For as vast and influential as experience design has become, there are too few academic programs that provide a direct onramp into experience-oriented professions. This award recognizes academic programs in both traditional and nontraditional settings that do the best job of preparing students with the right information, skills, soft skills, and experience to contribute valuably to experience-driven projects.
Digital technologies have evolved to a point where making technological experiences increasingly accessible to people with disabilities and those with needs for special modes of interaction is a real and exciting possibility. However, accessibility remains under-adopted as a hard-and-fast requirement for products and services, and rampant fragmentation threatens progress toward universality of accessible experiences. This award recognizes companies, teams, individuals, products, and services that are shining examples of how accessibility can be embraced to create experiential value for users and customers as well as economic value for the creators of the experience.
Best Agency Team
Great experiences originate the minds and combined efforts of effective experience-oriented teams. When a company invests in the design and creation of an experience-driven product or service, the effectiveness of the team is the most influential variable in the reduction of risk and improvement of upside potential. This award recognizes agencies, or specific teams within larger agencies, that consistently design or create effective or exemplary digital experiences on behalf of their clients.
Winner: Smart Design
Best In-House Team
This award recognizes experience-oriented product teams, UX business units, project groups, or any other kind of in-house team that consistently designs or creates effective or exemplary digital experiences for their company.
More and more consumer products are being designed with user needs and usability in mind, which is indicative of the growing awareness and interest in the practices of user-centered design. This award recognizes consumer products that create or enable excellent experiences for their users, and demonstrate design that was strongly influenced by user-centered research and design practices.
Digital Media and Entertainment
The way we consume media has changed dramatically over the past three decades. Whether it is news, entertainment, or games, users are engaged with media in completely new ways that hinge on the influence of design and technology. Successful digital media experiences give users new and rewarding ways to connect with the things they value, whether it’s the show they want to watch, a delightful moment in a game, or timely and relevant information. The award recognizes experiences across all types of media that have improved how people discover, access, and engage with digital media.
Winner: Second Story's Photography Interpretive Gallery at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Experience for Children
Children can be sophisticated users of technology, and with newer methods of interaction such as touch and gestures, digital systems are accessible to an even younger set of potential users. Every age bracket of children has different specific needs for content, navigation, interactions, and other aspects of product experiences. This award recognizes digital products for children that deliver excellent value, engagement, and ease of use for their users.
Technology is changing the way we look and see our money and how the financial world is moving forward. Through technology there are barriers being broken and new innovative ways of budgeting, banking, saving, investing and even financing. The old ways of doing things are being over taken by interaction with a new experience.
Innovative Tool or Technique
Although there’s striking consistency in the research and design techniques employed by practitioners and companies, there are still opportunities for existing techniques to be improved upon, or for altogether new ones to be devised. There's also a certain uniformity to the tools available to experience designers, such as those used to create wireframes and prototypes. Here, too, there’s room for improvement and innovation. This award recognizes new or improved research techniques, design techniques, and design tools that affect the quality and success of experience design.
Winner: Futurice’s Internet of Things Service Kit
Top Public Sector Experience
A vast litany of factors, budgetary, security, and compliance—routinely make the quality and usefulness of technology systems built for public sector entities lag far behind the private sector. Nevertheless, there are extraordinary opportunities to use user-centered practices to effect positive changes, and this award recognizes digital solutions, applications, services, and other experiences created by or for public-sector entities that deliver real value to citizens.
Winner: Natural Resources Defense Council's SAVE THE FOOD campaign
Top Business Experience
Technology has changed the way that we do business and experience everyday life. This award recognizes companies that have that have thoroughly and effectively embraced experience design as an overarching strategy, with the success of doing so in executive leadership, design and engineering teams, and general staff with the ability to influence user and customer experience.
Top Small Business Experience 10-50 employees
Winner: Loop and Tie
Top Medium Business Experience > 250 employees
Top Large Business Experience < 250 employees
Experience that Makes a Difference
Technology has incredible potential to make a positive impact in people’s lives, whether on an individual level or by addressing societal or global concerns. This award recognizes digital products, systems, and other experience design initiatives that contribute meaningful improvements to people’s lives, to society, and/or to the world, where the quality of the product or system’s user experience is essential to its success.
Experience Digital Strategy
Companies that provide exceptional experiences in their products and services understand that user and customer experience are high level strategic values, not just low level tactical practices. The awards recognizes companies that have thoroughly and effectively embraced experience design as an overarching strategy, with the success of doing so in executive leadership, design and engineering teams, and general staff with the ability to influence customer experience.
Experience in Health Care
There is a demand for improvement of this industry from all angles especially technology. This award recognizes digital products, systems, and other experience design initiatives that are making an impact on patient experience, staff experience, the way documents are processed and the overall picture of how we receive healthcare. This can also include health insurance innovations from a technology perspective.
Interactive Advertising or Marketing
Nearly every major advertising or marketing campaign has significant online and/or interactive components, but they don’t always reflect the needs of the business and its hopes for how customers might behave. This award recognizes interactive advertising or marketing campaigns that deliver real value, engagement, and/or utility to customers while creatively complementing the other facets of the campaign.
Mobile Application or Solution
Mobile devices and mobile-platform computing have literally gone global, leading to an astonishing number of mobile applications and solutions. Many of these are created without sufficient regard to the needs of users and the opportunities inherent to the mobile platforms. This award recognizes mobile applications and solutions that work with unique device capabilities, contexts of use, and modes of use of mobile devices to expose new and valuable experiences to users.
Winner: The Soulmen GbR's Ulysses
Online Retailer Experience
The Internet has transformed the way that we buy and sell products. It is hard to find a retailer that doesn’t have an option to purchase their products online. This award recognizes those online retailers that have created an experience and design to set themselves apart. This experience that they have created not only helps their bottom line but allows the customer to keep coming back for more.
Winner: Dollar Shave Club
UX Trailblazer of the Year
This individual has carved a new path in the world of UX. They are showing us the future of the industry and how to create the ultimate experiences. Creating and innovating the industry is where they are going and bringing us with them. This could be a Practitioner, Designer, Entrepreneur, or CEO that is innovating and creating the future standard. They are pushing the industry to new heights through leadership, innovation and experience.
Winner: Clark Valberg, CEO of InVision
Every winner will get their own detailed article describing the journey they took and explore their success which has led them to receive our award. They will be published in the months to come on our website, so if you want to know more, keep on reading uxmag.com!