People of etventure – About user centricity, vegetable growing and a different kind of Sweden trip

25. September 2017

Our People of etventure series enters the next round! This time we talked to user experience designer Vanessa Wälzer.

Vanessa Wälzer, Designerin bei etventure

What are you doing at etventure?

I am User Experience Designer, which is something like an advocate for users of (digital) products or services. For example, I helped to develop two apps – one for physiotherapy (Therap. io), one for pregnant women (Keleya) – and tried to identify the problems of the users and find suitable solutions. Targeted observations and interviews as well as empathy with the user were used for this purpose. In addition, I design flows, test wireframes and am responsible for the branding of products.

What do you like most about your work at etventure?

The working atmosphere is great, and by that I don’t just mean the offices, which I like very much. I like my colleagues. I can talk and laugh with them – and go to dinner after work. This friendly level between colleagues is rare.

How was your first day at etventure?

Very pleasant! I found flowers and chocolate on my table – and a cordial team all around.

What does etventure mean to you?

What I really like about etventure is exactly what constitutes this company: the pleasant, open atmosphere and the unique colleagues.

What do you do for one day without etventure?

When I’m not in the office, I mostly photograph still life arrangements or grow my own vegetables in the garden. I’m also planning a chicken coop, and I’d like to have a sheep soon. It is important to me to be independent and to be able to look after myself. This is mainly due to the fact that I almost ended up in the field of food chemistry and therefore I know exactly what is happening in the industry. Since then, my aim has been to leave as little ecological footprint as possible. Preferably none at all.

What kind of people do you like to work with?

With amiable and motivated people. I like it when a team is structured in an interdisciplinary way, i. e. when everyone has their own field of knowledge and can support the others in their work with this expertise. It’s also really great if you can have a drink with the people you work with – and if you don’t just have to talk about work.

What do you think your colleagues especially appreciate about you?

That’s a tough question. I had to ask first. The answer was: “You take your time and think yourself into processes and always deliver constructive feedback. This is very professional and great.” Feels good. I also think my colleagues enjoy the food I sometimes bring along. For example, I recently turned my own kale into chips and brought them to the office. That went down pretty well. Apart from that, I am a structured planner, and these are always needed.

How do you know you did a good job?

Normally, I’d say when I’m satisfied. But I have always been brainwashed that satisfaction is only a standstill. So I don’t know this condition. For now, maybe I’m relieved. But not satisfied. There is always something to optimize, something that could be done better. Of course it’s great when users are happy, but you should continue to accompany processes, see how they develop. Well. I actually had to learn to let go of a project at some point, to stop with one thing. To accept the small flaws that only I can see. People are constantly evolving, changing the perspective of a project or their own ideas.

If you could appear on the cover of a magazine – which magazine would you choose and why?

I would choose “brand eins” because I like to read it, it deals with strategic issues and is well designed. Probably the editors wouldn’t just let me take a photo for the cover, but rather portray me in some clever illustration – that would be exciting!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I travelled to Sweden with a friend, or more precisely: to Tysta. This doesn’t sound so crazy yet, but this trip was like a horror trip. First, the trip out to the country took forever – Tysta is four hours away from Stockholm – and when we arrived in the dark at the supposed destination, there was no trace of our AirB’n’B. Nothing but fields. There wasn’t even cell phone reception. In the pitch-dark night we went through the wasteland with our huge suitcases until we came across three isolated houses. Nobody here knew Veronica, our hostess, let alone her house. When it started raining, we went to a nearby stable where we wanted to make our night camp – until a girl who wanted to take care of her horse burst into the stable. After the first surprise, it turned out that the girl not only owned a horse worth 80,000 euros and thus officially took part in the World Show Jumping Championships; she also knew exactly where Veronika lived. The girl just didn’t call our hostess “Veronica”, but just the “witch”.

To cut a long story short: We spent two weeks in a garden house in the middle of the forest, fed on fallen fruit, broke into the main house at night and crept through rooms full of ceramic penises and cat skulls to steal crispbread. And Veronica? She was really quite strange; she constantly cursed men and fished out of her freezer again and again, quite bloody pieces of meat of unknown origin. That’s how I met Sweden.

What would you do with 1 million euros?

Something really spectacular: I would use it for a soil cleaning of an inherited property. The property is an old GDR filling station – and soil cleaning is expensive. Then maybe build a cottage on top of it and optionally a plot of land if it becomes too scarce for your own garden. I would also support “GemüseAckerdemie” financially. Its aim is to raise awareness of the importance of nature and the appreciation of food in society. They work mainly with kindergarten children and pupils. And if there is something left in the end, I save the money – if the washing machine breaks down.

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