mkeUX meetup: Mike Kornacki of Johnson Controls

Mike Kornacki, UX Architect at Johnson Controls, got a lot of instant grantification from the group of 60+ attendees at last Tuesday’s meetup. He opened his talk likening the adoption of UX culture to the Oregon Trail.

Well played, Mike.

Kornacki then went on to liken the concept of User Experience like this… if we’re talking about coffee (and oh brother, are we ever, I have a direct IV line of the stuff) the maker and the mug are the delivery of the coffee, the UI. But it’s that feeling you associate with the coffee, being awake, feeling warm, feeling relaxed, how it smells, that is the UX.

Where are you right NOW on the ladder?

He then took a deep dive into what it takes to onboard UX at a company, at least how he did it at Johnson Controls. Kornacki started with the Maturity Model, encouraging attendees to figure out where the heck their own companies are on this ladder and then figure out how to climb it. Particularly, organizations have to answer these two questions for the UX non-believers:

  • What’s the methodology?
  • What’s the point?

Kornacki spoke about how Johnson Controls crafted its methodologies and then mapped how UX came into play at crucial transition periods of the development cycle. There was so much processing in the room at this point you could practically hear our collective gears turning. From here, you then craft a mission statement.

Proceed with caution, as a mission statement should be what happens when THE BEST case scenario plays out. So put your thinking caps back on and further define the following:

  • What are the principals?
  • What happens in the perfect situation?
  • What do we (the team) strive for?

One caveat I’ll point out here: UI is not UX. BUT! They need each other just as coffee wouldn’t exist without your favorite percolator. UI and UX are on the same team. To ensure they work together, members of those teams must consciously work to bring people in. This very point is something Leah Buley touched on in her talk not too long ago.

Kornacki went on to say that in the beginning, this thought process and project process wasn’t supported. It went unsupported for 3 years. Kornacki gave 100s of presentations in the first 2 years to create buy-in. Before that, UX was more this idea of the engineers make it then the designers “put the pretty on it.” Building buy-in and supporters took time and effort and energy. Here’s a brief outline of how Kornacki & Co. did it.

  1.  Tell a Story. Useability case. Show examples in existing products. Identify areas of opportunity.
  2. Benchmark. Showcase why all of this is important. What do the users say when they’re happy? unhappy? What’s the damage control strategy?
  3. VisionCrafting. Factor in the future. GoogleGlass. Tweet for Coffee!
  4. Roadmap. Prove the value to the customer. Prove what’s being learned. Prove the business value.

Go forth and prosper, friends.

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