Liip Blog Kirby Mon, 19 Aug 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Latest articles from the Liip Blog en A recipe for "smart" applications Mon, 19 Aug 2019 00:00:00 +0200 While creating applications that heavily rely on data, I’ve gotten excited about many projects which soon ended up in the graveyard of good ideas.

Have you experienced this chicken-and-egg situation: no one wants to give you money to develop something until they know how good it will be, but you can’t promise anything before experimenting with the data first?

Smart Application Canvas

To get out of this impasse fast, Liip's Data team has developed a pragmatic "recipe" for data-intensive applications: the Smart Application Canvas.

It's simple and takes around 5 minutes: whenever we get started on a project idea, we ask the four questions below. And then we ask them again at every iteration to see if the answers have changed in the meantime.

It doesn't matter which of the four you start with - the trick is to have at least a rough answer to all four questions before investing more time and energy into an idea (for example, building a prototype, pitching a project proposal, etc). As long as one of these "ingredients" remain entirely blank, the project has a slim chance of succeeding.

>> Download this template as a PDF: template_data-application-idea_v1-0

Released under a "Creative Commons" license (Attribution / ShareAlike). This means that you're free to use and change it, provided you mention and share any modified version under the same terms.

USE - Who are the users? What job does it do well for them?

Are you looking for a way to attract more new users, keep the current ones happy, or solve an annoying issue with an existing service? Do you want to make employees' life easier or to provide better public services for citizens?

Who to ask: Designers, product managers, line managers, frontline staff who are always in contact with users

Example: Customers can get immediate help 24/7 through a chatbot on our Facebook page.

Why: Avoid building something that nobody wants

BUSINESS CASE - Who might want to pay for this? How do they benefit in return?

Should the application help a person or an organization to save money, save time, or to generate more income? Should it help them to achieve something that isn't simply isn't possible with the current alternatives? Even with intangible benefits like happiness or social status, it's worth thinking of how much the current alternatives cost: this will give you an idea of how much you can afford to invest in the development of the application.

Who to ask: Businesspeople, salespeople, executives who have a bird's eye view of the most pressing concerns in their organization

Example: Online retailer XYZ can win more return customers thanks to a better after-sales service.

Why: Get someone to invest or give you a budget. The business benefits of innovative technology aren’t straightforward at first. Do you remember the time when smartphones were new and everyone thought they needed a native app just “because it’s the future”? By now it’s much easier to say whether an app is worth the cost, but what about a chatbot?

TECHNOLOGY - What main hardware / software are necessary to get the job done?

What is possible with current technology and with how much effort? Or how can a new technology be applied in a "real-world" application? The key part of the question here is "to get the job done". When innovative technologies come along, it's tempting to try to solve too many problems at once: if there are several possible use cases, pick one. You can always change it later if you see that it doesn't work.

Who to ask: Software engineers, data scientists, hardware engineers if applicable

Example: Facebook page, chatbot framework, natural language processing (NLP), search

Why: Avoid a very costly, never-ending implementation

DATA - What numbers, text, images are necessary for it to work?

Does your organization have a lot of great data but doesn't know what to do with it? What kind of data should you start collecting? Which external data sources can you use (e.g. open data)? Where is the data saved and in which format (e.g. in a database, in PDF files, in emails, ...)?

Who to ask: People who work with the data on a daily basis (e.g. Customer Care team), database specialist, data scientist

Example: Collection of past customer questions and matching support staff answers (e.g. in emails or in an issue tracking system)

Why: What makes software "smart" is data, rather than “only” predefined rules. There might be no / not enough data, its quality might not be sufficient, or it might be difficult to access because of security or technical issues. This makes the outcome of development unpredictable. Whether our data is good enough, we can only learn by trial-and-error.


Here are a few examples of early-stage ideas by participants of the Open Data Forum 2019. The goal was to come up with applications that make use of open data.

Some canvases already carry notes on the biggest risks the idea faces, so that this can be worked on as a next step.


The following were sources of inspiration:

  • Lean Canvas by Ash Maurya
  • Business Model Canvas by Strategyzer AG
  • Machine Learning Canvas by Louis Dorard
  • Migros's "Bananita" roulade cake enjoyed on a particularly creative coffee break
  • Our clients and colleagues in the past year with whom we've tested and refined our way of working

We're constantly working on improving our methods and would love to hear about your experience with the Smart Application Canvas. Drop us a line at

How to nail your on-page SEO: A step-by-step guide Mon, 19 Aug 2019 00:00:00 +0200 On-page SEO is much more than title tags, meta descriptions and valuable content. Here is my actionable guide for digital marketers. I am an SEO Specialist and teamed up with one of my colleagues – a Content Marketing Specialist – for this article. Have fun reading it.

On-page SEO is about creating relevant signals to let search engines know what your page is about. Which improves the website’s ranking in search results.

There are no IT skills needed to implement on-page recommendations as most CMS have an extension for it. For example, if you use WordPress, download the Yoast SEO plugin, or add the Metatag module to Drupal.

On-Page SEO: Hypothetical case study

How to create those relevant signals? Let’s take the example of a florist. StarFlo is located in Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland. StarFlo has a website in three languages (French, German and English). The flower shop decided to create a specific product page for wedding, in English. A product page is designed to provide information to users about a product and/or a service.

Find relevant keywords with the right search intent

The first step is to define keywords with the highest potential. The goal is to select words, which help to increase the ranking of the wedding product page.
Here are some examples of keywords (non-exhaustive list):

  • “wedding flowers lausanne”
  • “wedding flowers zurich”
  • “wedding table decorations”
  • “wedding bouquet”
  • “rose bouquet bridal”
  • “winter wedding flowers”
  • “wedding floral packages”
  • “orchid wedding bouquet”
  • “wedding flowers shop”

We will take the monthly volume of English keywords in Switzerland into consideration, because we are focusing on a flower shop located in Lausanne and Zurich whose product page is in English.

