In recent years, UX (User Experience) has grown to play an integral part in the process of product development. It has become increasingly evident that customer experience should define product features and not the other way round. The tech industry has certainly been on the forefront of the UX revolution and here to help us delve into this is ‘Woman In Tech’ Marie Amuti.
Marie is a UX Designer with Equity Bank Kenya where she is heavily involved with the digitization of the bank’s products. Marie also contributes to the Mozilla project through the Teach the Web Initiative as well as taking the time to teach design to Firefox OS developers. Here she shares just some of her experiences in becoming a UX designer and Mozilla contributor.
Alex Wafula – What is UX Design?
Marie Amuti – User experience (UX) design is about creating products both digital and physical that do more than just meet the user’s needs but also to create a pleasurable experience while using it.
A. W. – Why is UX Design important?
M.A. – Design in itself is core to any product; even your chair is designed! UX Design is just taking design to another level by making the product useful, usable and pleasurable to use (excuse the tongue twister)! There are many products that are designed out there but are not useful/usable.
You might have the skill to program any mobile app that comes into your head but if you don’t think of how it’s meeting your expected user’s need in the first place or how they are going to use it, then you might end up delivering a product with a poor user experience.
A.W. – Did you ever think you would become a UX Designer? Where did your journey begin?
M.A. – Interesting story. I have always been a creative and a big psychology enthusiast… but I have always loved computers. During university I discovered HCI (Human Computer Interaction) which practically married all my interests and the rest they say is history.
A.W. – What exactly do you do at Equity Bank Kenya? What is the experience like for you there?
M.A. – Apart from meetings, meetings and more meetings, I am heavily involved in the digitization of the bank’s products. Let’s say the credit team no longer wants their clients filling forms to apply for credit cards, I attend the initial meeting that involves problem identification and then go on to ideat a possible digital solution to their problem. I send out wireframes/prototypes of what the product will look like, then work with the development team into developing it. There are different types of hats in the UX job title but that’s basically the core role I play. So far the experience has been great and working in a corporate environment has been such an eye opener.
A.W. – How has the local industry evolved to accommodate User Experience in their products.
M.A. – User Experience (UX) is not a new term in the tech environment; however it’s still a long way before it is appreciated and used to its maximum potential.
A.W. – Where did you work prior to this?
M.A. – I worked at the Ihub’s UXlab as a UX Design Intern. Fun times!
A.W. – So what are you currently working on at Mozilla right now?
M.A. – I am currently participating in an open research project by the Mozilla foundation.
A.W. – Any advice for women in tech?
M.A. – For most parts of the world meekness had been a rewarded character in women but for women in tech this is a character that will take you nowhere! There is no knight in shining armor who will teach you how to optimize your code nor will anyone seize an opportunity and hand it to you.
Find your niche whether it’s mobile development, web development or design – don’t try and be a jack of all trades.
“What would you do if you were not afraid” Sheryl Sandberg
Author – Alex Wafula
A Mozilla contributor based in Kenya mostly engaged as a community builder. Ask him anything about astronomy, he won’t have the answers half of the time – probably most of the time – but finding out is always a thrill!