Mapping UX Culture
Presented by Mike Kornacki
When: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 6:30pm
Where: Lighburn (325 East Chicago Street, SECOND FLOOR) Hey, here’s a map!
RSVP: Here (note: you are not required to RSVP to attend. Feel free to just show up!)
Did you ever feel like you are the only one in your organization who “get’s it”? You’re not alone. The UX field is still pretty young and was born out of necessity. But how do you get the rest of your organization to drink the yummy UX goodness?
Let Mike Kornacki show you how he did it at Johnson Controls.
After the presentation, join us for a social hour drink at Burnhearts (2599 S Logan Ave) in Bay View.
User experience is more than user flows and wireframes. It is an opportunity to become a design leader. Transform yourself from a technician into a problem solver, and transform your organization or team into a supportive environment that will help you engage your users. We’ll discuss a few topics that may help you with your transformation journey.
After the presentation, join us for a social hour drink at Burnhearts (2599 S Logan Ave) in Bay View.
Guest post by Steve Grobschmidt of theaccessibility.com
I’ve gotten a lot of mileage telling this accessibility-related story from a past job: I was in a meeting about incorporating CAPTCHA (those ridiculous riddles you’re forced to solve when filling out a web form so that the system knows you’re a real person) into all the web sites the company developed.
I was fresh into my accessibility days back then, but knew enough to caution that whatever flavor of CAPTCHA we used, it should have accessibility considerations like audio equivalents to the garbled codes.
One of the lead technical people scoffed and said, “Yeah, because blind people use the Web.” Yes, he was dead serious. To make things worse, a project manager in the room started pantomiming a blind person, giggling at himself in the process. Yes, he was an idiot.
Fast-forward a few years to when I started researching video game accessibility. I was reading an article about how many of the color palettes in the game Bioshock 2 posed significant problems for color blind gamers.
In one comment, someone bemoaned disabled people thinking “the rest of the world should cater to them.” Another gamer pointed out that there’s just some things that people with disabilities should accept they can’t do.
What’s lost in those narrow-minded rants is that people with disabilities don’t limit themselves to just “the things that only disabled people do.” Think about the hobbies you are passionate about. If you were suddenly to lose your sight, or hearing, or motor skills, you wouldn’t immediately lose your love for those activities.
Of course a person who can’t use their arms isn’t going to experience a video game the exact same way someone with full motor skills will. Listening to a movie isn’t the exact same experience as watching and listening to it.
But time and time again, creators of great user experiences find ways to open doors for the widest spectrum of people possible.
Web sites that are coded cleanly and organized, use color responsibly, have consistent navigation and concise, clear content can be fully enjoyable and useful to those with or without disabilities. The clean code and nav help screen reading devices correctly parlay the pages to blind users. The attention to color reduces obstacles for the color blind. People with cognitive disabilities have a much better shot understanding content that isn’t a convoluted mess.
Similarly, video games that have things like sub-titles, support for assistive controllers and devices, settings to brighten/darken the visuals, and mindful color contrasts at least open up avenues for disabled gamers to play, all without “watering down” the experience for everyone else. Don’t believe me? Check out this guy:
Apple and Microsoft consistently bolster the accessibility capabilities of their operating systems with each release. Amazon just announced enhancements to its Kindle iPhone app (and eventually for Kindles themselves) to make it easier for blind readers to enjoy their favorite literature through that medium.
The bottom line is that it’s much easier to make sweeping statements like, “Disabled people don’t use my product” than to take the extra time to figure out ways to enable them to get a rich user experience visiting your web site, using your application, or playing your game.
Note: If you are an experienced UXer but don’t necessarily meet the listed criteria, please submit a resume anyway. We’re looking to talk to anyone UX-related, including IAs, User Researchers, UX Developers, etc! There may be an opportunity for you.
POSITION: UX Designer, Visual/Interaction Design (contract, with the potential for future hire as a permanent employee)
LOCATION: Johnson Controls, 507 E. Michigan St, Milwaukee
DUTIES: Work within a User Experience (UX) team to design interactive experiences for Web and/or mobile, meeting demanding quality standards and conforming to expected processes. Responsibilities may include:
- Under minimal guidance, develop innovative designs to meet requirements, including creating visual assets, screen mockups, behavioral/interaction design, and annotated wire frames.