According to the image below, “wedding table decorations” and “wedding bouquet” have a higher volume (column Search) and a low difficulty score (column KD). Therefore, it could probably make sense to use those keywords. However, you need to investigate further.

If you check Google search results for the keyword “wedding table decorations”, you see a lot of images coming from Pinterest. People who are looking for “wedding table decorations” are looking for ideas and inspiration. As a result, “Wedding table decoration” might be a great blog post topic. As FloStar wants to create a product page, we suggest using “wedding flower shop” as a primary keyword, even if this keyword has a lower volume than “wedding table decorations”. The intent of the people searching “wedding flowers shop” is to buy wedding flowers. The intent of the new product page of FloStar is to sell wedding flowers. Therefore the goal is to align both the intent of the target public and the intent of the product page with this keyword.
Once you have the keywords, optimize the content of the page

On-page SEO structural elements

Title tags, H1, H2, and images are part of the on-page structural elements that communicate with search engines

Title tag best practices: clear and easy to understand

The title tag, is the page title and must contain the keyword in less than 60 characters (600 pixels). Ideally, the title tag is unambiguous and easy to understand. You define the title tag individually for each page.

For example:

Wedding flowers shop in Zurich & Lausanne | StarFlo

You do not need to end your title tag with your brand name. However, it helps to build awareness, even without raising the volume of clicks.

Meta description best practices: a short description with a call to action

The meta description describes the content of a page and appears in the search results. The purpose of the meta description is to help the user choose the right page among the results in Google Search. It must be clear, short and engaging. You have 160 characters at your disposal.

We recommend finishing your meta description with a clear call-to-action. Use a verb to describe what you want your target audience to do.

For example:

StarFlo is a flower shop located in Lausanne & Zurich which designs traditional & modern wedding flower arrangements. See our unique wedding creations.

SEO URL’s best practices

The URL is the address of your website. Its name describes both the content of the page and encompasses the page in the overall site map. The URL should contain the keyword and be short.
The structure of the URL is usually governed by rules in the CMS you are using.
Examples for StarFlo landing page about wedding flowers:

Use secondary keywords to reinforce the semantic of your page

Startflow wants to be listed top for “wedding flower shop” and “Lausanne”. You can help this page improve its ranking by also using secondary keywords. Secondary keywords are keywords that relate to your primary keyword.

Ask yourself: what questions are your target audience looking to answer by searching for these keywords? What valuable information can you provide to help them?
Your text content must offer added value for your target audience. To ensure this, create a list of topics. In the case of StarFLo, you can include secondary keywords such as “wedding bouquet” and “wedding table decorations”. It may seem odd that the keyword used as the primary keyword has a lower volume than the secondary keywords, but it makes sense in this context. Because these secondary keywords reinforce the semantic of the page.

In the “wedding bouquet” section, you can give some examples of “Bridesmaid bouquets”, “Bridal bouquets” and “Maid of Honor bouquets”, as well as other services or products related to the proposed bouquets.

SEO H1 & H2 tags best practices: structure the text with several titles

A structured text with titles and subtitles is easier to read. Furthermore, titles support your organic referencing as they are considered strong signals by search engines. Start by defining your titles H1 and H2. Use only one H1. Your titles should be clear and descriptive. Avoid generic or thematic titles.

Here is an example:

  • H1: StarFlo, wedding flower shop specialized in nuptial floral design in Lausanne, Zurich & the surrounding area
  • H2: Outstanding wedding table decorations created by our wedding flower specialist in Lausanne & Zurich
  • H2: Wedding bouquet for the bride in Lausanne & Zurich
  • H2: Best seasonal flowers for your wedding

On-page content best practices: Write a text longer than 300 words

Keep in mind these three key points when you write your text:

  • Anything under 300 words is considered thin content.
  • Make sure that your primary keyword is part of the first 100 words in your text.
  • Structure your text with titles and subtitles to help your readers. Moreover, as said above H1 & H2 are strong signals

Images & videos best practices: Define file names, alt-texts and captions

Search engines don’t scan the content of a video or an image (yet). Search engines scan the content of file names, alt-texts and captions only.
Define a meaningful alt-text for each image and video. The alt-text should include your keyword in the file name. Google can then grasp what the image shows. Remember that you wish the website to load fast, so you may compress images.

SEO Internal linking best practices: create a thematic universe within your website using internal links

When writing your text, try to create links to other pages on your website. You can add links in the text or in teasers to race attention on more (or related) topics.

From a content point of view, when you link pages of your own website, you add value to your target audience as their attention is drawn to other pages of interest. Furthermore, the audience may stay longer on your website. Moreover, creating links gives the search engine a better understanding of the website and creates a thematic universe. Topics within such a universe will be preferred by search engines. Thematic universes help Google determine the importance of a page.

From an SEO point of view, internal linking is very important. Because it implies a transfer of authority between pages. A website with high domain authority will appear higher in the search engine results. Usually, homepages have the highest authority. In the case of StarFLo, you could add a hyperlink that connects the homepage to the wedding page. We also recommend adding hyperlinks between pages. For instance, you are writing about winter wedding flowers on your wedding page, and you have a dedicated page about seasonal bouquets. You could add a hyperlink from the wedding page to the seasonal flower page.

The result: the homepage will transfer the authority to the wedding page and the wedding page to the seasonal flower page. For each transfer of authority, there will be a slight dumping factor. This means that if a page has an authority of 10 when it links to another page, the authority transferred will be for example 8.5.

Outbound links Best practices: add relevant content

Link your content to external sources, when it makes sense. For example, StartFlo provided the floral decorations for a wedding in the Lausanne Cathedral. You can add a link to the website of Lausanne’s Cathedral while mentioning.

Bonus: write SEO-optimized blog posts with strong keywords

After publishing your product page, create more entry points to your website. For example, you can write blog posts about your main subject using powerful keywords.

Answer the needs of your readers

When we did the keyword research for StarFlo, we identified a list of topics connected to the main topic. As a reminder, when we were looking at wedding flowers, we discovered that people were very interested in wedding table decorations. We also noticed that people looked for different kinds of bouquets (types of flowers, etc.). You could, for instance, create a page about winter wedding flowers and use these related keywords on it. This strategy helps to define blog post topics.

