farewell mkeUX meetup group: 2010 – 2017

by: Michael Seidel | 2017

It’s with full hearts, that we announce that it’s time to say goodbye to the mkeUX meetup group.

Our hearts are so full because of all we’ve accomplished over the years.

UX in our fair city was in its infancy when we had our first meeting back in 2010 (content strategy was the topic – it was a year after the first book was written about CS). Today, in 2017, UX here is like a teenager: unpredictable, ill-defined, not really sure of who it is or where it’s going. It knows just enough to be dangerous. But it’s the kind of teenager with infinite promise–one who you know will iron out the wrinkles of youth soon and become something great.

As UX in Milwaukee approaches this new phase, we’re like proud parents who are ready to step into the background. Our goal now is to encourage this thing we invested so much of ourselves in to enter into the wider world, to be molded and matured into adulthood. Hopefully it takes influence from us. But more importantly, hopefully it becomes its own independent, beautiful thing.

We’re excited to see who steps up to usher in this new era. It should be you. And you. And you. We’re excited to provide you with guidance, advice, and encouragement. We’re excited for whatever comes next. We believe in you. The Milwaukee UX community is capable of anything.


  • To all our terrific presenters
  • For the amazing topics
  • All companies who sponsored our gatherings
  • Everyone who attended even a single meetup
  • To those who braved snowstorms and heatwaves to learn
  • To anyone who bought us a pint of beer–you’re the best!
  • For the laughs
  • To the active participators
  • To the quiet, mindful notetakers
  • For asking engaging, tough questions
  • For challenging the presenters
  • For challenging us
  • For challenging yourself

The past 7 years have been career-defining. It’s something we’ll remember always.

Michael Seidel & Mike Kornacki
Jan 13, 2017


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Slides from Let’s Make Some Holograms!

by: Michael Seidel | 2016

Cameron Vetter‘s talk on HoloLens was both exciting and illuminating. I think I can speak for everyone when I say we learned a ton and were very excited by what we saw.

If you were unable to make it, Cameron has graciously shared his slides. Check them out.



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Dec 15: A very mkeUX-y holiday

by: Michael Seidel | 2016

When: Thursday, Dec 15, 5pm – ???
Where: Burnhearts (2599 S Logan Ave, in Bay View)
Cost: FREE!
RSPV: Here (note: you are not required to RSVP to attend. Feel free to just show up!)

Join us for an informal gathering to celebrate another great year of UX in Milwaukee!

It’ll be a chance to meet and talk with your fellow UX and UX-sympathizers, with no formal meeting or set agenda.

We’ll take over the back room at Burnhearts (by the pool table), so that’s where you can find us when you arrive.

The event will start around 5 and last until everyone decides to leave. This is a social event, so the start and end times don’t mean much. Just roll in whenever you finish up with work and look for the congregation of nerds.

Deck the halls with boughs of UX!


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an interview with Cameron Vetter

by: Michael Seidel | 2016

In this post, we learn more about our Nov 29 speaker, Cameron Vetter. We’re excited for his talk,  Augmented Reality – Let’s Make Some Holograms!


Where are you currently employed and what is your primary focus of your daily workload?

I’m currently employed at Safenet Consulting. My title is Senior Software Architect, but I’m not exclusively an architect, I consider myself a developer, architect, tester, scrum master, product owner, and designer. My current primary focus is working with Microsoft Cognitive Services developing an app for Windows, OSX, IOS, and Android. Since I’m a consultant this could change at anytime to something completely different. I also get involved with new clients and help understand their needs and how they align with the resources that Safenet has available.

What inspired you to talk about this topic?
The first time I saw HoloLens was at Build 2014 in San Francisco. Initially I thought this was an April Fools joke by Microsoft, and that there couldn’t be anyway this exists with current technology. At Build 2015 I was lucky enough to get to do a hands on demo of the HoloLens, and I knew that I wanted to design and develop applications on that platform. I applied to become a developer as soon as they started accepting applications to get early hardware and began developing as soon as I got my HoloLens. I have learned a lot about developing for the platform and much of what I have learned remains undocumented, so I decided to start sharing what I have learned.

Where else will you be presenting this talk?
I will be presenting this talk at Milwaukee Dev Camp and I will present this at a Safenet Lunch and Learn. I’m working on scheduling other conferences, but nothing is confirmed yet.

Anything else you’d like people to know about your talk?
This talk will be slightly different than the version I’m giving elsewhere. This version will largely skip over the code, and I will highlight the user interface challenges the designer faces in this space.

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Nov 29 meetup: Augmented Reality – Let’s Make Some Holograms!

by: Michael Seidel | 2016

When: Tuesday, Nov 29, 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!)

Do you want to explore Mars? Model a building on your conference room table? Play Minecraft in your living room? All of these things are being done today using Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality has shifted from mobile app gimmick to an immersive UXD experience that is unrivaled.

