THE BEGINNING

Do you remember your first time trying out something?

It could be the first time you rode a bicycle, baked a cake, got on a plane or tried to build something. The first time you try out something new there is usually a rush of emotions, pure excitement and sometimes even fear. This is a story of the first time I went out to the field.

A fellow intern and I went out to do a relatively easy task or so we thought. All we had to do was interview a couple of agricultural extension officers and fill in an online form with their answers. Easy right? This turned out to be one of my longest days in the field.

The destination was Kilimambogo a town about 63 kilometres from Nairobi. My friend Frank and I got there okay though a bit later than expected (we lost our way a bit). For internet we were to tether our laptop to a mobile phone and work. It turned out that the service provider whose SIM card we had had terrible connection in Kilimambogo and so couldn’t work for us. Frank had a different provider’s SIM card but we had no airtime for it. We got someone from our office to send us some and we got to work. Maintaining a good connection was hard and we soon gave up trying to fill in the form online and just wrote down the answers manually.

Our recording equipment ran out of power before we concluded the interview and we ended up using my phone to record the rest of the interviews. Thing is the phone was too slim to put on a tripod and so we had to hold it up ourselves which cramped our arms. Some of the interview participants showed up really late for their interviews meaning we left the place really late in the night.

Anyway after all the hustling we did manage to get all our interviews done. We packed up our stuff around 9:00 pm and trudged to the road to catch a bus back to town. We were tired and hungry having had no lunch and also a bit unsure about our work.

That excursion made me really think if I was cut out for UX research work. If I was ready for the long days, if I had the patience to deal with people from all walks of life and cultures and most importantly if I had the energy to work through my lunches if the situation called for it. I thought about the agricultural extension officers again and after I remembered the enthusiasm they had around the project we were running all the doubts I had in my mind dissolved. I knew I wanted to be out there meeting people, trying to come up with solutions for our Kenyan/ African problems. I knew then I would have more of such days and I was ready for them.

So that’s how my first time was in the UX research field. How was yours in whatever job you do?

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Abby Written by:

Hi, I am a UX researcher based in Nairobi, Kenya. I am passionate about helping people create simple, innovative but USABLE and enjoyable products to solve social problems. The African context interests me as I believe Africans should be in the fore front of solving our own problems. I have a love affair with books and outdoor activities. Forever in search of adventure :)

One Comment

  1. Jeipea
    November 25, 2014
    Reply

    Very interesting article – I think as job seekers we really have to think about what we bring to the job as opposed to what we will get from it. At the very least before certification and credentials everyone can bring “who we are” to a role

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