On the winter wedding flowers page, you could describe the local flowers available in the winter months, the flowers that go best together, etc.

In this case, each of your pages should focus on a different keyword. If two pages are optimized for the same keyword, they compete with each other.

Prioritize your writing according to your business

Once you have a list of topics, it’s good practice not to start writing all at once. We recommend creating an editorial plan. Be honest with yourself: how many hours per week can you dedicate to writing? How long do you need to write a 500-word article? How long do you need to find or create suitable images?

Start with the strongest keywords and the topic with the highest priority for your business.

Here is an example of prioritization:

  • “Wedding table decoration”
  • “Wedding bouquet”
  • “Winter wedding flowers”
  • “Winter wedding floral packages”

If you start writing in September and the branding guidelines of your shop include ‘local’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘proximity’. You will, therefore, write about “Winter wedding flowers” first.

You decide to focus on:

  • “Winter wedding flowers”
  • “Winter wedding floral packages”

As a wrap-up, we prepared the checklist below for you.


  • Main keyword is defined
  • Topic brings value to the target public
  • Meta Description and Title Page are written and contain the keyword
  • URL contains the keyword
  • H1 contains the keyword, at the beginning, if possible
  • Text contains a keyword density of 3%
  • Introduction and last paragraph have a particularly high keyword density
  • File names of photos and videos contain the keyword
  • Alt-Text of photos and videos contain the keyword
  • Photo captions contain the keyword
  • Page contains links to other pages on the site
  • Page contains links to valuable external resources

What’s next

On-page SEO is an important part of SEO. However, it’s not the only aspect. Technical SEO has also a tremendous impact. We work on a hands-on blog post about technical SEO. Reach out to us if you wish to be notified when our guide will be ready! Moreover, don’t miss our next SEO/ content meet-up taking place on the 26th of September. We are going to explain how to perform a keyword research. Contact our content expert if you want to be part of the meet up.

If you want to have a personalized workshop about on-page SEO or just want to increase your ranking on Google contact our SEO team:
for English, German and French.

Cultiver l'Agilité dans votre organisation Tue, 13 Aug 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Un retour au bon sens

Nous commençons l'accompagnement de nos clients par une journée de formation interactive. Nous présentons les idées et les valeurs qui constituent les bases d'un fonctionnement en Agilité. Lors du premier tour de table, les participants expriment ce qui les amène, ainsi que leurs propres objectifs d'apprentissage. Je me souviens des mots qu'une cheffe de projet expérimentée a partagé à cette occasion:

Il paraît que le bon sens ça s'appelle désormais Agilité, alors je suis venue me mettre au goût du jour.

Elle n'a pas tort. Les pratiques Agiles sont issues du sens commun. Alors, pourquoi faut-il les réapprendre et les nourrir régulièrement?

Des pratiques simples, s’inscrivant dans la durée

Une des métaphores les plus adaptées est celle du jardinage. Seul un verger entretenu un petit peu tous les jours donnera ses fruits malgré les variations du climat, l'appétit des insectes et la persistance des mauvaises herbes. Arroser le sol et arracher les plantes nuisibles, ce n’est pas compliqué. Le plus dur est de se discipliner à le faire de manière quotidienne. Faute de quoi, les circonstances et forces extérieures reprendront le dessus et dicteront la suite des évènements.

Dans le cas d'une équipe Agile, les pratiques sont elles aussi très simples et très fructueuses. Par exemple:

  • Réserver un quart d'heure tous les jours pour se coordonner – de vive voix – autour d'un but clairement exprimé ;
  • Visualiser le travail d'une façon compréhensible par tous ;
  • Faire le point de temps en temps pour sortir la tête du guidon et se demander ensemble ce qui marche et ce qui pourrait être amélioré.

L'Agilité, c'est avant tout une poignée de valeurs fondamentales telles que la transparence, la collaboration, la confiance, l'amélioration continue, l'apprentissage par l'expérience. Ces valeurs s'incarnent dans des rôles et des outils différents suivant l'approche que l'on choisit.

Les défis du "monde réel"

Nous avons tous fait l'expérience d'un projet mis à mal par la pression du marché, des investisseurs, ou celle exercée par la hiérarchie. L'état d'urgence est alors déclaré. Et l'on oublie notre bon sens. Celui qui soigne nos relations, la qualité de notre travail et de notre santé en général. Il y a alors des victimes: soit les collaborateurs, soit le projet, soit l'entreprise elle-même. Parfois les trois en même temps.

Des rôles clairs et précis

C'est pour cette raison que Scrum – une des variantes les plus connues de l'Agilité – créé un rôle dédié à "veiller au grain" dans une équipe, sur le long terme. C'est le "Scrum Master". Le Scrum Master est un leader au service du groupe. Dans mon rôle de Scrum Master, performance et épanouissement ne sont pas antinomiques mais forment un seul et même état de grâce. Je cherche à y amener mon équipe et l'y préserver.

Nous pratiquons Scrum chez Liip depuis 2009. Cette approche nous a permis de maximiser la valeur délivrée à nos clients, tout en construisant des équipes stables et soudées.

Une organisation rigoureuse et souple à la fois

Avec Scrum, nous ne travaillons pas "contre" la hiérarchie, le marché, ou les investisseurs. Ils sont au contraire intégrés au processus. Il existe en tout temps un moyen de prendre en compte leurs signaux. Et ce, tout en conservant un cap stable pendant un laps de temps donné. Le cadre de travail Scrum permet à toute partie prenante d'écrire dans le "Backlog" – un document vivant qui recense tous les besoins et idées liés au projet.

Par contre, une et une seule personne a l'autorité de décider de l'ordre des priorités dans ce que l'équipe devra réaliser. Cette personne est le "Product Owner". Ce rôle est dédié à l'écoute permanente de tout ce qui constitue l'environnement du projet. Au coeur de l'Agilité se situe la notion de confiance. L'organisation fait confiance au Product Owner pour se porter garant de la vision du produit.

