Ever watched the Jackie Chan movie, “Who am I?” It’s about a guy who wakes up in the middle of a jungle with no recollection of who he is. He goes through an action packed adventure as he tries to know and understand who he is. If you haven’t watched it please go right ahead and do so. I think no one is ever too old for a karate action movie once in a while.
Anyway, this post is less about the movie and more about me…the person I am in the tech ecosystem. Just like Jackie Chan I kinda woke up one morning and found myself in an unfamiliar place. It was a tech innovation hub. The iHub to be more specific. This is a post about a lady who was once a financier but is now a UX Design Researcher! A who? What?
Before getting to the business of what that entails let me talk about UX. User experience (UX) is all about having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations. Users in this case are the people who get to interact with your product or service. People you call customers/ clients, we call them users. When these users interact with your product, do they enjoy themselves? Is it easy for them to understand it and how to use it? Is it relevant in their lives? i.e is it solving a problem for them? The answers to these questions entail UX. If the interaction is positive then they (users) have a good user experience and vice versa.
UX Design Researcher
To be able to build products with good UX it’s advisable to carry out research about your target user. You do this so as to deeply understand your user. You put yourself in their shoes, immerse yourself in their surroundings…you simply empathise with them. This is UX research.
To create the product for the target users you make use of research gathered out in the field to give insights as to what design or model to build for your target users and what technology to focus on. This is UX design.
As a UX design researcher I get to practise the two processes I just described. I go out to the field and meet people, in towns, villages, slums, schools everywhere depending on the target persons for a particular project. I then use the information gathered which is mostly qualitative to advise clients (mostly developers, start ups and established organisations) on the best technology to focus on and what kind of application or product to build.
If you’re a “people’s person”, are interested in technology and most importantly solving our problems as africans by ourselves, then maybe you should consider a career in UX!
I always say that I’m not the hero out there with all the solutions to our problems but I can try my best to help all the awesome people who have brilliant and sometimes crazy ideas on how to solve some of these problems.