- Document style guidelines and visual specifications.
- Provide input to design discussions; propose visual solutions and concepts.
- Provide work estimates for the creation of visual assets and related documentation.
- Present work to stakeholders for feedback and approval.
- Evaluate developed software for compliance to corresponding UX designs and visual specifications.
- Proactively report on progress and raise any issues affecting ability to complete work.
- Actively seek opportunities to engage with others and to take on additional tasks and responsibilities.
QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in Graphic Design or related field of study. 5+ years of industry experience with visual problem solving as a web, interactive, software or product designer. Exceptional understanding of fundamental design principles (typography, layout, grid systems, hierarchy, color, composition) and an advanced level of expertise with Photoshop and other standard design tools. Experience in developing and communicating visual specifications. User-focused thinker who can proactively communicate and lead in creative, business, and technical discussions. Highly detail-oriented, self-motivated, highly organized, and able to work in a team environment that is fast-paced with multiple projects. Must exhibit a solid understanding of user-centered design methodologies and a high tolerance for ambiguity. Expertise in the following areas is highly desired: responsive web design, mobile design, creating interactive prototypes, information architecture, user testing, and Scrum (or other agile development methodology). Candidates must provide a portfolio demonstrating their capabilities (online preferred) and must be available for an in-person interview.
“Our application needs to be mobile. Can’t we just take everything and make it responsive?” This is usually the way discussions start around mobility.
Responsive design is amazing. It allows you to design an experience that adjusts with the form factor you are viewing it on. It also adjusts the usability of the site/application you are viewing so it can be touch friendly when viewed on a phone and mouse friendly on a PC and everything in between.
The other thing it does really well is it shows your users/customers that you care about the experience ecosystem you have and that you are sensitive to their access needs. It helps establish your creditability as a modern company; one that understands that technology is not standing still.
This way of designing and implementing web sites, applications, etc. is a great leap forward. It isn’t, however, a substitute for mobile strategy.
“What do you mean, mobile strategy?”
What I mean is a business strategy that accounts for the “whys” behind the need for your web site/application to be usable on a mobile platform and how much content/application features your users need to complete tasks in a mobile way.
Mobile applications are meant to have bite-sized pieces of content, and focused task completion. Users tend to be motivated on specific things. They “go to the hip” when they have a specific question that needs answering, or if they need to check on status of certain information. Mobile web applications should narrow in on the important functions users are looking for to “get in and get out”.
Let’s look at it this way shall we – there are many pitfalls in mobile web design – and strategy is hard; so it is easy to say just make everything work on a phone and tablet. Unfortunately, there can be a great cost in having this mentality. Potentially, there is a lot of time and effort put into getting pieces of your application working on a mobile platform that your user base will never use. Then there is the maintenance and up keep of those features and functions as new things are added to your application.
Understanding your users needs in the mobile space will help you come up with a solid mobile strategy that will help you deliver a rock solid experience that your users are expecting. It will help you determine if you need a mobile web application or a “native app” or both. It will help you determine what features and functions will give your users the best experience possible.
Ultimately this approach to design will give you users confidence that you care about their needs and you are providing an experience ecosystem that responds to them.
For our Monday, May 20th meet-up, Mike Massie will give an intro to Ambient Intelligence and discuss how sensors can give the user super powers.
As shrinking technology allows us to cheaply put hardware eyes, ears and touch sensors on everyday things, the data now readily available can offer a magnitude of information without the user even lifting a finger.
Some are calling 2013 the “Year of the sensor”, and it is giving passage to the Internet of Things and Big Data; aside from buzz terms we’ll talk about how these tools will offer the ability for more interactions to get out of the way.
A social hour will take place at Burnhearts (2599 S Logan Ave, in Bay View) immediately after the event. Burnhearts is right down the street from Makerspace!
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.
- MUD: Minimal Viable Design
- “We don’t like make-believe. Make-believe doesn’t get us a great product.” Secrets From Facebook’s Mobile UX Testing Team
- Kicking-starting intrapreneurship: creating a design innovation program within a large company – a poster from the UX team at Citrix, presented at IA Summit 2013
- Microsoft – a pioneer of design?! The Flattening of Design
- No ideas are stupid.
- A really interesting take on coding color for colorblindness.