IBM Design wins four 2022 iF Design Awards

Arin Bhowmick
5 min readApr 14, 2022

Improving the lives of users is the foundation of our practice as designers. At IBM Design we work hard every day to keep the user at the center of our work. That’s why it’s so rewarding when this commitment is recognized by judges and design leaders in the industry. I’m thrilled to announce our designers have won FOUR iF Design Awards 2022, surpassing all previous years. IBM SPSS Statistics Project NX, IBM Automation Document Processing, and Red Hat Marketplace won in the User Interface- Interfaces for digital media category. Red Hat Marketplace also won a second award in the User Experience: Product UX category.

The iF Design Award is one of the most competitive awards in the industry. It recognizes design achievements in all disciplines: product, packaging, communication, architecture, user experience, and user interface. The jury bases its decisions on five criteria: idea, function, form, impact, and differentiation. Over 11,000 entries from 57 countries were submitted this year, so it is a tremendous honor that IBM has been recognized with four awards. I’m so proud of our designers for their hard work and dedication towards this achievement.

IBM SPSS Statistics, Project NX is recognized for its fresh new interface, meeting the needs of the next generation of users.

IBM SPSS Statistics is one of the most widely used statistics software across industries such as academia, social sciences, market research, and government. The traditional tool’s advanced capabilities enable users to conduct statistical procedures and extract actionable insights from their data. Yet, close collaboration with our users led the design team to recognize a need for a revolution.

First developed in 1968, IBM SPSS Statistics’ user interface has remained almost unchanged since 2000. While long-term users benefited from the advanced capabilities, user interviews made it clear that new, entry-level users were seeking a more approachable solution. The team set out to build Project NX, a re-imagined offering based on the powerful algorithms of the classic software but redesigned for a new generation of users.

IBM SPSS Statistics accelerates decision making and helps beginners be more productive with guided experiences and interactive ways to explore data
IBM SPSS Statistics accelerates decision making and helps beginners be more productive with guided experiences and interactive ways to explore data

Working closely with hundreds of entry-level users, the team discovered the need for more guidance within the tool and an improved onboarding experience. IBM SPSS Statistics, Project NX is a new generation of statistics software with the ease of usability expected today. An approachable interface and guided experience mean users of all levels can gain the same benefits from the tool.

Reducing a beginner’s fear of statistics and the complexity of the software was a primary goal of the new onboarding experience. A more visually welcoming interface and simplified navigation makes learning the tool an enjoyable experience. Built-in support to help when a user gets stuck is another new benefit. Auto-generated insights help users discover data, improving the overall workflow. These updates resulted in a 400% increase in the tool’s net promoter score (NPS) compared to the classic offering.

iF Design Awards recognize IBM Automation Document Processing for its ability to unlock critical data for its business users.

Businesses ingest millions of documents each year with valuable data locked inside. The processes required to retrieve, digitize, and use that data can be repetitive, labor intensive, and time consuming. IBM Automation Document Processinguses AI and cloud technologies to automate these processes at an enterprise scale.

User interviews uncovered that many businesses still use manual processes to digitize data from unstructured documents. Research found that most solutions to automate the digitization and extraction process were either disjointed or required extensive technical expertise. The Automation Document Processing design team crafted a solution to allow users to classify and extract data from documents leveraging AI technology without code.

Users can train the extraction model in Automation Document Processing without any coding experience.
Users can train the extraction model in Automation Document Processing without any coding experience.

The team created a no-code tooling solution that allows users with no technical experience to build, train, and implement AI models adapted to their specific document processing needs. Machine learning capabilities enable users to be more accurate with their data extraction by eliminating the slow, error-prone manual work users were used to performing in traditional data entry roles.

Automation Document Processing offers an end-to-end document processing solution, standing out among a field of disjointed and incomplete solutions. This unified system simplifies the entire process, allowing customers to build and train AI models to integrate them into their current business processes.

Red Hat Marketplace receives two iF Design Awards, being recognized for its seamless cloud software shopping experience.

The business benefits of moving to the cloud are clear but many customers struggle with outdated technical ecosystems, vendor lock-in, and financial oversight. These challenges hinder innovation and lead to surprise costs. The Red Hat Marketplace team addressed these issues by creating a space for customers to digitally try, buy, and manage their cloud-based enterprise software in a single outlet.

By leveraging IBM’s Enterprise Design Thinking framework, the product design team utilized insights from user interviews and extensive usability tests to identify common pain points among consumers. The team offered customers tools and innovative technology which ease these pain points, allowing them to run their enterprises more effectively while empowering software vendors to reach new markets.

Red Hat Marketplace allows users to browse, try, buy, and manage their new cloud software solutions to fit their needs.
Red Hat Marketplace allows users to browse, try, buy, and manage their new cloud software solutions to fit their needs.

Red Hat Marketplace is an all-in-one platform, giving enterprises the freedom to build confidently on the cloud of their choice. Multiple rounds of user testing led to an end-to-end experience, which allows users to find the software they need for the environment and cloud they want to use. In addition, the design team recognized the need to provide unparalleled transparency within the Marketplace, taking the pain out of software management. Dynamic data visualizations give decision-makers at-a-glance views of critical financial data and empower users to make better business decisions.

Red Hat Marketplace has been highly successful this design awards season. I’m so proud of the design team’s contributions to this product, which fundamentally changed how enterprise software is bought and sold.

Congratulations to the winning design teams:

IBM SPSS Statistics, Project NX
Christian Fritsche, Dima Hoffmann, Eva Cochet-Weinandt, Florian Niethammer, Jaehee Lee, Jan Hassel, Jin Huifei, Katharina Schippert

IBM Automation Document Processing
Jason Puthusseril, Mariam Betadam, Hope Turner, Isaiah Guzman

Red Hat Marketplace
Aaron Sickler, Alisha Moore, Amina El-Ashry, Ashley Johnson, Bethany Doan, Charlie Hill, Chase Kettl, Corey Keller, Danielle Justilien, Eleanor Bartosh, Matt Ahrens, Matthew Reinhold, Robert Uthe, Sarah Hardison, Sarah Walter, Scott McCall, Shelby Aranyi, Willow Lafone
Special thanks to our Red Hat colleagues: Dan Caryll, Libby Levi, Mike Esser, Nick Burns

Arin Bhowmick (@arinbhowmick) is Chief Design Officer, IBM Software Products, based in San Francisco, California. The above article is personal and does not necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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Arin Bhowmick

Chief Design Officer, @SAP | ex CDO @IBM |Cloud, AI and Apps I UX Leadership| UX Strategy| Usability & User Research| Product Design