A lot of people think that “interaction design” is just making things look pretty, but as the name implies, it’s more about how the user interacts with the design – can they get from step A to step B easily? Does the workflow follow their expectations? Can they figure out what to do next? How many times have you stared at a screen on your laptop or smartphone and said “How do I do X? I should be able to do X from here, shouldn’t I?” Often, in this case, the designer didn’t think through the workflow well enough.
What I love about user research is that I always learn something that surprises me and today’s call with a Mifos customer in Lebanon was no exception. After working with the demo software and reading the user manual, I was beginning to formulate some user “personas” who are typical of the people who use the Mifos software and why.
My passport is on it’s way to San Francisco to get an Indian Visa attached to it. I hate letting my passport travel alone – I worry for it’s safety. I’m crossing my fingers that it arrives home safely soon and then we can travel together! Travel planning is in the works – I will be meeting with MFIs (micro finance institutions) that use the Mifos in Bangalore, India and Nairobi, Kenya to better understand what they need from the Mifos software.
My bio is now added to the Mifos community blog. So happy to join the team!
Not much to report at the moment:
- Beginning travel arrangements to visit Mifos clients in India and possibly Kenya so I can better understand how they use the Mifos software and under what conditions (i.e. constant interruption? slow internet? language difficulties?)
- Formulating questions to ask users from my reading of the functional specs and user manual.
I’ve reached the end of my first week on the Mifos project. The Mifos team has been very welcoming and I’m looking forward to working more closely with them. I “vMet” (see Post 2) some of the Mifos users during a User Meet-up Skype call to discuss the UI. It’s been fun.
What I learned: Continue reading
“Met” the Mifos team today. When I say “met”, I mean that I talked with them via Skype while looking at little pictures of them. The community manager is on the West Coast, the architects are in Ireland, and the engineers are in India. A real “global” workforce.
There should be a word for “meeting” someone electronically. E-meet? iMeet? vMeet? (That would be a virtual meeting for you non-VMware folk :-)) There’s gotta be a good word for this that’s not already been coined. Suggestions?
Monday, March 18, 2013
Take 3 is an opportunity provided to VMware employees who’ve worked at the company for at least 5 years to take 3 months and work on something completely different from their regular day jobs. I chose to take the opportunity to apply my UX design skills to a community service project and work with the Community for Open Source Microfinance (COSM) on an application called Mifos.