August 5th: Telling Stories with Narrative Taxonomy

Presentation description:
User experience and storytelling go hand in hand. UX professionals consciously apply personas, use case scenarios, underlying narratives, content strategy, and visual elements to provide a stage on which users play. But there is a key element missing in this drama: taxonomy. Much more than mere collections of categories, hierarchies, facets, and navigation elements, taxonomies “narrate the natural relationships between concepts.” That quote is from a 2011 article in Data and Knowledge Engineering, in which three computer scientists introduced the idea of narrative taxonomy (in a big data, complex algorithms, content retrieval context). This session will discuss the implications of narrative taxonomy for user experience design; specific kinds of taxonomy stories; how to recognize, analyze, and apply narrative taxonomies; and the results of user testing against different narrative taxonomy approaches. In UX, taxonomy is primarily addressed by information architects and content strategists, but not always by both at the same time. Narrative taxonomy brings both together.

Questions this session will answer: 
• How does a taxonomy tell a story, and what are the narrative elements of that story? How can a UX professional recognize and analyze them without the help of sophisticated database algorithms?
• Why and when is analyzing taxonomy from a narrative perspective helpful to UX design?
• Most importantly, what does narrative taxonomy mean to users?

About Alex O’Neal: 
Alex can be seen in the wild in the Austin area, working to optimize user experience wherever she can. Her background includes Fortune 100 companies such as Dell, Texas Instruments, and Nortel, as well as the web’s oldest social network and a medical software dot com. Alex’s professional taxonomy background includes database architecture, personalization, strategy, library cataloging, integration, SEO, and inventing and developing a cognitive science-based, faceted database approach in 2000 for Nortel.. Alex has worked as designer, developer, manager, strategist, trainer, analyst, and product owner across global cross-functional teams. She has two formal articles under her belt:Towards a More Cognitive Knowledge Management, 2000; and Intention-Focused Design: Applying Perceptual Control Theory to Discover User Intent, 2012. Alex’s online database work goes back to 1991, but her web career formally began in 1998 in Dallas, and has taken her to Seattle, Dallas, Santa Clara, Ottawa, and Argentina. Her current obsession is (surprise!) narrative taxonomy.

Rackspace Austin
9001 N IH35 Suite #150
Austin, TX 78753

6:30pm: Chit-chat, pizza, and drinks
7:00-8:00pm: Presentation

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Job Posting: UX Designer Position available at Central Health

The Travis County Healthcare District (dba Central Health) and its Community Care Collaboration (CCC) have a new job position for a UX Designer.

To apply directly, applicants should go to:  or they can apply via the website

Please see the attached PDF document for more information: User Interface Designer-CCC

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July 1st: Collaborative Design using Axure RP

Collaborative Design using Axure RP
Rapid prototyping is a necessary skill for today’s web and mobile designers, and Axure RP is a popular tool for doing just that. With features like built-in specification panels, realistic animations, and source control, it is both powerful and somewhat overwhelming.
In this hands-on demonstration, Erin and the team from Slide UX will do a quick 15-minute introduction to the software before opening the floor to your specific questions about how her team at Slide UX uses to tool to design collaboratively within in their team and with their clients.


About Erin
Erin is a founding partner at Slide UX, a local user experience consultancy that specializes in helping software firms and marketers who strive to create applications and sites that delight users. She has a decade of experience distilling complex, messy information and interactions into streamlined, intuitive, and persuasive experiences. 
Connect with Erin on LinkedIn.


Networking/chit-chat: 6:30-7 p.m.
Presentation: 7-8 p.m.
Food and beverages provided by Rackspace Austin!
Rackspace Austin
9001 N IH35 #150
Austin, TX 78753
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June 3rd: Usability of collecting data in health care & Salary survey results

Join us June 3 for Igor Holas’ presentation on the usability of collecting daily data in mental health care. We’ll also share some insights from the Austin salary survey for technical communications and UX professionals.

With Mentegram, Igor Holas set out to enable mental health care providers (therapists) to build their own short daily questionnaires. He found, however, a community of users with strong divergent ideas about how this tool should work. In this talk, Igor will explore some of these challenges and lessons learned.

Igor Holas is the founder and CEO of Mentegram, and a Ph.D. candidate at UT Austin. He has spent more than a decade in nonprofit program evaluation. For the past year, he has been working to bring data-driven insights into mental health care.

Networking/chit-chat: 6:30-7 p.m.

Presentation: 7-8 p.m.

BuildASign has snacks and drinks for purchase at their location.

Edit: A PDF of the survey results can be accessed here: 2013 Austin STC-UXPA Salary Survey Results

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May 6th: Designing a Concept for a Smartwatch

For our May meeting, Lawrence Najjar will lead us in an interactive, highly participatory exercise to design a concept for a near-future, feasible, and popular smartwatch. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a wrist mounted device, then brainstorm the user experience design of various aspects of the smartwatch, including input/output, applications, display, power, wristband, accessories, and cost. Bring your creativity and enjoy a fun evening of innovative, wearable UX design.

Speaker Bio
Lawrence Najjar is an award-winning UX designer who worked for small design consulting firms and large enterprises to make the complex simple. He analyzed user needs, wrote personas and use cases, designed annotated wireframe scenarios, and gathered user feedback to design software enterprise applications, portals, mobile apps, Web applications, and e-commerce sites. He also designed the US air traffic controller keyboard, an accessible print/copy/scan/fax machine, and a wearable computer for poultry plant quality assurance inspectors. Lawrence has advanced degrees in engineering psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Event Details
Where: Mutual Mobile, 206 East 9th Street, Suite 1400, Austin, TX 78701
When: Tuesday, May 6, 2014
6:30 PM: Chit-chat, pizza and drinks
7:00 – 8:00 PM: Interactive design exercise

Pizza and beer generously provided by Mutual Mobile.

We now have a Meetup group, so please RSVP here:

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