September
3

august 26 meeting: presentation link

by: Mike Kornacki | 2014

So, this is a bit late, but we were having some technical difficulties with our hosting company. All better now.

Anyway, Tony Beuche was kind enough to share his presentation with us from the other night. It was a great presentation that drove a lot of amazing conversation and sparked a lot of ideas around UX and agile process. Thanks, Tony!

You can find his presentation - Agile UX Project Work with Small Teams – here.

Categories: meetings | Leave a comment
August
4

Building a strong UX/Agile development process

by: Michael Seidel | 2014

When: Tuesday, Aug 26, 6:30pm
Where: Irish Pub, 2nd floor (124 N Water St)
Cost: FREE!
RSVP: Here (note: you are not required to RSVP to attend. Feel free to just show up!)

Tony Beuche ED2662E9-EDA5-4058-A713-320B67D96850is a certified usability analyst at the Bradley Corporation. He’s worked with developers Dean Del Ponte and Adrian Moore to build a strong UX/Agile development process that can cycle projects in house from user research all the way through to final user testing and launch.

In his mkeUX presentation, Tony will talk how that process works in the context of a project like replacing a large website+CMS. He’ll show how the UX and development stages of the process flow into each other to maintain velocity, and how the process is designed to evolve as they learn new things. Along the way, he’ll share some excellent industry tools and best practices that have made their way into the process.

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July
2

Donations needed to buy a new projector screen

by: Michael Seidel | 2014

UPDATE July 7: WE MET OUR GOAL – THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED!!!

We need your help with buying a new projector screen!

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.23.10 AM

If you’ve ever been to one of our meetups, you’ve likely noticed that our projector screen is a cold war relict, a heavy metal artifact of another, clunkier age. The screen is dented from years of being rolled up and unused. The thing weighs a TON. Kornacki lovingly but unkindly refers to it as THE ALBATROSS.

If the thing was an automobile, it’d qualify for a collector’s plate. But as a screen, well, it’s just an old piece of junk.

Time, dudes…it moves on.

This is where you can help.

mkeUX has always been and will always be FREE to attend. We run it without a budget (all event space is lovingly donated). As someone who has attended meetings, met new people, and learned new stuff, can you give back by helping us buy a new screen?

We’re looking to gather ~$150 for a screen like this one. (update: We met our goal!)

We’ll remove the link as soon as we’ve met our goal.

So what do you say…will you help project us into the modern age? We’ll love you forever.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 comment
May
21

June 23 meetup: Agile UX

by: Michael Seidel | 2014

When: June 23, 2014 6:30pm
Where: Irish Pub, 2nd floor (124 N Water St)
Cost: FREE!
RSVP: Here (note: you are not required to RSVP to attend. Feel free to just show up!)

Centare_4C_AltThe project teams at Centare have been producing software using Agile techniques for over 5 years.  Developers, Quality Assurance, Product Owners, Scrum Masters and User Experience members work closely together to adhere to Agile principles while still remaining highly productive.  Every sprint is seen as an opportunity to experiment and improve our techniques.

Several members from the Centare UX team will share their stories and experiences to describe how they have successfully incorporated Lean UX methods into an Agile practice to improve collaboration and the flow of information throughout the entire project’s lifecycle.

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May
14

June 3rd: a call for volunteers!

by: Mike Kornacki | 2014

Midwest UX: a call for volunteers!

When: June 3, 2014 6:30pm
Where: Burnhearts (2599 S Logan Ave.)

Midwest UX is calling out for a city to host the 2015 conference and we think Milwaukee is just that City!

So, why is mkeUX having a meeting about Midwest UX? We want to get some volunteers to help us put together a proposal for Milwaukee hosting the event in 2015.

What is Midwest UX you ask?

Midwest UX is a 3-day conference founded on inter-disciplinary talks and workshops built around supporting and inspiring the growing Midwest design community.

Michael Seidel and I want to Co-Chair this event and we think we could put one hell of a planning committee together (with your help) to make Milwaukee the shining jewel of the Midwest UX crown.

