Our Approach

We are a design studio specializing in design for user interfaces and the underlying experience.

We turn user centered communication concepts and interaction design into enjoyable journeys that bring the look, feel and vibe of your digital product to life.

In addition we speak geek and are designers who think in code. We specialize in designing human-machine interactions and interfaces that are more human than machine.

we do

CONCEPT & DIGITAL STRATEGY CREATION

We support our clients in creating interactive advertising campaigns and communication concepts. After all we do come from the country of “Dichter & Denker”!

IA DESIGN & INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

We create use cases, user scenarios, interaction flows, storyboards, wireframes & click dummies for
any digital screen size.

USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN & CONSULTING

We use analysis, research, interviews & persona development so our clients can base decisions on facts instead of fluffy sales speech. We also offer consulting and help our clients define business and user goals for their digital product.

ONLINE ART DIRECTION

We aim for more than just “wunderhübsch”! Our online art direction and visual design are delivered in style guides and GUI specs to make sure you don't go off track when scaling your product.

Our work

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag GmbH – Softlaunch of country specific home pages

CLIENT

Brain Appeal GmbH
Brain Appeal, Internet Agency, Mannheim: Coding TYPO 3 and Hosting. www.brain-appeal.com

 

WE DID

- Analysis of existing sites
- Culture Research
- Basic strategic Google Analytics Check
- Concept (Content Strategy, Optimizing, Google Analytic Action Plan) & First Mockup Sketches
- Visual Design

 

LINK

www.sumitomo-shi-demag.eu

 

1/5 Culture research phase: What are the differences in intercultural web design projects? – Here: of uncertainty avoidance, “a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity”.

uncert

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is an international corporate group and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of injection moulding machines for the processing of plastics.

We were asked by our client Brain Appeal to do to basic strategic concept work in the form of a culture research for the countries Russia, China, UK, France and Brazil and basic analytics research, which were then to result in a new visual design for individual country home pages.

The goal was to find a way to address the cultural differences both, in visual language and content and to catch the attention of the culturally different user groups and to create a communication concept for the different countries.

A rough analysis of the existing sites was followed on research for intercultural experience design, which we based on Geert Hofstede’s hypothesis of cultural dimensions in terms of power distance, individualism vs. collectivism, masculinity vs. femininity, uncertainty, avoidance and long – vs. short term orientation. Those dimensions affect both, our cognition and our behaviour and tell us a lot about how we look for information, which things are more /less important, how we establish trust (and why) and much more.

We wrote a recommendation paper which included examples, do’s and don’ts and best practice examples and wrote a referral on how we should display the content modules.

Next we brought the Google analytics check and the recommendation paper in alignment with the company’s brief, containing their business goals and visions, their strengths and USPs, their existing communication concept and their requirements of what should be communicated better. This we used as a basis for our concept paper on how we should proceed in terms of digital content strategy.

After approval we started with mockups in form of Balsamiq wireframes and moved on with the visual design for the european landing page.

 

2/5 Culture research phase: comparing cultural differences of the requested countries.

overview

 

3/5 Analyzing the metrics of the existing site helped us figure out what to improve

Google Analytics Check

 

4/5 First rough sketch to discuss the concept with the client

first rough sketched Mockup of the new homepage

 

5/5 The new layout of the homepage

01_start

 

MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT

Diving into Google Analytics, which – at first glimpse – makes spreadsheets seem like fun.

 

MOST FUN

Diving into Google Analytics and seeing the huge potential if used as a resource for UX improvements!

 

 

medatixx – Marketing micro site

CLIENT

Brain Appeal GmbH
Brain Appeal, Internet Agency, Mannheim: TYPO3 & Frontend Development and Implementation. www.brain-appeal.com

WE DID

- Rough concept suggestion
- Visual design based on the suggested concept

LINK

www.der-charmante-westen.de

 

1/5 Detail of the CV section with the ‘Dr. Doxx’ – the mascot of the software provider

medatixx01_cv

 

ABOUT THE PROJECT

medatixx provides office management software for clinics, healthcare centers and doctors’ offices in Germany. Our client brain appeal asked us to design a microsite, which was based on a print marketing mailing the medatixx sales team had sent to potential and existing customers. The mailing was structured like a job application and resume and was sent to facilities, who were looking for staff.

The mailing – as most job resumes was very text and information heavy so we decided to spice it up with info graphics and turn it into a well structured web resume for better understanding and readability.

As the client had asked to apply the pattern of the print resume to the microsite and the deadline was lingering on the horizon there was no time to communicate our idea in an elaborate concept.
Instead we came up with first design ideas, which were directly approved by the client.
We then finalised the idea of the one-pager in a paper look and feel and equipped it with readable text elements, lists, typographically interesting headlines and an overall scannable content structure, including supporting graphics and icons.

