Mittelstand 4.0 - Kompetenzzentrum Usability

The Project

The Kompetenzzentrum Usability is an initiative of the german federal ministry for economic affairs and energy with the goal to digitalize the german "Mittelstand". With Mittelstand-Digital, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) supports digitisation in small and medium-sized enterprises and the trade and informs about possible opportunities and challenges. Together with several institutions in Germany methods for a higher usability in firms shall be discovered. The competence centres help both small retailers and larger aproduction companies with expert knowledge, demonstration centres, networks for exchanging experiences and practical examples.

The Kompetenzzentrum Usability supports small and medium-sized companies in designing digital technologies in such a way that they can be used easily and experienced positively. Digital products and services that are designed using usability and user experience (UUX) methods lead to higher productivity, and more customer satisfaction. The better the UUX, the faster the digital transformation of small and medium-sized companies takes place.


Our Topics

The challenges in terms of usability and user experience are different and yet widespread. At the KIT we explore the effective and efficient usage of

  • collaboration technologies
  • conversational interfaces
  • remote work and social distancing
  • as well as opportunities in UX design to support SMEs in order to increase productivity and well-being.
  • Further, we are advocates for an human-centered design process within artifact design and development


Together with out project partners the ifm - Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (Universität Mannheim), the UIG e.V. and the Fachhochschule Kaiserslautern we develop, investigate and build new artifacts and empirical findings regarding the support of SMEs for UX and collaboration.

At regular intervals, the Kompetenzzentrum Usability also organizes and supports events throughout Germany on the topic of usability and user experience. One example is the workshop at the annual Mensch und Computer Conference.