Josie Scott, Michigan UX Community Founding Mother

“It turns out that my interest and passion is in the piece of the pie where we are looking at users and understanding what they do and what they need.” – Josie Scott, History of IA Panel, World IA Day Ann Arbor, 2012.

We lost one of our community’s founders on Christmas Day when Josie Scott passed away after a long battle with cancer

Josie’s professional journey.

If you look at Josie’s LinkedIn page, you will see her career as a usability practitioner and user research leader at some of the most prominent companies in Michigan. She was at Borders in 2000, Compuware in 2005, TechSmith in 2010, and GE Capital/Synchrony Financial at the end of her career.

But she was also active in our professional community (locally and nationally). She was a super hero on the Usability in Civic Life project. She wrote articles for UXPA Magazine and reported on UXPA conferences

Sarah Swierenga remembers Josie as a passionate advocate, a fierce fighter for justice, a good friend, and trusted colleague. Sarah met her around 2005 when they worked on the U(X)PA Usability and Voting project together. They took a memorable road trip to Erie, PA, to give usability/accessibility training to state election poll workers. While it was Sarah’s first voting project, Josie was a pro, of course! She truly is missed.

Josie explaining “user control and freedom” in the context of hospital gowns.

Locally, she shared her mobile usability testing adventures in 2013. She talked about innovation at Michigan World Usability Day in 2015. She advocated for plain language and taught usability basics. She did countless other presentations and workshops for her Michigan UX colleagues.

She got very personal during her heuristic evaluation of being a cancer patient.

During the World Information Architecture Day panel in 2012, Josie reflected on our local community (starting at the 34 minute mark). “People were very, very, generous with what they knew and what they shared and I personally learned so much from everyone.”

She casually adds “I may have made a small contribution or two in my time.” Yes, Josie, you made much more than a small contribution to the UX community in Michigan! You are one of our “Founding Mothers.”

Josie’s family invites you to visit her memorial page, read stories about Josie, and contribute your own.

Josie proudly wearing her Detroit UX t-shirt in 2017.

December Newsletter

This morning, the December 2020 email newsletter went out.

It features the announcement of the Community Holiday Party, December 17, 6-8pm, on Wonder (a fun, new way to gather online). Free, but registration on Eventbrite is required.

Other events in December are also listed in the newsletter.

Finally, it includes information on how to propose projects for UMSI classes.

If you are not already subscribed to the newsletter, sign up.

Projects for UMSI UX classes

Every semester, hundreds of University of Michigan students complete industry projects as part of their School of Information course work in usability evaluation, user research, and other subjects.

Your organization (business, non-profit, government agency, etc.) can propose a project for a team of students to work on! Here are some reasons why:

Your organization is just starting to focus on user interface design but does not have the resources to do user research or usability testing.Have a student team tackle one of your most pressing challenges. You will get insights you can apply right away, plus have an example to show the value.
Your UX team is overworked.Pick a project from your list that is lower priority but still important, as a way to extend your team’s output while also helping students learn.
You plan to hire UX practitioners.Propose a project as a way to meet some of the top emerging UX talent in Michigan (and the world).
You are not familiar with the UMSI curriculum.Get a glimpse into what one of the oldest and most innovative UX academic programs is doing. If you like what they are teaching, update some of your methods or send some of your employees off to get a degree.

Example projects

  • A tool that needs an evaluation to ensure it meets the needs of your users.
  • A dynamic website that needs a user experience assessment.
  • An information problem you are trying to solve but are unsure of a potential solution.
  • An idea for a product that would meet the needs of an aging population or people with disabilities that you need help researching and designing.

Courses seeking clients

About the courseClient expectations & receivables
SI 622: Needs Assessment and Usability Evaluation
Masters students work with clients to evaluate how well the user experience of their existing product or service meets the needs of its users. Methods used include: interaction map, user interviews, competitive analysis, survey, heuristic evaluation, user testing. See the FAQ for clients.
Give feedback on and receive deliverables for each of these assignments.

Meet weekly with students, connect students with users for user interviews (5 people), survey (50 people), and user testing (5 people).

Receive a series of reports and analyses, plus a final video presentation.
SI 682: Advanced User Research in the Field
Masters students conduct advanced user research methods for information challenges that are early in the product life cycle.
Meet with students, provide feedback, and must provide access to users.

Receive a polished report or presentation of findings.
SI 699: UX Research and Design Mastery Course
Masters students in their final semester will research and design a tool or product, with a focus on accessibility for disabled, and/or aging populations.
Meet with students, provide feedback, and must provide access to users.

Receive a report of research and design.

To propose a project, complete the form at or email

To learn more about client opportunities with the School of Information, visit

November 2020 News

Another monthly newsletter went out to our mailing list subscribers this morning.


Get the whole story in the November 2020 Michigan UXPA newsletter.

Update (11/5): After the email newsletter came out, we noticed three November webinars by UXPA International. These are free and open to anyone: you do not have to be a UXPA International member to join.

  • November 6. Writing for the Web: The Six Step LUCID Writing Approach that Gets Your Message Across
  • November 11. Managing Researcher Risk, Well-Being, and Emotional Safety in the Field
  • November 13. How Artifacts Afford: The Power and Politics of Everyday Things (UXPA Book Club)

More details on the UXPA International upcoming webinar page, with links to Zoom to register.

We also discovered another Sundberg-Ferar Virtual Design Conversation, November 19, 12-4pm, on furniture, AI & User Experience and life-saving textile innovation. Free, via Zoom.

August 2020 News

A recap of the email newsletter that went out Wednesday 8/12:

See the August newsletter for the whole story.