Usability Congress

The World Usability Congress 2018 reviewed

Lesezeit: 4 Minuten

Last month I attended the World Usability Congress 2018 in Graz, Austria. A big event in the world of UX for such a small city. It was my first time and I was very excited prior to the event and I wasn’t let down. Here is my short review to make your decision on whether or not to attend next year easier.

The ratings

General organization

Just like you’d expect Austrian events to go. No delays, no technical problems. Everything was planned minutely. At the administration one would receive a notebook with the schedule and they even went there and made an app.


The Messecongress is a very modern and nicely equipped venue. It’s easy to access from the city centre. Graz as the host city is very charming and comfortable for people that live there. The congress brings a more international audience to Graz and I think the city provides enough „coolness“ as a „City of Design“. It can stay here! 🙂 


Some really high-quality speakers from well-known companies. Some talks were missing a red thread and practical examples. I personally think that 4 (sometimes 5) talks at the same time are too many. But I guess it’s also my very present fear of missing out that plays a role in this argument. There are recordings of most sessions though, so you can catch up on what you’ve missed. As a content strategy student I must say, there isn’t a lot about content. One could argue that it doesn’t really fit into this congress. So just a heads up that it might not be the best event for content-related topics.                                                                                      


Loads of local and traditional food. Apple juice from local farmers, scrambled eggs with pumpkin seed oil. Styria was well represented. Chestnuts and „Sturm“ was definitely the highlight. My only critique is that allergens weren’t label sufficiently.

Networking dinner

The dinner took place in one of Graz’s fanciest restaurants, the Schlossberg Restaurant. The food and service were excellent (they even catered to my vegan needs) and the atmosphere was enjoyable and relaxed, just perfect for networking.

Networking opportunity

I attended with a friend. But throughout the event I met acquaintances and colleagues. So no worries, you’ll find someone to review the talk you’ve just listened to. However, I feel like some better opportunities to find employees or a new employer could be established. Maybe a job board or matchmaking event?


Getting there. Lunch was served on proper plates and drinks mostly in glasses. However, the coffee stations were from Nespresso. My disagreement with the tabs aside, one had to use non-reusable cups. Not cool. Just provide mugs next time please 🙂 (I used the water glasses instead of the paper cups).    

Side events

Adobe exhibited their UX software Adobe XD. Other companies had stalls where one could test their product and give design feedback. Neat idea. Other than that, there weren’t many interesting things to do. I also feel like the presentation of the Magic Leap would’ve been great, there were two talks about it and people were very interested in it. At least the breaks were hyped up by the awesome DJane they had 🙂


Usability Congress
How user data is visualized at Google

Google – Russ Wilson – Achieving product excellence through measurement

King – Christopher Grant – My UX „Saga“: Bringing UX to Games and Games to UX

Somewhere else – Christophe Mallet – How (Not) to tell Stories in VR

Magic Leap – James Powderly – Biased Reality

My very personal highlight

My close friend Florian Lackner was a contestant in the Student UX Championship 2018. He had to go through 3 rounds of challenges and tasks against other UX Design students and he ended up winning! Congratulations again! 🙂

Xd Waffle

Bottom line

The congress has huge potential. I feel like they know that there is room for improvement and they take feedback seriously. It’s an enrichment for Graz and its design scene. Can’t wait for next year 😀

So, if you want to learn more about the congress head over to You can see this year’s speakers and buy tickets for 2019.

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