The non-profit organization Drop in the Bucket, builds wells and sanitation systems at schools in Africa. To enrich the organization's online experience with donors and volunteers, I am working with developers on its Sponsor / Build a Well feature that focuses on the user interface and interaction design from a user-centered perspective.
To analyze the problem space, I start by creating empathy with donors and volunteers (the target audience) through donor / volunteer profiles (personas). Following this I start sketching potential interactions and user interface design, thinking and behaving as if I am donor. These methods communicate ideas to the team, and in some instances it clearly defines the problem being solved. Product development is ongoing, so I will update posts in coming weeks.
Now that user experience has achieved significant adoption as a design perspective within software, website and web application product development, I wonder what this means to the practice of user-centered design (UCD) and usability. Unlike my colleagues I have not had the luxury of practicing classical user-centered design; I've never been an "expert observer" in which I observe the user as a test subject (i.e., "user as subject") in a lab setting with industry standard software. Until more recently I saw this as a real limitation of my design research approach.
The bulk of my UCD approach has been participatory in nature, inviting users (typically existing customers and lead users) to interact with a prototype in my presence or remotely as we dialogue and explore the design for usability issues or areas of improvement. Not by coincidence Cont'd...
I develop usability studies and design research to support product owners' goal of creating usable products.
With an extensive background in design, I help product development teams translate user research findings into the design decisions that create user-centered products.
I am always interested in work opportunities or projects in usability and design research.