So who’s with us?!

Note: This isn’t a standard mkeUX meeting. We are looking to get volunteers together to help with this mission. Thanks!

Categories: UX Conference | Tags: , | 1 comment
March
4

April 1 meeting – user research: cheap, easy and agile

by: Michael Seidel | 2014

User research: cheap, easy and agile 

Presented by Kate Gomoll

When: April 1, 2014 6:30pm
Where: Braise (1101 S. 2nd Street, SECOND FLOOR)
Cost: FREE!
RSVP: Here (note: you are not required to RSVP to attend. Feel free to just show up!)

photo_2

Kate Gomoll, president and founder of Gomoll Research & Design, is well known for her field research expertise. She has managed and conducted user research for many companies like Apple, GE Healthcare, Hewlett-Packard, Johnson Controls, and Yahoo!

In her mkeUX presentation, Kate will share what she’s learned in her 20+ years of conducting field user research. She’ll also give ideas about how you can integrate field research into your organization’s UX practice.

Read an interview with Kate about Field Research Fundamentals.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment
January
6

ux book club milwaukee

by: Mike Kornacki | 2014

My good friend Angelina Cole (@amcole526) is rebooting the UX Book Club here in Milwaukee and wants to kick everything off on January 22nd. I can’t think of a better person to run this club than her!

Angelina was kind enough to write a blog post about the club and what she hopes to accomplish with it. So, here it is…

Since September I’d been looking for a way to become more integrated into the Milwaukee UX community. A friend of mine tipped me off to the MKEUX group and after hearing Mike talk about bringing UX culture to an organization, I was energized.

 

I searched for a book club in MKE to shore up gaps in my knowledge as it dawned on me that UX was something I was extremely and innately passionate about. To my dismay, the one that was listed in MKE was defunct both online and on LinkedIn. I wrote out a few emails and posted on the wall asking for details on the next meeting and heard nothing for quite some time.

 

In that time I spoke with some other connections in the industry. While talking to one of them over Skype, she suggested I hold myself and the community accountable in knowledge-sharing and start a book club of my very own. After we hung up the call I considered the concept for a good 30 minutes.

 

The more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t let go of the idea.

 

My own list of reading had grown over a foot tall so I rationalized that the best way to kick start that immense learning project was to seek a community to keep me accountable. In December, I started the book club on meetup.com.

 

You can join myself and 20 complete strangers at meetup.com/uxbookmke and on January 22 (location details coming soon) to discuss Tom and Dave Kelley’s Creative Confidence. We hope to see you there!

Categories: UX Book Club | Tags: , , | Leave a comment
December
20

6 questions about usability testing from a newbie

by: Michael Seidel | 2013

My friend Jamie is starting to head up usability testing efforts in her company. As part of her learning process, she asked me a few questions about how I test. So I decided to publish the answers here.

One thing that I’ll say is that I’m increasingly wary of relying on usability testing to “validate” designs. I truly believe that to get a project right, you need to involve end users in feedback sessions, starting at the wireframe stage. Basically, talk to people every week. Involve everyone in your project team in the research by encouraging them attend sessions and ask questions. Or show them recordings of the feedback sessions.

Usability testing is still a must when it gets to that stage. But many problems can be avoided if you involve users constantly in the design process.

That said, here are my answers to Jamie’s questions!

Who from the project should be involved in the process of deciding what to test?
I usually sit down with a Product Manager, a Business Analyst, members of the User Experience Team, and any other critical stakeholder to discuss research goals, objectives, and timing. After that meeting, I create and circulate a one page research plan to summarize/formalize what we’ve agreed on.

How do you determine what to test?
It all comes out of this the discussion with PMs, BAs, UX, and stakeholders. In my world, I’d say everything should be usability tested! It should be an ongoing cycle.

Is there a typical duration for a test, or at least a good standard for software testing? And what’s a good number of tasks to have someone complete during a test?
I lumped these two questions together because they’re related. This is definitely an area where a researcher can’t be rigid. There’s no right answer to either of these. As a rule of thumb, however, I’d suggest no more tha 1½ hr & two scenarios. But I’ve done longer sessions with four scenarios and shorter lasting 15 minutes with a single scenario.