Un processus par itérations

La notion d'itération est fondamentale dans la pratique de Scrum. Nous ne cherchons pas à tout spécifier à l'avance dans un projet. Ce qui est d’ailleurs peine perdue dans un environnement complexe et changeant. L'attention de l'équipe est concentrée sur le "plus petit prochain pas" qui permettra de récolter des retours du marché ou des utilisateurs. On parle d'incrément – typiquement réalisé en une à quatre semaines. Ainsi, à intervalles réguliers, il est possible de tester la solution développée. C’est l’occasion de la confronter au monde réel et de prendre la meilleure décision possible sur ce qu'il faut construire ensuite pour apporter le plus de valeur.

L'équipe qui développe le produit a largement son mot à dire car c'est elle qui émet les prévisions de ce qu'elle pense délivrer lors de l'itération à venir. Ce qui génère très souvent des discussions créatives avec le Product Owner. Plutôt que de mettre l'équipe sous pression afin de délivrer un périmètre défini à l'avance et immuable, nous discutons ensemble de la façon de délivrer la plus grande valeur business avec le temps disponible.

Le premier pas

Tous ces principes et ces rôles semblent tenir de rêveries un brin naïves, jusqu'à ce que l'on en fasse l'expérience. Cela a été mon cas quand j'ai rejoint Liip. L'Agilité, ça marche. C'est un super-pouvoir pour les équipes et pour les projets. Essayer, c'est l'adopter. Nous nous rendons volontiers dans vos locaux pour une séance d'introduction. Ou passez simplement boire un café! Ce sera avec plaisir que nous imaginerons ensemble le premier pas pour votre organisation.

How I succeeded in achieving my professional Scrum Product Owner Certificate in 3 months Tue, 30 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Why a Scrum Product Owner certification ?

The first step, I would say, to get certified is to be ready to dedicate time for the preparation and training, and to commit to it. This wasn’t a problem for me as I was highly motivated in improving my skills and knowledge about Scrum. And here is why.

I worked more than 10 years in international corporations, using traditional models for product development. And I reached the point where I sensed that something wasn’t quite right.

As part of the product development team, we were asked to deliver a set of features based on specifications defined at the beginning of a project. All the specifications had to be delivered for a mid- to long term deadline. No need to say that it wasn’t possible to modify them. The sign off could only be possible if the defined specifications were delivered. I often experienced a big rush at the end of the project because nor the scope nor the deadline could be changed. The team members suffered, almost burning out sometimes.

During the latest projects I was working on, feedback from end-users was given during the testing phase. It was already too late though. End-users requested features that were not part of the specifications defined at first. As the project team, we were told that: “end-users can make an enhancement request later on, after the Go-live”. Like my former colleagues, I had this sad feeling. We worked really hard on delivering these features. But we weren’t proud of them as end-users were complaining.

There has to be something better. A way where users needs are at the core of the product. A way where inputs from the team members really count. That’s when I came across the Scrum Guide. It became clear to me that I wanted to be part of this. That I wanted to be part of a Scrum team.

Referring to my experience and skills, Product Owner was the role appealing to me. In order to do so, I set myself two objectives: gaining experience and getting certified.

Collaboration with Liipers

I had the chance to join Liip for a three-months training in POing. Witnessing practical POing and being immersed in the Scrum philosophy was part of the deal. I was on-boarded on different projects too, working with different teams and clients. This helped me integrate how the Scrum Guide should be applied in practice. I got a deeper understanding of the Scrum events, the Scrum artifacts as well as the roles of the Scrum Master, the Product Owner and the development team.

Yes, self-organized teams works ! I was strongly motivated by this environment where all team members are equally responsible for the success or failure of the product. It really makes everyone commit to the work to be done, and brings up new ideas and solutions.

What about the Product Owner ?

This role is the one which always keeps in mind the end-user, not only for the team but also for the client. In my opinion, one of its biggest challenges is to convince the team and the client that real end-users feedback is a must. The PO is the one prioritizing the features to be developed, expressing user stories in the most intuitive manner and identifying the needs of the client and end-users.

I believe that as a Product Owner you need to be empathic, synthetic, a good listener and a good communicator.

During my training, I was inspired and empowered by my fellow PO colleagues. I loved their reactivity and the way they reorganized work to seize each business opportunity. The user needs are evolving and as the Scrum team we have to adapt our developpements to them. The Scrum framework allows us to do so.

Sprint after sprint, I was amazed how the product was developed, refined and improved to perfectly meet the evolving user needs.

Becoming a Product Owner myself was definitely the right choice for me.

Training with Léo – a certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach

At Liip, I had the chance to meet Léo – a Scrum Master and Agile coach. He guided me through the different steps, advising me to several really interesting readings such as Scrum, A Smart Travel Companion by Gunther Verheyen. Thanks to his coaching, I gained a deeper understanding of Scrum’s essence. He challenged me and made me think about Scrum principles and why Scrum has to be fully implemented – not just bits and bites of this amazing framework.

Getting certified, what’s next ?

Beginning of July I felt ready for the Scrum Certification. And I nailed it!

Actually, I applied the Scrum principles to my own training. The vision I have for my product is “to become an efficient Product Owner.” My first iteration was “to understand the role of a Scrum Product Owner”. And the certification was the test. I gave myself three weeks to reach that goal (sprint goal set, sprint duration set, commitment of the team, self-organization). On the other hand, I was open to faillure. As we never fail, but only learn.

This first iteration was a team effort too. I even had a Scrum Master – you know Léo – on my team ;-). I improved my knowledge on my colleagues’ experience (empiricism). My minimum viable product evolved from “to understand the role of a Scrum Product Owner” to “being a certified Product Owner”.

I am proud to announce that my first product works ! And I’m already working on the next improved iteration. So that my (own) product fits the market needs.

I feel fully armed to embrasse a new work life as a Scrum Product Owner. I want to help people – used to work with traditional models – evolving to the use of the Scrum framework.

