If the area of UX is developed, Western Sweden can take up a position on the international stage and this will give companies there access to new markets. For this reason, the prestudy User Experience Excellence is being launched in September by Lindholmen Science Park, Volvo Cars and a wide range of stakeholders.
By investigating the commitment, requirements and working methods for a new and highly effective UX* arena, it will be possible to lay the foundations for a larger-scale project. The prestudy is being funded by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth and Region Västra Götaland and run by Visual Arena, Lindholmen Science Park, which together with Volvo Cars also launched the initiative.
(*UX stands for user experience)
The future for companies and other organisations in Western Sweden will involve an increase in servicification and UX expertise will give them a major competitive advantage by a user-centric focus.
Anton Grammatikas, CEO of the product design studio Boid, underlines the importance of a UX arena in Västra Götaland.
"UX design is a key consideration for business. Companies that understand and use their insights in this area are more likely to perform better. One important factor is to break down the silos between physical and digital services and instead focus on overall user experiences. Achieving this requires cooperation, so creating a UX arena is an excellent way of increasing the competitiveness and innovative ability of the region."
"The automotive industry is undergoing transformations. The increased demands for electrification, autonomous driving and connectivity are making every aspect of user experience more important than ever before," says Thomas Stovicek, head of user experience at Volvo Cars.
The UX arena initiative will enable Volvo Cars and Lindholmen Science Park to collaborate with other organisations and strengthen their competence, which in turn will allow them to create an even better user experience for their customers.
A collaborate arena where small and large companies come together in the field of UX can act as a catalyst for new collaborative ventures in research and business. The larger companies in Western Sweden base their UX activities on their extensive experience and relatively large resources, but they sometimes also lack the agility and innovative working methods of smaller firms. On the other hand, the small companies often have innovative solutions, but may lack the capacity to develop their businesses or even understand the full potential of the applications for their solutions.
Åsa Andblad, programme manager at Visual Arena, believes that there is extensive interest in this venture and invites any companies that would like to be involved to get in touch.
"During the prestudy we will be focusing on bringing in UX expertise and the areas where the region has particular strengths, so that, depending on the requirements, we can move on to an implementation project as part of the structural fund programme for Western Sweden. There will be opportunities for collaboration at a national and international level and we will be working to secure co-financing and to find the right business model for the venture."
The preliminary study will bring together interest groups in the field of user experience and the areas where the region has strengths to encourage collaboration between small and medium-sized companies, universities, research institutions and public sector bodies in research and innovation.
A collaboration arena will give rise to synergies between businesses, the public sector and the academic world and promote investment in the development of products and services, cooperation, projects, knowledge transfer, testing and inspiration for UX in Western Sweden.
Åsa Andblad, programme manager, Visual Arena
What is user experience?
There are many ways of understanding and describing user experience.
Here is one: "The term UX" with Don Norman.
In Västra Götaland there are areas that are of considerable importance for the competitiveness and growth potential of the region and the strategy aims to enhance the conditions for innovative change and sustainable development in those areas. Read more on page 12 of the PDF file Regional utvecklingsstrategi för Västra Götaland 2021 – 2030 (Regional development strategy for Västra Götaland 2021 – 2030).