If the project team decides there is a TON to test, I’d say two things:

  1. You should have done research much earlier in the process
  2. Consider splitting things up into multiple testing initiatives. Make each session more focused rather than trying to do everything in a single effort.

Is it better to put a time constraint on a task to determine if the user “failed” the task, or is it better to just let them keep working, no matter how long it takes?
In planning for research, every element should be roughly timeboxed. Meaning if you have two scenarios, each should have a timeframe associate with it, and you should also know how long your introduction and follow-up questionnaires will take. Not to say you have to follow these timeframes exactly. But they should frame the overall discussion. This is how you ensure that you don’t waste the user’s time and end up keeping them longer than they anticipated.

That said, sometimes users just flounder. Even if that happens, you should have “back up” questions that fill time and still extract value from the session. Facilitating gets easier the more you do it. At first, struggling users can make a session super difficult. But as you get more experienced, you learn more and more how to draw users out of funks.

The best feedback usually comes when things go off-script. So just be patient and ask good questions! On the rare occasion that the session becomes painful, don’t feel bad about wrapping up early. Just tell them you got through everything you needed to get through and they can have the rest of their morning/afternoon back to him or herself!

Have any tips on intervention to help a user along with a task if they’re stuck on something?
This is related to the above. But specifically, keep asking open-ended questions. If after a few tries, they can’t come up with an answer, by all means “give the answer away.” Especially if it’s a critical step in completing a process and you need feedback on the next step. Just have a discussion centered around the right answer. Ask what you could do to have made it more obvious or if they have other ideas that could make it easier to interact with.

If you do put a fail time on a task, where do you get that number from? Is there a rule of thumb, like, the amount of time it takes me (the SME) to do it, times 5 or something?
I honestly haven’t done much time on task testing. But I’m not sure that there’s a magic equation (though I could be wrong…any quantitative researchers want to correct me?). Especially one based on how long it takes a SME to do something versus an actual end user. I’d say that it also comes down to how familiar a user is with a design – are you testing enhancements to an existing design? Or something brand new? If a user is interacting with a design for the first time, it’ll obviously take more time than it will after they learn how to use it.

Thanks for asking these questions, Jamie!

Categories: usability | Leave a comment
December
20

weekist links: week ending december 20

by: Mike Kornacki | 2013

A short roundup of good things we’ve read/watched/listened to in the last 7 days. Sometimes about UX, sometimes not. All things you can learn from.

weekistLink12-20
photo: Brian Dettmer’s “Book Autopsies”

  1. How is your closure experience.
  2. Somm – This is a super entertaining documentary about wine sommeliers.
  3. Great videos on Agile user research.
  4. Merry Christmas from CGI Chuck Norris.
  5. Should the United States have 6 Californias?
Categories: Weekest Links | Tags: , | Leave a comment
December
18

how we designed the new mkeUX

by: Michael Seidel | 2013

When we launched this site waaaay back in 2010, we had one goal: Simplicity

We understood most people were visiting the site to find out about our meetups. So we designed it around communicating info about meetings.

It looked like this:

oldMkeuxScreen

As time passed, we started writing micro-posts about the upcoming presentations, so we had to link people off from the main page to the main blog page. This started to break the simplicity and cohesiveness of the design.

Also, as we move deeper into the two thousand teens, responsiveness and all that become more and more of an imperative. Our site wasn’t responsive. Add lack of responsiveness to lack of simplicity and you get REDESIGN.

So what you’re looking at today is that REDESIGN.

We’ve done the following:

  • Kept focus on upcoming meetings
  • Made the site responsive
  • Integrated the blog into the main page design

It’s nothing uber-fancy. But that’s what we’re going for: scaled back, cut and dry. As long as you can get info about meetings, we feel we’ve done our job.

We’d love to get your thoughts as a user of the site. Please leave feedback on this post and let us know how we did.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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