Last but not least, I will carry on learning and adapting fast. I will be Agile and help others to achieve this goal as well.

Cognitive UXD: Cognition Fri, 26 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Based on my overview blog post Cognitive User Experience Design - Where Psychology meets UX Design I give you a deeper insight into cognition and describe its role in design based on the Cognitive Load Theory. It's about how we consume information, how we think, how we learn or solve problems, and the strategies we use to make decisions.

In cognitive psychology, cognitive load is the total amount of mental effort that is used in the working memory. Although we have a huge brain capacity, the problem is that its capacity is limited. This approach is known as the Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller & Chandler).
Accordingly, a high cognitive load leads to a higher mental performance in the brain. If several high demanding processing things are going on at the same time, this becomes even worse. More time and effort is needed to complete a task. This leads us to the first question.

What happens if the cognitive load is too high?

As already mentioned, our brain has only a limited amount of mental power. If the cognitive load is too high, the user no longer reads the content of a website. He only scans it.
Compared to adults, this performance is much lower in children. For example, the normal attention span for 8-year-olds is about 20 minutes, for 13-year-olds about 30 minutes (Wöstmann et al., 2015). This should be taken into account when conducting an interview or a test with children.

How can a UX Designer support the user?

User support can be achieved by reviewing and optimizing each step. Here are some starting points that can help:

  • Show the user an overview of the entire setup and in which step he is at any time
  • Provide the information that the entire process or each individual step is beneficial to the user and worth the user's time
  • Give clear instructions on what to do next
  • Check whether certain information/steps are really necessary and delete everything that is not important
  • Provide the information in a simple and understandable way

In order to make these approaches more concrete and thus more tangible and to reduce the cognitive overload of the users, a UX designer can apply different strategies. I will give a short overview of the most important ones and add a short example or description:

KISS (Keep It Stupid Simple)

  • Avoid unnecessary elements, less is more
  • Reduce the number of complicated graphics

Use different techniques

  • Provide information in different ways; these can be verbal, visual and/ or auditory techniques

Provide “bite sized” information

  • Break the content into smaller pieces

Remove unnecessary content

  • Reduce repetitions by proofing if a text is really required or whether a picture fulfills the same task

Reduce choices

  • Too many choices increase the cognitive load, especially for forms, dropdowns and navigation

Place words close to the corresponding graphics

  • Long distances force the user to scan the screen

Build on existing mental models

  • Use labels and layouts that users already know from other websites

Taking these recommendations into account when creating designs reduces the amount of brain capacity. This has a direct impact on how easily the user finds content or performs tasks.
With this in mind: Happy designing!

Holacracy at Swiss Post – a look back at assisting the Sales Support team Thu, 25 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 At the end of the kick-off meeting in January 2019, Lucien Ecoffey – the then Head of French- and Italian-speaking Switzerland’s PostLogistics Sales Support body – signed the Holacracy® Constitution. He gave up his hierarchical authority and transferred it to the process that would guide his entire team.

Six months after this transformation began, the former manager and now Lead Link of the PostLogistics Sales Support circle takes a look back at the successful transition.

How did this transition project to Holacracy® happen?

Lucien Ecoffey: We had an internal reorganisation in 2017. At this point, we established a service unit providing back-office services to various divisions of Swiss Post. This change affected how we worked. We needed a more flexible structure to meet the various demands of our different stakeholders. In addition, the members of my team expected more autonomy, more responsibility and less monitoring.

Why did you choose Holacracy®?

For three reasons:

  1. I was convinced that Holacracy® represents democracy applied directly to a company.
  2. The members of my team wanted to play a bigger role in decision-making.
  3. Another team within Swiss Post had already successfully implemented Holacracy®.

The team voted, and Holacracy® was the unanimous choice.

The Constitution and the clear tools and processes enable us to oversee the quality of management. Holacracy® also enjoys a high level of credibility. In addition, there are various pieces of associated software available, such as Holaspirit.

Organising work by roles rather than sets of specifications was an attractive prospect for all team members. These roles develop in line with the changes we face, something that is perfect for our need for flexibility. The members also appreciate that the autority is given by a set of rules and not by a single person any more.

Lucien – the team’s former manager – transferred his authority over to the Holacracy® Constitution.

What would you say are the benefits of implementing Holacracy®?

Each member of the team is more deeply involved, in particular at tactical and governance sessions. Our meetings have become increasingly efficient. All problems are presented at the meeting and tackled immediately: decisions are taken, and everyone is involved. This new decision-making process also means that I no longer have to decide everything, and it has given me more respect for my colleagues’ opinions.

We are still at the learning stage. Everyone requires an adjustment period to fully incorporate the new responsibilities of a role into their work and learn how to manage the authority that comes from this. Clarifying these responsibilities and grouping these within specific roles has already been of great benefit. This enables everyone involved to examine their activities and optimise their tasks. Team members’ ability to identify with their roles is also a key benefit of this transition.

Holacracy® has another benefit, namely transparency. For example, we can integrate a new member of staff into the team easiler and faster. Processes, responsibilities and tasks are clear and transparent.

What did you think of Liip's coaching?

Your support – four days spread across six months – completely met our expectations. Laurent and Jonas did outstanding work.

The kick-off was intense but absolutely necessary, and it gave the team a new way of looking at hierarchy. I remember the rather formal moment when I transferred my authority over to the Constitution. I also enjoyed working on our circle's purpose and creating the first roles.

During this kick-off, you gave us the tools that would enable us to work with Holacracy®. The coaching showed us that we could view authority from a different angle. It took us out of our comfort zone and enabled us to optimise the roles within our team.

You have been working with Holacracy® since the beginning of the year. What are your plans for the future?

Our work with Holacracy® is only just beginning. It is great to see that it really works. The next step is to incorporate the idea of roles and people being separate from each other. Current roles will be developed (some will be wound up and others created) to bring them closer to our daily work. We still need to learn how to handle some tools to enable this structure to become a source of fulfilment, for each employees personal benefit.

