Her brows were furrowed & she was sighing in exasperation multiple times. I was chatting with the woman next to me in the bank lineup. Turns out she was trying to use a new online payment system.
Clue number one that things weren’t working well: she was at a bank, not paying online.
My heart sunk as I realized I’d need to use this same system this month.
Four (yes four) pages of written instructions on how to use the website, which unbelievably the vendor had the wrong URL to their own website. Countless trips to the vendor’s office, innumerable phone calls, many messages on Facebook & finally the fees are paid. (Insert exhausted, happy here.)
It took a month. I’ve spent a month trying to pay these damn fees.
And while I was eventually successful, the process made me want to howl in frustration louder than my dog does when she sees a monkey in our backyard.
The good news?
This is totally, utterly related to this month’s Learning & Development roundtable topic (the free in-person & online workshop I hold each month on a different topic). This month we’ll be learning about user experience (known as UX) / human centred design. My experience was an example of non-existent UX.
What is UX you ask?
It’s NOT a system that requires four pages of written instructions to use a website.
It’s NOT a system that evokes, in my case, grunts, groans, cussing & close to tantrum like behaviour.
UX IS “a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human–computer interaction and product ownership. Additionally, it includes a person’s perceptions of system aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency.” (Wikipedia)
When UX is done well there’s no wasted time, inefficiency, ineffectual, toddler tantrum producing effects.
When UX is done right humans are at the centre of the design, not the technology. In other words the technology serves the humans not the other way around.
This month’s Learning & Development speaker is Mark Kamau. He’s the Director of User Experience at the BRCK, & he’ll talk to us about what UX is & how it applies to you. He’ll give us examples & help us apply them to our life.
BRCK is on the cutting edge of frontier market technology needs for connectivity, whether that’s for people or things. They know their stuff, including the critical importance of UX.
Like the time the BRCK’s amazing tech wizards designed its namesake, the BRCK. The BRCK is a made in Africa for Africans technological marvel. It’s a rugged piece of tech that gives Internet access in the most remote areas. For example it’s being used by Samburu women, to teach themselves how to read & write.
Pretty freaking fabulous right?
Yes, until the staff were getting feedback that the thing was hard to turn on. No worries they thought. We’ll take it to the tech wizards at Akirachix (gotta love that name & their work) & see how they do turning it on. Well the Akirachix had a hard time turning it on too … & they’re tech mavens.
Back to the drawing board. Back to UX. The BRCKs staff learned you can’t unring a bell. See they already knew how to turn the thing on so it was hard to remember what it was like to not know that. It took UX testing to get it sorted & get it right.
I can hear you mumbling, ‘that’s all fine & good Lee-Anne but this doesn’t apply to me; I’m not a website or app designer.’
I know that. And I’ve got your back.
You interact with humans right? You make stuff right (whether it’s designing workshops, services, products, processes)?
Ergo you need UX.
So please join us for the free, live October 26th, 10am to noon East Africa Time zone (click here to convert to your time zone if you’re not in East Africa) Learning & Development Roundtable & hear it from the UX expert’s mouth (that’d be Mark Kamau, Director of UX for the BRCK, who does all sorts of cool stuff, including having presented UX at TedX Global).
We’ll be coming to you from the UN in Nairobi but you can join us live online, where you’ll be able to hear Mark speak & ask him questions.
BTW If you got a fugly surprise when you did the time zone conversion above, no worries. All the roundtables are recorded so you can watch them at your own convenience.
Please join us so the only head banging you’ll be tempted to do afterwards, is not because of some nonexistent UX, but rather rocking out to some throwback great 80’s music.