[by Kelvin Kamande, iHub Green Member]
The proverbial narrative of all success stories start with an idea. In most cases the ‘owner’ of the idea is without a doubt the pioneer of something big, ready to disrupt the world and even re-define history , in their head at least. Ever ask someone what they were working on and gotten the “something really huge” but it’s still in development? Well, it would seem success is always inevitable from when that light bulb goes on, to when you make it on the cover of that illustrious magazine you have always dreamt about. It takes dedication to bring ideas to life but it also takes commitment to make them work. There’s a lot to be learnt from the mistakes of others and from the guidance of those that have been there.
With this in mind I recently decided to visit the guys from the UX Lab and get some tips on whether the many hours spent on coffee and late nights coding away had a chance at success or as they say, was all in my head. From the very first meeting I had with the team, it was evident that I had not fully understood my user and I had only made assumptions of the kind of user that I was targeting. I knew who was going to use my idea but had not really involved them to find out if they would actually need it. Iterations was the word of the day and the team helped me put into perspective the importance of the user at nearly all stages of development. Worried that my success was more fiction than fact I engaged them on what next. The team assured me that I was on the right track and that by understanding simple user concepts we could actualise this concept.
We came up with a schedule and some goals we intended to achieve in regard to the user.
- To investigate the users of the start-up idea
- To investigate the problems faced by users and how the startup can provide value for its users.
The schedule involved learning aspects of the users that were not apparent to me (while still coding and developing) like interviewing, going to the field and conducting actual field work, coming up with affinity diagrams,user personas and business design thinking.
Working with a brilliant team through the last couple of days: Sharon, Frankline and Francis, I see you guys, was an insightful process that I think every developer should consider as they build great products. The team was more than helpful at the same time keeping things fun both in the office and in the field, simplifying the technical and providing extensive concept building. I got to learn invaluable lessons that I think should guide any dev that intends to build the next big thing:
- Understanding your user is just as important as the kind of technology you are building for them.
- Understanding if your user would actually need your product before committing resources to your project will save you a lot in development costs.
- Understanding your user helps you iterate faster and have comparative advantage over your competition.
- You are more likely to build a success story if it’s something that your user really needs versus what you think they should have.