The transition taking place within our team has piqued the company’s interest and been well viewed. Numerous other teams are beginning a similar process.

I think this is fantastic, and hope that Swiss Post as a whole will move in the same direction.
I would therefore be delighted if Liip comes back to see the progress we have made, coach us on the aspects we need to improve, and share our experiences.

]]> website for the canton of St. Gallen shows off its new look Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Everything in one place, more streamlined and easier to understand

The canton of St. Gallen’s new web presence has been live since the end of April. Having an attractive design suitable for all devices, providing a quick and intuitive navigation system and search function, and considering the needs of a wide variety of users were all focal points of the redesign. The new website presents around 50 of the canton’s departments and authorities. The number of pages was reduced from 24,000 to 12,000, and some of the content is already available in simpler language.

Focus on end users

The canton wanted a new, modern website, and the platform needed to be reworked in terms of both design and content. The aim was to create a user-friendly online presence with an easy-to-use, intelligent concept and a responsive design.
The search function is a now a key element, and was therefore also a part of the redesign that particularly wanted to focus on. An all-encompassing search function, with the majority of pages and authorities available to users in one place, simplifies the content from the user’s perspective.

Flexible and close collaboration as the key to success

The concept and design were provided by Liip in St. Gallen. This proximity, with their offices just a five-minute walk apart, enabled close collaboration between the canton and the web and mobile app agency. The company Online Consulting, responsible for the technical implementation of the platform, was also present at the workshops right from the very beginning, enabling us to continually ensure that the concept and design were practicable.
The high level of motivation from all involved (in particular the 300 people from the canton of St. Gallen) made the process very enjoyable and created the feeling of one large team working together to (successfully) achieve a major goal.

Simple navigation despite a complex organisational structure

The biggest challenge was to supply users with content in a clear and efficient way across all web pages. Whether looking for school holiday dates, applying for a learner driver’s licence, or planning an extension as a homeowner, all visitors should be able to find what they need quickly and easily. Liip developed a usability approach for this purpose, using a full-screen overlay to make the entire content structure visible. This enables visitors to directly access a variety of content quickly, easily and at any time.

Content guidelines, search engine optimisation and accessibility

To ensure that all texts were appealing to readers and easy to understand, rather than being written in ‘officialese’, Liip drew up content guidelines and ran training sessions. Making the over 270 editors aware of the importance of these texts was vital for the project’s success.
Another challenge was the complexity and retrievability of the online content. The content had to be accessible to search engines. Liip drew up a set of rules for to enable it to optimise all of its content for search machines and ensure that it was accessible. Liip used these clearly comprehensible guidelines to help the team meet this challenge.

Open over closed

The Liip principle of ‘open over closed’ sums up the project very well. All content on the new website is accessible, and there was also a focus on open communication and having a shared objective throughout the entire course of the project.

*Being able to get an overview of the topics, information and services detailed on the canton of St. Gallen's website and then consolidating and reorganising this content was a huge task. Liip’s concept has ensured that all citizens can quickly find what they are looking for at
Clemens Nef, Canton of St. Gallen Project Manager

SDS 2019: Business + Machine Learning = ❤️ Mon, 15 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 The big over-arching theme of the conference was human-machine collaboration: How can the results of an AI system be best communicated to its users. This touches topics like the perception, trust, and ethics of such AI systems. I was happy to see these questions at the core of the conference since they have been at our heart too for almost two years: See

In comparison to the last years, I had the impression that more and more corporations are also hooking up with the formerly mostly academic data-science community. That is an impression I had based on the number of booths and talks at the conference.


Ken Hughes gave an amazingly well-rehearsed keynote, that made me think about how the development of technology transcends our every-day-businesses or how he put it: Where silicon meets soul.

One of his key insights was that it is not enough to just satisfy the customer needs these days, but if companies can manage to give their users a tribal sense of belonging and provide more than their customers expect they can truly empower the customer. It might sound cliché but generally shifting towards a high consumer-centricity seems to be a thing not only for Jeff Bezos anymore.


The SDS conference offered up to seven simultaneous breakout session tracks - see the program here - which made it almost impossible to attend all of the talks that I was interested in.

There were technical tracks on Deep Learning and NLP containing lessons from hands-on experience with the newest AI models but there were also business-oriented tracks offering insights on integrating machine learning models into production. I was happy to see that there was a Data Ethics track, which created an opportunity for interested data scientists to discuss and shape the impact of AI models on society. Bravo to this! To get an feeling of what the trends are I attended presentations in different tracks. Here are my musings on the ones I attended. Feel free to check out the now available slides and recordings online here.

Principles and Best Practices for Applied Machine Learning Models

At Swiss Re, showed how the collective expertise and experience of numerous expert practitioners and managers from data science and risk management can be harnessed to to create a definitive set of principles and best practices that guides all our data science activities. In this talk they presented and discussed these principles and emphasized the principles which need much more care by the Data Scientist in industrial applications than in education and research.

I liked the birds-eye view segmenting those principles into “data-related”, “model-related”, “user-related” and “governance-related” areas, which forces us to think about all of these aspects at the same time.

Revenue Forecasting and Store Location Planning at Migros

The data scientists at Migros have presented their own algorithm that provides realistic revenue forecasts even for complex scenarios such as multiple new stores and/or alterations of the competitor store network. This algorithm combined a heuristic simulation of consumer behavior with machine learning methods to deliver both accurate and interpretable results.

It was interesting to learn how their in-house solution was developed in close collaboration with key users at Migros’ ten regional cooperatives. It bacame clear that interpretability for the planning expert was one of the main features that drove the adoption of the tool. Conrats to Bojan Škerlak from Migros, who won the Best Presentation award!

I was also excited to see that in order to create their tool they made use of a lot of open data from the BFS and SBB, which was then combined with their transactional cumulus data. In order to arrive at the end result, they ended up combining their “gravity model” with business logic to make the results more interpretable to the end-users.

Do You Have to Read All Incoming Documents?