 

2/5 The complete One Page design

medatixx_complete

 

3/5 Detail of the first section

medatixx01_start

 

4/5 Detail of the competence section

competences_detail

 

5/5 Detail of the reference/testimonial section

detail_referenzen

 

MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT

Translating a print mailing to the web medium within a very strict deadline, while also meeting our own demands to the project.

 

MOST FUN

The translation from print to web was quite fun as it made us aware of how different reading habits are within the two mediums, especially when taking a document like “the resume”, which is expected to have a certain shape and form.

 

 

Crytek – Arena of Fate forum

CLIENT

Crytek GmbH

WE DID

- Visual design
- Basic design specs and GUI
- Icon design

 

LINK

www.arenaoffate.com/forum

 

1/7 The Arena of Fate forum login page.

01_aof_login

 

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Crytek is one of the leading video game companies and they are famous for their Crysis series and their CryEngine game engine.
After the redesign of the Crysis community forum back in 2012 we were asked to give the forum for their brand new MOBA ‘Arena of Fate’ a visually appealing look. The look was to be similar to the game’s microsite. The forum’s functionality was predefined as it was based on the PhPBB platform.

First we tackled the grid and color palette and matched it to Arena of Fate’s mysterious and eerie fantasy aesthetic. We finalized our first layouts with the visual layouts for the forum and topic lists as well as detail pages.

After alterations and approval we finished up the visual page designs with the login page, which uses GFACE Login credentials and the user control panel. The process was finalized with the custom icon design of the default PhpBB Board Icons, in which we developed a visual language that could display the various message types and statuses.
All the other pages and sidebar components had to be developed on the basis of the visual layouts we handed over, so we had to be sure that all possible elements could be developed with the design given.

 

2/7 The forum list view.

01_aof_forumlist

 

3/7 Topic list view showing topic icons.

03_aof_topiclist

 

 

4/7 Topic detail view showing replies, quotes, possible text formatting and a reply form.

04_aof_topicdetail

 

 

5/7 The user control panel with tabbed navigation.

05_aof_ucp

 

 

6/7 A basic, small GUI specification for development.

06_basic-small-gui

 

 

7/7 The icon set

Icon set

 

MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT

Sometimes even subtle color changes affect a whole visual hierarchy and contrast as well as readability problems can occur. During the design process the color palette had to be adapted to changes in the game’s product design, which through our previously established hierarchy and good contrast contrast out of the window and meant that we had to re-think a few design choices to re-establish readability and clear visual structure.

 

MOST FUN

We like challenges, so figuring out the color/ hierarchy problem was both a challenge and fun!

 

 

Redesigning kino-zeit.de

CLIENT

kino-zeit.de – Das Portal für Arthouse-Film und Kino

WE DID

- Optimization of usability and user experience design in consideration of the client’s requirements of page impressions
- Interaction design and full set of wireframes in OmniGraffle optimized for desktop computers
- Art direction and visual design of selected pages and components.

 

LINK

http://kino-zeit.de

 

1/6 Suggestions for UX and IA optimization via sitemap and descriptions (not displayed).
kinozeitSitemap

ABOUT THE PROJECT

kino-zeit.de is one of the largest ressources for Arthouse cinema reviews. In the last ten years their database has grown to an extensive library of reviews (in German) on many Arthouse subjects, not only cinema releases.

The brief was to give the website a more polished look and to display the vast database in a way that users could easily find what was of interest while getting a glimpse the library’s size. After a review of the existing site and user patterns we began the work on the wireframes. As the framework for the relaunch was already set and was to be developed in-house we were able to have ongoing discussions with the developers to ensure that our ideas were manageable in the set time frame and framework.

We wanted to keep the art direction simple and clean and chose a limited color palette. Instead typographic variations in font type and size became the visual anchors. Repeating interactive icon groups allowed us to display the database without cluttering up the design.

 

 

2/6 Landing page design: ad banners had to be implemented in the design.
kinozeit_landingpage

 

3/6 Detail of one of many search forms (search for a running film title within a city).
kinozeit_kinoStaedteAZ

4/6 Detail of list of movies playing in a selected city.

kinozeit_kinoprogramm

 

5/6 Movie detail page and detail of 2nd level drop down menu.
kinozeit_filmdetail

 

6/Detail of result list when clicking on a tag.

kinozeit_ergebnisliste

 

MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT

Usability optimization is a hard goal to achieve if the product relies on page impressions and advertising revenue. kino-zeit.de is one of the best sources for Arthouse cinema reviews so balancing the need to make the expierence as smooth as possible (Arthouse movies are too important not to) and enabling the client to acheive their goals was quite challenging.

