since its inception in 1968, SPSS Statistics has been revamped and redeveloped multiple times. Now the design team at IBM has taken on the task of creating a totally fresh user experience.

In this latest redesign of IBM SPSS Statistics, we implemented design thinking principles by working closely with our users and making sure this modernized version of SPSS Statistics aligns with their needs. Our ultimate goal was to create a powerful tool that is not only easy and intuitive to use, but that our users can enjoy.

Our Team and Design Approach

The IBM SPSS design team is part of the IBM Design Studios in Boeblingen, Germany. The team is composed of a diverse group, with many members originating from different countries and cultures. Some members of the team had some background with statistics while others were working in this field for the first time.

Following the principles of IBM Design Thinking (Observe > Reflect > Make), our team implemented a redesign that brings a stronger focus on users for SPSS Statistics. The design team conducted intensive research on the user base of SPSS Statistics in order to see how the application can better meet their needs. The current user base ranges from less experienced users such as students to more expert users such as data scientists or business professionals. A key insight from the team’s research was that less experienced users were intimidated both by the math work and the complexity of the application.

The new designs focused on simplifying workflows, reducing the overall complexity of the UI and interactions, and providing beginners an easy on-boarding to statistics and to the product. Another important feature in the redesign was a training guide led by a character named Simon, who serves as an in-application guide, helping novice users understand different functions and achieve their goals faster.

The team faced some interesting challenges in redesigning a product of such complexity, and one that has also been around for so many years. A big success of the designers was making the product accessible and attractive to new users without alienating decade-long, experienced users.

A Look Into the Future

The preview version of our new IBM SPSS Statistics experience was released in March 2018, and made available to the public as a trial on the IBM Think conference is Las Vegas, and since June 26 , the new UI is generally available to all SPSS Statistics subscribers. This preview is just the initial step, offering the most used statistical analyses, and basic capabilities for data preparation, for presentation and for reporting results. Over the following months the team will be working to add more features and capabilities in order to meet experience needs of all of our user groups.

Not Just Updating — Redesigning

I am so thrilled to see another Hybrid Cloud design team receive an international award for their work. IBM SPSS Statistics is yet another example of how design is making a huge difference in the success of our products. As we continue to use design to create more relatable and efficient products, we are able to give our users the experiences that they need and want. I’m thrilled and proud to watch the difference that our design team is making in the world of enterprise software, and I can’t wait to see how we continue to impact the lives of our users.

Award Winners:

  • Design Manager: Caroline Law
  • Design Leads: Dirk Willuhn and Eva Cochet-Weinandt
  • Design Team: Christian Fritsche, Dimitri Hoffmann, Jaehee (Chloe) Lee, Oleksandr Sabov, Stephan Feger
  • Thanks to these contributing designers: Katrin Ellice Heintze, Leila Johannesen, Marion Bruells, Phil Brucker, Robin Auer, Sammy Schuckert, Stefan Schwarz
  • Design interns: Mengzhu Deng, Nathalie Mader, Ting-Hao (Howard) Huang, Vanessa Ng

Arin Bhowmick (@arinbhowmick) is Vice President, Design at IBM based in San Francisco, California. The above article is personal and does not necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.



Arin Bhowmick
IBM Design

Chief Design Officer, @SAP | ex CDO @IBM |Cloud, AI and Apps I UX Leadership| UX Strategy| Usability & User Research| Product Design