In the NLP track Mark Cieliebak showed how NLP solutions can be used to provide automatic classification of incoming documents into pre-defined classes (such as medical reports, prescriptions etc.) and then showed how to extract the relevant information for further processing. Using real-world examples, they have provided an overview of the potential applications, a realistic assessment of the effort and the resulting quality to be expected.

I particularly liked his assessment of the effort needed for data preparation and implementation in regards to the different project cases that they have encountered. Unsurprisingly when a business owner already has a huge corpus of annotated material that greatly reduces the data preparation part, and so allows the team to focus on an excellent implementation of the project.

Also combining supervised with unsupervised learning methods during training and data processing seemed to be an fruitful approach for classes where not enough data is available.

GPU Acceleration with RAPIDS for Traditional Big Data Analytics or Traditional Machine Learning

In the technical track René Müller gave a very interesting talk about how the RAPIDS suite provides the freedom to execute end-to-end data science and analytics pipelines entirely on GPUs. I liked how a simple python library can be used to accelerate common data preparation tasks for analytics and data science without running into typical serialization costs.

I was surprised how many classical algorithms already are implemented in their library (see screenshot below), yet many of those can only run on a single GPU (of course there is always (text: DASK link: . It is worth to note that when using a model that has been trained with RAPIDS one needs to also have a GPU to run it in inference mode, which makes them less portable.

If you are inclined to give it a try, you can either install it on your laptop (if it has a GPU) or simply try the fastest thing that works out of the box: This is a jupyter notebook in the google colaboratory wich even gives you T4 instances for free.

Creating Value for Clients through Data & Analytics

In this talk, Michel Neuhaus (Head of advanced analytics) and Daniel Perruchoud (Professor at FHNW) showed their journey towards a corporate environment focused on creating value through analytics for UBS and clients. They shared interesting insights from their track towards offering a collaborative work place for data science professionals.

As an illustrative example, they have shown a simple use case of segmenting clients into groups of individuals with similar needs allowing us to offer the right service to the right client. I liked how they emphasized that the lessons learned along the way were embraced to drive the design and operation of the solution. For them, this meant going from a use-case oriented view to a vertical use case built on top of horizontal capabilities (see screenshot).

In the sample case that they provided, I liked how they were honest about how they modeled temporal client behavior, by just computing some very simple statistics, such as the minimum, mean, median or the average trend of a customers bank balance in time.

Final Thoughts

Overall the SDS 2019 was an excellent conference showing how the business applications and machine learning technologies are growing more closely together. Having seen a number of talks I am convinced that the winning formula of tech + business = ❤️ needs two additional components though: data and user experience.

Only if you really have the right data - and also have the right to use it in the way you intend to - you have a solid foundation for everything that builds on it. Collecting the right customer data and doing so in a way that preserves the user's privacy remains one of the biggest challenges today.

Focusing strongly on user experience is an aspect that gets neglected the most. Users are not interested in technology but instead in improving their user experience, thus any new type of algorithm has only one goal: to improve the user’s experience. Only then is the final result perceived as useful can stand a chance against the existing status quo.

So coming back to the key-note this means that indeed successful projects are those that use the existing ML-technology to delight, engage and empower the users.

Swiss Venture Club – more than just a website Fri, 12 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Switzerland’s top business award

The Swiss Venture Club (SVC) serves SMEs and offers its 3000 members from all sectors and regions one of the largest and most important business networks in Switzerland.

At the 7 Prix SVC awards in all economic regions of Switzerland, a top-class jury selects the most successful companies in the region. The great and good of Switzerland’s business world all come to this awards ceremony – which has to take place in the large Hallenstadion stadium to fit the more than 3000 attendees. It is reported in the national press, and the companies involved enjoy nationwide publicity. The Swiss Venture Club is therefore a central driving force for the Swiss SME scene, setting an example of good practice. So, it was about time it set such an example for digital transformation too. In addition to the design of its digital presence, Swiss Venture Club’s entire event process has also been transformed.

From service design to implementation

A process that began with service design workshops ended with a comprehensive web platform. The service design process precisely analysed the needs of the Swiss Venture Club, its members and its sponsors in order to establish the basis for a successful web platform – because anyone paying a five-figure membership fee or sponsorship contribution is entitled to have their say on such a project. High quality services, user-friendly applications and informative content for about 3000 members as well as countless regional and national sponsors were in the foreground. Within the scope of the service design process, the following topics were dealt with:

  • Business requirements
  • Business and user objectives
  • Competitor analysis
  • Customer journeys for members and sponsors
  • Interviews with existing members and sponsors

The results of the service design process formed the basis for the next step, namely developing the UX concept and design.
The platform development process then built on these foundations. The CMS Drupal was used to implement the following core functionalities:

  • Website
  • Members’ and sponsors’ portal
  • Event management incl. ticketing

From the very first workshop, it became clear that we had begun an exciting and comprehensive collaboration. An innovative user experience and CRM integration were important in order to attract and inspire interested visitors, members, sponsors and also, of course, the national press.

Heralding digital transformation with good content

The project also included developing a content strategy. We defined messages, content formats and distribution channels. The new website comes with a few changes. We therefore started communicating with our stakeholders about the changes at a very early stage, and members and sponsors were regularly asked for feedback via our newsletter during the digital transformation process. Incorporating them into the change process in this way ensured a high degree of acceptance when the time came to launch the platform.

Compasses over maps

SEO and analytics help to measure, and thus optimise, the website’s performance, so we put them to good use for the SVC website: an audit and a needs analysis were used to define performance indicators and tracking requirements, which we then incorporated into the website. Target-oriented dashboards now provide regular information about the usage and performance of the new page. Key objectives from an SEO perspective were to comply with technical SEO best practices to attract visitors to the website, migrate content without any loss, and support the production of content geared towards users’ search needs.

User numbers and positive feedback show that the close interaction between concept, design, content, analytics and, of course, technical implementation has paid off. The Swiss Venture Club is ready for the future.

