Ux and Agile as Scrum


Now I am a certified Scrum Master (the equivalent of passing the theory test for a UK Driving License!), I can work out how to play through this implementation of agile methodology into Ux module teaching and assessments.  Uxers share a couple of modules with software engineers and/or game developers, so I am interested to try a few things out!

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User Testing Logical Glue

London is attracting and creating many innovative IT companies.  I have gotten involved with one myself over the summer, Logical Glue, which offers predictive analytics software.   In this screenshot, the user (a data scientist) has created a model that predicts whether a bank loan will be re-paid or not, and is using the information in the tables to assess how good the model is.


If you are interested in the fintech / data science / machine learning space, please let me know.

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Update on Projects and Placements (especially for full-time students from overseas).

“MSc User Experience Design with Professional Placement” was introduced as a new course option last academic year.  Students starting in September take taught modules Sept – April, then take a one year placement, which they find themselves May – May, before completing the final major project May- September i.e. two years overall.  Students starting in January fulfill their MSc Jan – Jan and then take a one year placement at the end Jan – Jan.  The placement route is a popular option, especially with overseas students, as the associated student visa permits full-time work in the UK during the placement period, provided the work is relevant to the course.

The key question is, “Will I find myself a placement?”.  On the Ux course last academic year 0 of 2 students on the with placement route found a placement.  It is too early to read much into those numbers, as potential employers need to learn about the new opportunity (masters students looking for placements May-May and Jan-Jan) and adjust their habits accordingly, if they want to.  Across the faculty, about 20% of students who initially registered for a placement route successfully found a placement, and this % rises to around 40%, if the student attended pre-placement events and activities (CV writing, interview skills etc),  We will wait and see.

The traditional bridge from study to work is the final major project.  Full-time students found some new, and interesting hosts for final projects in UK this year, including Friends of the Earth, OGG (an augmented reality messaging start-up), and University Superannuation Scheme (a pension fund).  One student is also returning to his home country of China to complete his major project for an online publishing and training company (Ilingdai), and then returning to the UK in September to complete the course.  This is a first for me, as student Visa policies make such arrangements more possible, as the university must monitor the student’s university project work remotely, and we are able to do this with group work tools (IM, video-conferencing etc. ).  Overseas projects might help overseas students to bridge from study to work.

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Voice Ux

What percentage of mobile ticket sales and info requests will use voice input by 2020? The UxPA event recently hosted by Trainline speculated 50%.  A reason to keep up your interest in conversation design, I think.

travel updates by voice Trainline

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Congratulations to Jay Williams!

Recent graduate of the course, and theKnowledgeAcademy’s “digital designer of 2017” … Jay Williams!  Well done Jay!


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First Ux Course Show

Many, many thanks to Aviva Digital Garage, the insurance company’s fast growing fintech venture, for hosting the first MSc Ux course show, and to Aviva’s Ux-ers for keeping the students on their toes!   The Show celebrated the work of some graduating students: Jack McHugh, Po-Yang Shih, Julien Cresus (now at Societe Generale), and also, making for something of a Kingston University theme this year, Laura Vicente, supported by the Centre for Graduate Excellence, and Jenney Shi (Founders Factory Incubator), who worked on NoobLab, the brainchild of Ux course lecturer Paul Neve.  A suitable finale to the inspiration and perspiration of the summer, and a chance for the Cabinet Office and the Home Office to highlight the opportunities for Ux talent in Government. CourseShow

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KU Work with Ux Alumni

HCID_swetha_sethu_jones_180px  It is always a genuine pleasure to hear that one your students has gone on to achieve great things. So it was a particular pleasure to learn that one of the Ux course’s early graduates, Swetha S J, had returned to KU to user test the university’s Enterprise website. When planning the Ux course, we imagined many possible impacts, but benefiting ourselves in this way was definitely not anticipated!  It just goes to show that it really is good to keep in touch! You can read more about Swetha’s user testing project online at Systems Concepts, or watch the video from HCID2017.

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Running Design Workshops

Design Thinking workshops have been a feature of the Ux(Content) module for a couple of years now, and I am still learning how to deliver them better.  How did I record workshop outcomes before I could access the Discussion Boards in our Virtual Learning Environment from my mobile?!

Design Workshop outcome small


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UxPA talks 16-17


‘Smart’ Experiences – designing interactions with systems, which can detect patterns in user behaviour and react accordingly

This year we’ve attended quite a few talks from active Ux practitioners – Thoughtworks, Facebook, Sainsburys, Moo.com.  These talks add an invaluable industry perspective to the course, and provide an introduction to a community that would be very difficult to reproduce.  So I should take this opportunity to thank the many events organisers and hosts – “Thank you!”

moo dot com interior


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Possible Ux Internship: Stratagem Ltd., LONDON WC1

Possible Ux Internship: Stratagem Ltd., LONDON WC1.  £90 per day one day, one day per week for 12 months, start date October 1st 2016
Stratagem Ltd are a small, but established business looking to develop a Ux allrounder to help create intuitive and compelling user experiences for their sports gaming and trading products.  The internship aims to dovetail paid work with university assignments.
The internship will cover the full-range of Ux activities – analysis, design, prototyping and evaluation – and encourage the use of the latest, industry-standard methods and tools.  The student will be supported in the selection of coursework and project topics by the Stratagem development team and the University course director.  These topics are expected to support Stratagem’s business and product development strategy.  The internship directly provides familiarisation with the company, its business and product development strategies, and entry-level participation in all areas of the business.
The successful student should have an undergraduate degree in Information Technology/Computer Science, and a strong interest is user experience, data visualisation, sports information, and sports betting.  Students with undergraduate degrees in business, psychology and/or design, who are also familiar with html, css and javascript are also encouraged to apply.  Strong potential for all-round ability is sought.
The student will be expected to work 1 day per week and to be paid monthly in arrears at a rate in the region of £90 per day.  An additional day per week  may be required for some final major projects e.g. agile, data gathering sessions, particularly over the summer 2017.
An important selection criteria is that the student has the opportunity to align coursework objectives with company needs, and that coursework and project topics are likely to include the following:
i.                     Production of a usability test report. Example topics for usability test include:
Execution popup: a) Preview page (what does a user want to see when deciding on whether to place a bet before a game?); Live risk / in-play page (what does a user want to see when trading a live game?).
ii.                   Develop a ‘new’ product concept, for example, a mobile app, or channels for social media awareness and marketing.
iii.                  Additional topics and tasks to be identified.  There are many specialist practices that could be deployed, particularly during extended ‘final’ or ‘major’ projects, such as: Information architecture; gamification (allowing users to predict results and compete with other users); ‘visualisation’; and modelling decision-making.
Please send CV and a covering letter in the first instance to Martin Colbert, Senior Lecturer, CIS, Kingston University (m.colbert@kingston.ac.uk) by 30th August, 2016, with a view to preparing a winning application to Stratabet.
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