In this talk, Cameron Vetter will use the HoloLens and Unity 3D to give a crash course in AR concepts, how an AR application is put together and some of the design considerations. This includes:

  • Real World Understanding (Spatial Mapping, Spatial Understanding)
  • Holograms (Billboarding, Placement, Physics)
  • Control (Gaze, Cursor, Gestures, Speech)
  • Persistence (World Anchors)

You’ll leave with an understanding of Hololens terminology and techniques, by watching a real Hololens app get built step-by-step using each of these AR concepts.


About Cameron: Software Development is my passion. I have over 15 years of experience using Microsoft tools to develop software. Currently I am a Senior Software Architect at Safenet Consulting, where I get to do what I love… Architect, Design, and Develop great software!

I currently focus on Microservices, SOA, Azure, IOT, Xamarin, and Hololens.

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October 17 meetup: Breaking into UX

by: Michael Seidel | 2016

When: Monday, October 17, 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!)

In the 7 years of mkeUX’s existence, we’ve had the distinct pleasure of watching the UX discipline grow and gain wide influence. It’s been an exciting ride. And there’s no end in sight – more and more UX jobs flood the market daily.

We know from talking to hundreds of UX practitioners and UX hopefuls over the years that getting started in the field can be intimidating. Often, people are worried they’re not qualified for jobs, or worse, they’re afraid that a job in UX is insurmountable based on their background or lack of experience.

This usually isn’t true. Not at all.

This roundtable will tackle the issue of breaking into UX. We’ve assembled a crack team of UX minds to discuss that various ways to get into the field or grow your expertise once you’ve done so.

We’ll break down the sub-disciplines under the UX umbrella (UX is not just visual design, you know) and generally have a very frank discussion about UX.

This meeting will appeal to:

  • Students
  • Recent graduates
  • Career changers
  • UX people looking to diversify their skillset

Back by popular demand, Steve Grobschmidt will moderate.


joeJoe Elmendorf – I architect places made of information. I use strategic ignorance, patient listening, and concept models to understand complexity and represent it clearly. I focus on defining and gaining agreement on what should be before figuring out how to make it be.




maryMary Johnston is a Milwaukee-based UX designer and creative director. She first came to Milwaukee in 2010 to pursue a Masters Degree from the School of Information Studies at UW-Milwaukee and after she was finished she liked it here so much she decided to stick around. She’s been working with the Madison-based agency Noble Applications since 2013.



rachelRachel Krause is a UX/UI Designer at Centare in Brookfield, creating web and mobile experiences on scrum teams. She is an advocate for keeping the UX process lightweight and collaborative. Prior to getting into the UX world, she started her career as a graphic designer.




nicoleNicole Madison – For the past 4 years, I’ve been a user experience designer at Johnson Controls designing building efficiency software. Previous to working at Johnson Controls I worked for over 15 years as a graphic designer within a few marketing agencies in Milwaukee. My undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Milwaukee. Currently, I’m pursuing a Master’s degree in User Experience Design from Kent State University and expect to graduate summer 2017.



coreyCorey Poquette – Corey has spent 13 years developing and designing user interfaces. Currently a UX Architect & Strategist for Johnson Controls (JCI), Corey leads the creation of industry-changing user experiences for JCI’s Building Efficiency products. In his free time, Corey enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, running marathons, smoking various meats as well as being a rabid Green Bay Packers fan.

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August 15 meetup: Beer garden happy hour!

by: Michael Seidel | 2016

Happy hour!
When: Monday, August 15, 5:00 – ? pm
Where: Humboldt Park Beer Garden (3000 S. Howell Ave, Bay View)
RSVP: Here (note: you are not required to RSVP to attend. Feel free to just show up!)

Join us on August 15 for an informal UX happy hour at the Humboldt Park Beer Garden in Bay View. Chat with your fellow UXers and UX-sympathizers while enjoying a beautiful Milwaukee summer evening.

The event will start around 5 and last until everyone decides to leave. This is a social event, so the start and end times don’t mean much. Just roll in whenever you finish up with work and look for the congregation of nerds. You’ll know us by the size of our brains.

Note: Given the nature of the beer garden, no food will be provided and you will need to spring for your own drinks. You may want to grab dinner beforehand or after you leave.


Hope to see you there!



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July 19 meetup: UX Beyond the UI

by: Michael Seidel | 2016

What: UX Beyond the UI
When: Tuesday, July 19, 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!)

When we talk about user experience (UX) and software development, we tend to focus on the visual and interactive – user interfaces, graphic design and UX activities such as user research.  However, we often forget that UX can be affected by other aspects of software development such as the application code across the stack and even the development process itself.

This talk will cover:

  • the importance of UX given the near constant interactions we have with software today
  • the impact of software development considerations such as performance, security and reliability on UX
  • how a focus on software quality can improve user experience in subtle yet meaningful ways
  • how all members of a software development team contribute to user experience


Joe Regan is a UX Designer/Developer for Red Arrow Labs in Milwaukee WI, helping to create technology solutions and great user experiences in the healthcare and life science industries. Prior to his transition into UX, he was a long-time software developer working with iOS, Android, .NET and Java technologies

Here is an interview we conducted with Joe so you can know more about him before attending the meetup.