 

MOST FUN

We love Arthouse cinema almost as much as kino-zeit.de loves it! The whole team is very passionate about their work, which made the project extremely fun to work on.

 

 

 

Building a campaign for Honda V4

CLIENT

HAKUHODO Deutschland GmbH

WE DID

- Concept and digital strategy for a digital automotive campaign microsite
- Development of a communication concept for the campaign on multiple digital channels
- Concepts and idea definition for various mobile and facebook applications
- Milestone recommendation of campaign launch
- User experience design and user journeys
- Art direction and full visual design for the microsite

 

1/6 Graphic teaser on the HQ website that links to the campaign microsite.

hondav4_landinggraphic

ABOUT THE PROJECT

About the project
Hakuhodo asked us to support them with the development of the Honda V4 digital campaign. Honda V4 are a range of motorcycles that all have the use of a four-cylinder engine in common. Any similarities of the products stopped there. The goal of the digital campaign was to promote three V4 models, which each catered to a completely different type of riders.

We put our heads together and came up with a concepts that boiled the interests of the three target groups of motorcycle enthusiasts down to three aspects: experience, technology and models. We used these three aspects to explain the bikes, their distinctiveness and the adventures that could be experienced with them.

A sitemap of the microsite, communication milestones and the interaction plan of divers channels that gathered user generated content and provided content based on the user’s input were established. The microsite was to be embedded into the corporate site, which turned into the next challenge as the microsite navigation had to be distinct and simple to use.

The visual design was based on the V4 print campaign and expanded from there.

 

2/6 History page in the “Technic” channel. Each channel has it’s own color scheme.

hondav4_history

 

3/6 Finding motocycle tours that cater to the user’s preferences in the “Experience” channel.

hondav4_erleben

 

4/6 Overview of the model page.

hondav4_modelleOverview

 

5/6 Detail view of a model with an interactive image through which model features are made accessible via hot spots.

hondav4_modelleDetail

 

6/6 The planned content flow (from mobile apps to the microsote and media channels) of the campaign.

hondav4_contentflow

MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT

Telling an interesting story to three target groups on one page, with three main menu items.

 

MOST FUN

Managing to tell that interesting story and planning extensions of the story in the shape of mobile and Facebook applications.

 

 

 

 

Finding out what scientists need with bioRN

CLIENT

bioRN Cluster Management GmbH

 

WE DID

- Assessment workshop for target group, user goals and client goals
- Target group and business area research
- User experience design
- Axure wireframe of a scientist community, optimized for desktop computers
- Visual design.

 

LINK

www.biorn-network.org

 

1/6 Signup form in three variations (interactive Axure wireframe)

bioRN_Signup

 

ABOUT THE PROJECT

bioRN a cluster management that brings biotech companies and research facilities together for collaboration and projects asked for a solution that would help better communication and support their daily work.   The first meeting we had was an extended workshop in which we found out more about the cluster management’s work and the target group, which was completely new to us. We then discussed format ideas, which ranged from mobile applications to a community for scientists and biotech companies.   We then produced user stories and the wireframes as an interactive Axure project so the client could better imagine the final result. A simple and clean visual design supported the target group’s defined goals, which was to be able to have clearly arranged content tailored to their personal interests that could be accessed and used in a fast manner and did not take up too much time or require extended knowledge on social media user patterns.

 

2/6 The public view of the funding page teases the communities content.

bioRN_Funding

3/6 User dashboard, where he can find all content, relating to his profile or his saved searches.

bioRN_Dashboard

 

4/6 Advanced search form and result list  with tags.

bioRN_AdvancedSearch

 

5/6 Visual layout of the user dashboard.

 

bioRN_vLayoutEditMode

 

6/6 Grid used in visual layout.

bioRN_Gridh

MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT

The target group and area of business was virgin soil to us. “Cool functionalities and features” were of no interest but instead the project was centered around easy to solve and efficient tasks that catered to a target group of which some where accustomed to social networks and others had never seen one.

 

MOST FUN

When developing user stories we did a lot of research on science platforms and user patterns in science communities. This bit was most interesting and challenged us to really think about the user experience and interaction design.

 

 

Textilwirtschaft: helping the fashion industry find jobs.

