A Celebration of Community: Vancouver UX Awards

An interview with Anthony Hempell, organizer and sponsor of the Vancouver UX Awards.

Interviewer, Julie Sabey: What inspired you to get involved with the Vancouver UX Awards?

Anthony: I was asked to judge in 2018 and learned how submissions are evaluated and saw how well everyone worked together to create the show. I was impressed with the way they uphold the integrity of the event and the judging. The night itself is so special because I get to see all the people in the UX community I’ve worked with over the year. One of the founding organizers, Mallory O’Connor calls it the UX wedding! (laughs) Last year it was online only and of course this year we’re looking forward to hosting in person again. Hopefully next year we can return to hosting our demo day–which has a fun, science fair format–and spending more time with the organizers and participants.

What do you think this award means to a recipient? 

Of course, it’s nice to have it on your CV, but it’s deeper than that–they’ve been recognized by their peers and that’s particularly meaningful.

Winning means you’ve done exceptional work and you’re one of the industry leaders. 

As someone who hires in the space, how important is seeing awards on someone’s resume? 

Knowing what it takes to put a submission in–the combination of creating great work and knowing how to represent it and make a case for it—says a lot about how organized you are and how well you can represent your craft. And it speaks to the skills you have beyond your craft–you know what you’re doing, and you have hustle–a fantastic combination. 

Any highlights?

Student submissions have become a real highlight. Of the four categories: UX for Good, UX by Students, UX for Commerce and UX for Product, it’s the one we get the most submissions for and the hardest category to judge. It’s a real showcase of who’s up-and-coming. It becomes a recruiting opportunity–placing or winning can make a big difference for a student. Best of all, it strengthens our connections to the academic community.

What are the criteria? And what happens when it’s close–how do you break the tie? 

Anthony: The website lays out the criteria best. 

Julie: OK, I’ll cut and paste from the website then (laughs)

Awards Criteria

Elegance: How cohesive and refined does the solution feel? How seamless and consistent are users’ interactions with the solution?

Clarity: Some interactions are complex in nature—how does the experience support clear mastery of the task at hand, while minimizing friction?

Innovation: What’s new, different, or exciting about this work? How does it stack up to current conventions and patterns we use today?

Impact: What results can be attributed to the user experience of the solution? What measurable ways has it impacted business and people?

Emotion: How does the work create an emotional connection between the user and its intent? Emotion can range from joy and delight to empowerment and a desire to take action.

Anthony: Once we’ve done the judging, if it’s close, we ask ourselves, “How difficult was the problem?” Our judges have such a deep level of expertise and can identify the bigger challenge, which is the toughest nut to crack. If it comes right down to two projects that are close, I think the winner is often decided by which project does the best job of simplifying a complex problem space.

How can folks get involved? 

Submissions are closed for this year, but you can register here to come to the awards show on November 18th and message me at anthony@vancouveruxawards.com.