Interview with Hannes Robier, Founder of World Usability Congress
An interview with Hannes Robier, Founder of World Usability Congress and CEO of Youspi, a UX consulting and training firm located in Graz, Austria.
My friend Hannes Robier is a remarkable man. He founded and is CEO of a UX consulting and training firm, Youspi. He also founded the World Usability Congress, an international conference dedicated to UX, usability and related interaction design fields that has grown in attendance every year and attracts renowned speakers and audiences from around the world.
And, in his ‘spare’ time he is the non-paid President of the Research Lab for Interaction and Experience Labx, dedicated to the scientific exploration of new ways for customers and companies to engage with each other.
As I have predicted regarding the future of UX, Europe and Central Europe continue to grow in the UX field, and some of that growth can directly be attributed to Hannes and his work.
What is your background and education?
After earning my high school degree, I was dedicated to work within the area of Design. Back then, I didn’t yet know anything about Usability and User Experience.
Thus, I started to study Information Design at the University of Applied Sciences FH JOANNEUM in Graz, Austria. One small part of their curriculum was Usability and after my first into the topic, I was hooked and knew that my future professional endeavours would be within the Usability world.
What got you interested in usability and user experience?
At our first session at FH JOANNEUM we had to redesign the interaction concept for a video recorder. To me, it was incredibly impressive to see how much room for improvement there actually was and I instantly found the idea of making products better very enticing.
What is your profession and what products or projects are you currently working on?
I am UX designer.
In addition to that, I am the unsalaried President of the Research Lab for Interaction and Experience Labx.
My team and I are working within different areas to redesign various products. We are mostly working in an B2B environment so 90% of our projects are actually secret. Some of the companies we work for comprise local international companies like Magna Steyr, AVL, RedBull and others. On top of that, we are also working with startups to develop new innovative products in the area of medical, IoT or eCommerce.
What do you do for World Usability Congress and how did you start it?
I am the chairman and organizer of the World Usability Congress. To me, top priorities in the preparation phase include finding top-notch expert speakers that can add value and insights for our attendees, as well as finding sponsors. Creating memorable experiences throughout the entire Congress is my passion and my job.
We started in 2007 with the first World Usability Day in Austria. At the first event we had 30 attendees, but I already had the vision to organize an international UX congress, transgressing borders and attracting both attendees and speakers from all over the world. Back then, my Usability Professor was laughing at the idea of staging an international UX congress in Graz. Now, things have become real.
In your own words, what makes “an Experience” (User Experience)
To me, an Experience is a moment, a product, a conversation or the like that you remember and that you will talk about! An Experience always surpasses your expectations and therefore becomes memorable.
What do look most forward to at World Usability Congress?
I most look forward to meeting all the fantastic people – both attendees and speakers – at WUC and to discussing UX and potential joint projects with them. It is the perfect mash-up of expert speakers and visitors from various industries, as well as exciting side events and numerous networking opportunities around that makes the event such an amazing experience!
What’s your all-time favourite book? Why? (private or business)
It is a German book called “The New Toughness Training for Sports” by James E. Loehr which is all about mental power and certainly not only applicable in sports. It provides guidelines as to how to achieve your targets and visions and has formed an essential part of my life.
Thank you Hannes!
A big ‘Thank You’ to Hannes for taking the time for this interview. Hannes and others like him are a driving force in bringing better UX and design to Europe and the world. If you’ve not had the chance yet to attend the World Usability Congress, I hope you’ll put it high on your list for must-attend conferences. And who knows, maybe you’ll get a chance to meet Hannes in person, and learn more about how he’s been a driving force in promoting good user experiences world-wide.