CLIENT

dfv Mediengruppe

 

WE DID

- Analysis of the existing interaction design and problem definition
- Full feature wireframe in OmniGraffle for desktop computers
- Visual design of missing components, based on our previous re-design

 

LINK

jobs.textilwirtschaft.de

 

1/6 Visual design for job portal landing page.

textilwirtschaft_landingpage

 

ABOUT THE PROJECT

After we had successfully helped dfv Mediengruppe relaunch their online magazine textilwirtschaft.de we were asked to come back to finalize the project by relaunching their job section. We were commissioned to do the visual design optimized for desktop screens, based on our previous layouts. The online art direction was developed in cooperation with the in-house art department. The relaunch was to result in a more modern, fashion-magazine type look that made use of the existing color palette of the magazine.

 

 

2/6 Profile of a job seeker. All content can be added within an accordion.

textilwirtschaft_profil

 

3/6 OmniGraffle wireframe of the job overview page (descriptions not displayed).

textilwirtschaft_Stellenangebote

 

4/6 Visual design of a job detail (opens in new layer).

textilwirtschaft_StelleDetail

 

5/6  Job seeker landing page: logged in, profile not complete, not marked as “job seeking”.

textilwirtschaft_BewerberLanding

 

6/6 Young Professionals (user group in search of internships or design schools) landing page.

textilwirtschaft_YP

 

MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT

The dfv Mediengruppe has all development done in-house in an own CMS. As both magazine and job section were built to be able to grow it was most challenging to develop an user experience and visual design that can could be realized in a CMS we knew nothing about. In addition the communication of an interface design without having contact to the development department made us work meticulously on the styleguide & GUI specs.

 

MOST FUN

Before the relaunch textilwirtschaft.de was more of a side product of the print magazine. This changed with the relaunch and it was fun and challenging to bring a magazine into a new medium.

 

 

 

What our clients say

kino-zeit
crytek
dfv
brain-appeal

we are

geekettez_team
 

The Geekettez

Studio for interface and interaction design

The Geekettez is the collaboration of Jennifer Moss and Stefanie Kegel. The duo  – also known as missmoss and guerillagirl – teamed up in 2011 and has since been working as a design-pair in the fields of user experience design, interaction design and visual design.

When not working in our studio, Jennifer is a roller derby enthusiast and Stefanie is taking a part time university course in psychology.

From the blog

Adapting creative writing methods in digital advertising

Adapting creative writing methods in digital advertising

We recently worked on a project in which we were asked to create landing pages for marketing messages that would generate active users for a web service. The target group was a very diverse group of consumers. Frankly speaking, a typical advertisement gig.While working on the project we felt we were doing something different than normally but we could not put our finger on what exactly this was. We just knew there was a new flavor in town, an additional ingredient in our work process. Then we stumbled upon an article the other day about what designers type a can learn from designers type b and it hit us! The new spice we had tasted was a work process from a different creative area. Without knowing it at the time we were applying creative writing methods to our project.
 

UI Designers in Advertisement Land

As Interaction and UI designers we insist on the necessity of “the big picture”. In fact we are quite anal about it. This means that we never ever head into a project ready to pump out those visuals. We always start with taking a step back to have a good long look, even if you hit us with a pretty straight forward list of to dos and deliverables. We just can’t help ourselves. We do this because we know that 10 minutes of thinking can save time in the long run and prevent lots of things like the frustration of endless revisions or repetitive and boring tasks that should be done by robots not humans (sorry Rupert!).

So while we were stood back, admiring the view we noticed repetitive patterns within the deliverables. We decide to call these patterns communication items. The communication items varied in their form of expression, depending on which target group or use case was currently addressed but they were all the same item. They were bits of information that we could arrange in groups. These groups were the communicational goals.

Group arrangement for a running shoe (example)

Communication items Form of expression Communication goal
The product and the company Logo / brand name / product name Get the name and brand out there.
What we offer/what the product does - is light
- looks good
- gives support
- quality …
Explains what the product does.
Target group need - an athlete
- male/female runner
- street style fashionista …
+ a specific need
Defines the target group we are talking to and what their needs are.
Benefit of the product example for athlete:
- more comfort for long distance
- support in the right areas
- takes you further
Explains how the product can help with these needs.
CTA (Call to Action) Why waste time?
Buy it today and have it in time for your next training session.
The campaign goal.

After we had arranged the various forms of expression in the communication goal groups we put them into IA design context and found structural patterns for each communication item, which varied depending on target group and use case. Next up was the visual for each form of expression and then the job was finalized with a style guide. So the outcome of the project, the media we delivered was quite similar to what we deliver when we work on projects that are not within Advertisement Land. What differed however, was the process of the content arrangement. When building websites or apps we obviously have content groups as well but here we were dealing with an additional layer: different forms of expression, depending on different users.