Where are you currently employed and what is the primary focus of your daily workload?

I work for Red Arrow Labs in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, part of the Dohmen family of companies. We specialize in developing software solutions for the health and life sciences industries.

My primary focus thus far has been UI design for mobile and web apps with a bit of front-end development. I’m hoping to get more involved with user research activities in the future.

How long have you been working as a UX practitioner?

Strictly speaking since April 2015. But I did mobile development for a number of years before that so UI and UX concerns were certainly foremost in my mind then as well.

Tell us about your path to the UX field.

My path to UX could be described as slow in that it took me a number of years before I finally took the leap to commit to a career in UX! I’d guess my path is somewhat atypical too since I came into UX from a developer role.

What are some misconceptions you had about UX before you started working in it?

I’m not so sure I had misconceptions but perhaps an incomplete and evolving understanding of UX. Like many of us, I started at UIs and usability and later came to learn about other facets of UX like user research, information architecture, content strategy and more.

In regards to your July talk, what was there a certain set of circumstances in your professional life that inspired you to talk about this topic?

As I started to learn more about UX while developing mobile applications, I began to see that outside of the UI, the impact of the actual code and the software development process on UX hasn’t fully been examined. There’s a lot going in websites and applications behind the UI, so I hope to delve a little deeper and see how the rest of the software stack can affect UX.

Where else will you be presenting this talk?

I’ll be presenting this talk at That Conference, a developer conference, in the Wisconsin Dells August 8-10. Nervous but excited!

Anything else you’d like people to know about your talk?

Stay for the outtakes after the credits (really!)

Do you have UX book, article or video recommendations for others within the mkeUX community?

I like the Nielsen Norman Group’s weekly newsletter and Kenny Chen’s UX Design Weekly is a great roundup of UX and design posts.

As far as books go, anything from A Book Apart is great but I really feel that Eric Meyer’s and Sara Wachter-Boettcher’s Design for Real Life is a very important read for anyone in UX. It discusses designing for stress cases – certainly pertinent for Red Arrow’s work in health care but for everyone else as well given that we interact with software on a near-constant basis. 

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June 21 meetup: UX Lightning Talks!

by: Michael Seidel | 2016
What: UX Lightning Talks!
When: Tuesday, June 21, 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!)


This event will showcase the diversity and talent of the Milwaukee UX community. In these 5 short presentations we’ll see great examples of professional quality, passion projects, and exploring the new ideas about the kind of experiences we can create for people.


Presentation #1: Conveying UX Strategy Through Meaningful Journey Maps

Suhasini Pashikanti, from 7Summits, will be sharing how to structure and deliver meaningful journey maps to clients that help to lay the foundation for long-term UX strategy with a focus on understanding the “why” and discovering opportunities.

Presentation #2: Redesigning the Project Properties UI

John McCauley with Rockwell Automation shows users using Rockwell’s Industrial Automation products & the visualization design problems tackled.

Presentation #3: Spaceship Interfaces, The Next Generation

Garrett Wiens-Kind, a usability officer in the United Federation of Planets (and at Johnson Controls) boldly goes where no UX practitioner has gone before. Garrett will present his ongoing work and research on improving the operational efficiency and safety of spaceship bridge crews through better touchscreen interfaces.

Presentation #4: How UX and Content Strategy Built a Better AEM.org

Nora Lahl, Senior Producer at Lightburn, shares the approach her agency took on the redesign and restructure of AEM.org, the website for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. This included the not-so-simple task of selling UX as a whole to internal stakeholders.

Presentation #5:  Mindbloom, Bridging the Gap Between the Physical World and Digital World

In trying to solve for a very real world problem that is stress, participants are encouraged to relax the mind and lower heart rate trying to bloom a physical and digital flower. Elise Georgeson, Kat Lau, Millie Bley from GMR will present.

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May 10 meetup: Evangelizing design leadership

by: Michael Seidel | 2016

What: Evangelizing Design Leadership
When: Tuesday, May 10, 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!)

As technology and graphic design continue to be commoditized, customer experiences will be the primary market differentiators. However, anyone can design a decent customer experience, but what is needed organizationally to design an outstanding, world-class customer experience? In this mkeUX session, we will explore:

  • Why companies that strive to be Apple or Google fail or experience mixed results.
  • Who design leaders.
  • How proper design leadership can transform your organization.
  • The side effects of mismanagement and its impact for designers and the organization.



Alan Schwegler has been a User Experience Designer at Johnson Controls for the past five years. He’s currently finishing up his MBA from Milwaukee School of Engineering. Prior to MSOE, he graduated with his Graphic Design degree from Creighton University.

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