"The collaboration with Liip was intensive, geared to the needs of our target groups and resulted in a modern web platform. Our web platform was very well received by members, sponsors and the media. The Liip team skillfully moderated the agile development and supported us with high commitment and pragmatic solutions."
Alexander Saner, Head Services - Finance IT

The future is yours - congratulations to our apprentices! Mon, 08 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 They learnt how to code and developed websites and mobile applications using technologies such as PHP, Magento, Angular and OctoberCMS. Our business administration apprentices gained knowledge in various fields like Finance, Human Resources and Administration. All of them developed their communication skills and their self-organising attitude.

We are very proud of them. They are the experts of tomorrow. By taking on apprentices, we are investing in the future of not only young people but also the community and therefore the society.

Get to know them better. They tell you all about their time as a Liipers.

Gian Zgraggen

Developer - Zurich - Ping me
Motivated, helpful, sarcastic, coffee lover, metal head, nerd.

Tell me about a project or a task that you handled during your apprenticeship and that you liked.

My first client project was, created with OctoberCMS. I really liked working on it since it was the first "real" project I was able to work on. Before working at Liip I was not able to work on any client project.

What do you like most about your job?

I really like working as a developer. I enjoy working as a dev at Liip, because I am able to work together with clients and directly take influence and help shaping a project. I enjoy the structure of the company and the possibilities it offers. The other employees are young, friendly, and easy to talk to, that way the whole atmosphere is way lighter than in other businesses.

What's your best memory with Liip?

Working on my first project for a client as well as both LiipConfs (our annual internal conference) I was able to attend.

What else do you want to learn?

I want to learn different technologies to create websites, increase my skills in mobile development as well as JavaScript. Additionally I would like to learn more about User Experience (UX).

Sonja Nydegger

Business administrator (Finance/Admin) - Fribourg - Ping me
Happy, motivated, ambitious, helpful, shy, unathletic, sensitive.

Tell me about a project or a task that you handled during your apprenticeship and that you liked.

I liked it very much to get an insight into the hiring process. I was able to document the applications after sending a confirmation of receipt. Handling the various applications not only gave me inspiration for my own application, but also gave me a lot of fun, as we also receive very creative applications. I was able to give my own opinion about each candidate.

What do you like most about your job?

I like the variety of my job. I get insights into the company and can carry very different tasks, which are associated with responsibilities (for example: cash management, applications recording and much more). I am convinced that this is a good apprenticeship and that it will bring a lot of opportunities.

What's your best memory with Liip?

Where to start? I have so many beautiful memories of my time at Liip. I love that all the Liipers are close, which results in a friendly and very nice working atmosphere. I will remember the opportunity I had to write my own blog post ;-) and the chance I had to take over Instagram for a week with other apprentices.

What else do you want to learn?

I would like to deepen my knowledge in the area of finance. I wish to pursue further education as a specialist in finance and accounting.

Sina Marty

Business administrator (Finance/HR/Admin) - Zurich - Ping me
Ambitious, motivated, helpful, funny, cheerful, athletic (gymnastics), impatient.

Tell me about a project or a task that you handled during your apprenticeship and that you liked.

During my three year apprenticeship, I liked the financial area the most. Most of all I liked to create the invoices. It was also exciting to experience the progress of the invoicing process. :-)

What do you like most about your job?

That despite an administrative job there is a lot of variety and contact with internal and external customers and partners.

What's your best memory with Liip?

I have many beautiful memories, but one of my most favorite is my first day at Liip. I was warmly welcomed and was able to work independently very quickly, which I really liked.

What else do you want to learn?

I would like to continue working and starting the vocational baccalaureate (Berufsmaturität) in order to study later.

Tim Keller

Backend & Frontend Developer - Zurich - Ping me
Eager to learn and discover, sarcastic, keen to debate, social, eloquent, helpful, tech-enthusiast.

Tell me about a project or a task that you handled during your apprenticeship and that you liked.

At the end of the IT apprenticeship, I was able to work on Kochoptik and I was part of a development team which integrated me fully.

What do you like most about your job?

The web development is incredibly varied and, depending on the complexity of the project, infinitely expandable and improvable. There are new challenges and problems every day, which have to be solved.

What's your best memory with Liip?

During every project I got to know and appreciate my colleagues better. I was able to work on exciting projects and get to know a lot of great people at the same time.

What else do you want to learn?

I want to expand my knowledge in backend and frontend development and explore the whole Linux world even better. Later I might want to continue my studies at vocational baccalaureate school (Berufsmaturitätsschule).

Rami Jumaah

Backend Developer - Zurich - Ping me
Motivated, helpful, funny, happy, fitness lover, impatient, tea lover.

Tell me about a project or a task that you handled during your apprenticeship and that you liked.

A website that I made for my IPA (Graduation Project) for school, because I built everything from scratch - UX till delivering. And every user who is gonna make use of the website have already liked the website.

What do you like most about your job?

The cooperation between the team members.

What's your best memory with Liip?

All the aperos that we have regularly.

What else do you want to learn?

Open for every piece of information that I can get from any person at the company.

Niclas Deplazes

Backend & Frontend Developer - St-Gallen
Patient, focused, eager to learn, hockey fan, hip hop enthusiast, kindle-worm, tea lover.

Tell me about a project or a task that you handled during your apprenticeship and that you liked.

I was able to work on a real customer project, right from the start of my internship. It was the Memberplus Portal of Raiffeisen Bank. I worked on the backend (Magento & PHP) as well as on the frontend (Angular).

What do you like most about your job?

Generally I like my daily work as an application developer because it's very varied and quite a challenge too. Furthermore, I learn something new every day, especially as a beginner. So I never get bored.

What's your best memory with Liip?

The highlight of my internship was the successful go-live of Memberplus, as I spent most of my internship (including my Graduation Project) on the project.

What else do you want to learn?

During my one-year training at Liip, I was able to deepen and expand my basic knowledge from three school years at IMS Frauenfeld. After the military service, I would like to continue working at Liip for a year in order to gain even more practical experience. Afterwards I will probably go to the ZHAW (Zurich University of Applied Sciences) to start a bachelor's degree in computer science.