Every time we have a visitor at the iHub, one thing always happens after we explain our consultancy offering; they always ask what UX is all about. The tech ecosystem is particularly good at creating lingo that anyone outside the ecosystem wouldn't understand. When a company is sold we say they exited. A simpler way to say this would be it was sold. When a startup changes its model, we say that it pivoted. The name 'startup' itself is quite confusing to many even within the tech ecosystem. It is, therefore, not shocking when we are asked to explain what exactly our UX Lab does.
What is the difference between UX and design thinking?
Another common phrase we use when talking to people is design thinking. This further complicates things as we are eventually asked to explain the difference between UX and design thinking. There is a huge discussion around the difference between the two but we won't delve much into it in this article.
Donald Norman is probably the first person to have the term UX as part of his work title. He was a user experience architect at Apple in 1993. Thereafter, it spread in Silicon Valley. UX is the experience that a user has when interacting with your product. UX design is the process by which we define this interaction. It is particularly common in digital products, but, UX design can be used when designing any product.
IDEO, in many circles, is credited with 'inventing' design thinking. Design thinking is a problem-solving technique. It is commonly used by management consultants to attack complex problems. It focuses less on the product and more on proper problem definition.
There are many similarities between the two. Some people would argue that they are actually one and the same thing. For now, let us move on.
What do we do at the iHub UX Lab?
The short and sweet summary - we offer both UX design and design thinking services.
Let us say you are looking to build an app targeting health-conscious people in Kenya. Your preliminary market research has indicated that there is demand for it. You now need to make sure that you do it well so that people can actually use it. This is where our UX team will come in handy. We will first use design thinking techniques to help you properly define the problem. That means taking you one step back. Is an app the best way to do it? There is a possibility that you might develop a really good app and no one downloads it. We will also take you through the lean canvas so that you really flesh out your idea. This usually doesn't fall under design thinking but is a very good way to develop ideas. Once we have skipped those hurdles we will start testing the assumptions we made when filling out the lean canvas. Are you familiar with user experience research? This will be a good opportunity for you to learn how to employ it while building a product. With your help, we will identify a group of potential users who we can interview. We would then do face-to-face interviews and carry out focus group discussions with them. While doing this, we would identify the environment they work in and the constraints they face.
After synthesizing the information from our interviews, prototyping starts. With prototyping comes testing. Prototype, test, repeat. Prototyping will be handled by our Software & Design team while the UX team will continue spearheading testing.
Once we have a product that is ready for launch we release a beta. There is a lot of monitoring during this period. Feedback is used to improve the product. Finally, we get to the launch date. Hopefully, it will be a fancy event full of press coverage. We like it when the world sees what we are doing. At this point, we can part ways. However, it would be a good idea to work with you a bit longer. Monitoring for a period after launch will give us insights on how we can improve the product.
Interested in learning more about the UX Lab? Feel free to reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org.