REPORT: Vancouver User Experience Awards 2017

I participated in Vancouver User Experience Awards 2017, an annual event of the User Experience category held in Vancouver on Saturday, November 29. Personally, I participated in the event last year, so it was the second time this year.

The venue is the same as last year, The Imperial on the Main street.

Tickets are sold at Eventrive, with a general price of $ 50 and a student price of $ 25. Student tickets were already sold out when I saw it two weeks ago, so I recommend you to purchase early if you plan to participate next year.

I highly recommend this event as a comment that I participated for the second year in a row, so I think that $ 25 is not expensive at all.

UX on Enterprise! How can we become a UX-driven organization?

This year’s Keynote was the story of Mr. Markus Grupp, Director of Digital Customer Experience in Canada’s largest bookstore chain INDIGO. The theme is “The Influence of UX on Enterprise Transformation”. In other words, it is about UXer to work on the organization to maximize the impact of the UX project.

When saying “UX”, our eyes tend to understand users. Like, interviewing customers, make a persona, and customer journey map.

But if you really want to improve the customer experience, people who provide the service must also understand the meaning of the design.

Mr. Grupp listed the organization’s understanding of UX design as one of the important things to enhance the effectiveness of UX design. And he taught four tips. In this article, I’ll share one of them.

Master the art of stakeholders

Stakeholders and clients are different. People who actually provide services to users or customers and those who receive calls at call centers are also very important stakeholders.

Mr. Grupp introduced how to better understand stakeholders in four steps.

First of all, the design team must understand who is a stakeholder. Understand roles and departments of stakeholders that are likely to affect user experience.

In the next step, do some interviews understand that stakeholder. Do not ask questions randomly. We need to understand what they are thinking, speaking, reading and hearing through the interview. It’s also important to define what they do in a business meeting. Their motivation for the work is also important.

The third step is about knowledge of the design process. We need to know not only about stakeholder’s personality, but their knowledge of the design process. So we can conduct design process more efficient for every stakeholder.

And finally mapping them.

I thought that it is a long and tough process to understand stakeholders. I have never experienced this maximum process of work with inner team stakeholders. However, I understand that this work is efficient and makes outcome way better.

Annual Award announcement

The main purpose of this event is to announce the annual awards of that year in the field of User Experience. In the second half of the event, awards were announced from each of the three projects in 5 categories.

In addition, prior voting was held for this event. A project selected by the general vote can get the title “People’s Choice”.

Well, which team won the annual award this year!?


This category is to evaluate student projects.

This year the SFU student team “The ACLU Crisis Center” won an award.

This is an application that supports the service of American NGO organization ACLU aiming to keep freedom of speech.


This category is to evaluate UX projects focused on giving good impact to society such as NPO.

This year Kudoz service won an award.

This is a service that connects people with disabilities and those who want to volunteer. Volunteers will propose an experience on Kudoz that they can do with something with some disabilities based on their experience. It’s a similar experience as posting a room in Airbnb. And, those who want to try the experience apply and offer experiences in the actual time.


This category is to evaluate projects on devices and technology areas of new genres. For example, UX for AR, VR, wearable or bot.

Sphero” by Finger Food Studio has won an award this year.

This is a service for children to learn the Swift language while enjoying using a ball toy called “Sphero”. Since I do not actually use it, I do not know how good as UX. But, the toy looks very attractive!


This category is to evaluate the product’s UX project.

Hollyburn Properties” by Drive Digital won the award this year.

This is a web service to improve the room search experience. In general, the UI of room searching sites is very hard to use. Regarding the UI of the room search site, I feel that the Canadian website is quite useless compared to Japanese one. In order to alleviate stress on use, this “Hollyburn Properties” site has lost page transition as much as possible.

I actually tried using it, and it a was nice experience actuary.


This category is to evaluate projects to improve UX of working environment, such as intranet and in-house system.

This year “Klue” won an award.

Now we use various online tools such as e-mail, Salesforce, Slack, etc. in-house.

Klue curates information on these various platforms. It gives priority to information. It is important to tell from things. I think that if it prioritize effectively, it will lead to a wonderful improvement in the work experience.


It was a project called “Change the game” by the student team that won the PEOPLE’S CHOICE this year.

There seems to be a difference in news reports of sports athletes between men and women. The app “Change the game” is to fill these differences up to the Tokyo Olympic Games by increasing the coverage of female athletes.


And BEST UX decides the top among the winners of each award.

“Kudoz” which won UX FOR GOOD this year shined this award! Congratulations wonderful!


After all this year’s event, the keynote was impressive for me.

It is difficult to do the work within an organization. I easily imagine that I will be asked like this: “Well, how about the work’s ROI?”

However, I think that we should do inner work if we want to get the biggest impact of the design work.

I would like to report again when I participate in these conferences! See you soon.

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