The narrative structure and how to learn from creative writing

Imagine you are a creative writer and want to start work on your new story. Let us say the story is a fairy tale. You know exactly what type of story is meant when you read the words “fairy tale” because it is a genre of literature and each genre follows certain rules: the narrative structure. A classic fairy tale will always have certain characteristics. It will be an imaginary story without temporal and geographical limits in which a hero will triumph and his nemesis (the bad guy) will not. The many, many fairy tales we know show that you can get pretty far with the same narrative structure without compromising entertainment value. But what does this have to do with us?

When taking a step back at the beginning of the project we first noticed the communication items and their forms of expression. These were our characteristics of our narrative structure, the narrative structure of our genre “advertisement campaign”. As we were producing interactive media and not static books we were able to create different versions of our story, which expressed themselves in various wireframes options and GUI patterns for the different forms of expressions. A certain fairy tale might appeal only to a certain audience but when choosing to express the form differently the same narrative structure can work for many different audiences.The story of a young man, with superhuman powers, who fights and defeats an overpowering opponent can have a form of expression that can be found in an old saga as well as a form that can be found in a modern day sci-fi film series. Both stories share the same narrative structure but speak to a completely different target group.

dragonslayer

If it works for creative writing….

….why shouldn’t it work in digital advertising?

We are used to working with wireframes, GUI patterns and their libraries. We use these tools to order content and create consistent designs that enable an enjoyable experience without interruption. When speaking to a broad audience about the same product we can however take it a step further and individualize the experience to even fit niches within the target group or even wacky use cases. If the message is as brief as in an advertisement campaign boiling down the information to the bear minimum, to the communication goal of a communication item will be well invested time.

This is especially helpful if there will be a high demand on output of the same or similar media. In our project this did not only benefit the IA and UI designers but also the copywriters and marketing managers as well as the communication strategists. The message was clear and everyone knew what the the forms of expressions had to pay into.

The most important lesson we learnt during this whole experience and reflection is however, that we as designers can not only learn from other designers but also from any form of creative production. Even if the creative field seems to have a completely different output there might be work processes in there somewhere that we as UI designers can also benefit from. So we will be keeping our eyes open and who knows, maybe our first question in our next project will be “What would Alvin Ailey do?“.

photo credit:
Alice: mermaid99 via photopin cc
Fight with the dragon: commons.wikimedia.org
Luke and Darth Vader: www.flickr.com/photos/jdhancock/
Can we overcome Adobetron?

Can we overcome Adobetron?

Raise your hand if you are using an Adobe product.
Raise your hand if you are satisfied with that product.
Hmmm, less hands up the second time around. We felt the same way.

Design means Strategy. Deal with it.

Or: Why Designers have to think strategical.

The purpose of this blog post is simple: We want to write a little bit more about things that we have learned, our process and yes –  even about some mistakes we have made since we teamed up and founded our little design studio back in 2011 to share it with our fellow designers and our clients, because ‘design’ is often misunderstood and it often got this mysterious, ambiguous character – like ‘please make things look pretty’. [...]

“Portfolio of the month” in PAGE magazine

“Portfolio of the month” in PAGE magazine

Germany’s leading design magazine asked us to contribute to this month’s issue. We were offered to showcase our work in the portfolio of the month section and felt honored to do so.

[...]

Ready or not: No UI vom Verschwinden des Graphical User Interfaces

Ready or not: No UI vom Verschwinden des Graphical User Interfaces

Anything, anytime, anywhere?

‘In the twenty-first century the technology revolution will move into the everyday, the small and the invisible.’ (Mark D. Weiser, XEROX)

Diese Woche waren wir auf dem Webmontag in Mannheim eingeladen, wo wir eine kurze Einführung in das sehr spannende Thema ‘ambient Technology’ , ‘smart Devices’ oder in unserem Falle vereinfacht gesagt das ‘Internet der Dinge’ (Internet of Things, kurz: IoT) gaben. Den Vortrag hatten wir etwas abgespeckter schon auf dem Usability Kongress 2013 in Frankfurt gehalten.

[...]

Pair Design and Why You Need It – Chris Noessel auf der Interaction14

Oh yes! Das Video von der diesjährigen Interaction 2014 kommt uns gerade recht – genau mit dem Hintergedanken des ‘Pair Designs’ haben wir uns als Geekettez-UX Team zusammengetan.

Coopers’ Chris Noessel über Pair Design und warum es besser ist, Designtasks als Team anzugehen, statt alleine vor sich hinzugrübeln. Enjoy!

[...]

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Email: hello at thegeekettez.com

Berlin: 0171.12 45 07 3
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