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iHub UXlab By Mark Kamau / April 28, 2013

High level UX Insights for startups

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We had the privilege of receiving a high level UX talk from Michele Visciola, President and Founding Partner at Experientia (, a leading User experience consultancy with clients including Samsung, Microsoft, Vodafon among others.

The context of the talk was to demonstrate with actual examples how user experience principles are applicable for large and small projects in tech and other spheres. The aim of the talk was to show how insights from user experience research and approaches result in successful accomplishment of project, regardless of their size and scope. This is in line with the iHub UX lab’s mandate to expose the tech community to user experience methods and spur a UX culture here.

Focus on behavior change

One of the insights from the talk was the need for us to study the cultural context within which we intend to operate. Only by understanding the cultural nuances of the target population can we see behavioral patterns that we need to be aware of, and ones we can influence with the least learning curve and in the least disruptive way. As such, we can make our product/service as easy to adopt by the user, as easily and as naturally as possible. This essentially means we should focus much less on the technology we are offering and much more on the people we intend to serve.

This is counter-intuitive as far as the ‘tech’ culture we all have. We tend to focus on what technology we intend to deploy and seldom study the behavioral patterns of our target population. Don’t raise your hand, we all are guilty as charged :-)
This is what makes this a vital insight for all of us!

Are you fooling yourself?

While it is a privilege and a rare opportunity to get demonstrated advise of the caliber of Michele, it is futile if it does not inform change or improvement in how we build products.  The question I pose to you is, how are you incorporating user experience intelligence in your product/service development?

Having a designer who bears the tag UX/UI designer doesn’t cut it. There is enough designers who now simply added ‘UX’ to their title, but without any serious UX pedigree. It is sad, but true.

The question is, what actual UX principles do you have informing your product that you can demonstrate besides a nifty graphical user interface? Before you answer or dismiss this question, think of it for a moment. If the honest answer is none, then it is time to consult the iHub UX lab for a UX review of your product and begin taking your users and product seriously.

Free UX Training

For designers/developers interested in truly earning the UX title, contact Mark at mark[a] and join the UX community and classes at the iHub UX lab to develop your UX skills.

Free UX Reviews

We hold free 1hour long UX reviews for startups every Thursday. You can book for a free UX review of your product here:

Author : Mark Kamau

Mark Kamau is passionate about User Centered Design and the potential smartly designed technologies have to solve African challenges. He has over 10yrs experience in the multimedia space with regional and international experience. He is passionate about Africa, design thinking and technology in a global and localized, African context. He is the User Experience Lead at the iHub UX lab working with start ups, corporates and academics in the ensuring products built in Africa are user centric. He spends the rest of the time growing a user experience culture in Africa.

1 comment
  • Putting people first » Write-up on Michele Visciola’s talk at iHub, Kenya at 18:50:43PM Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    [...] Kamau, Head of iHub’s UXLab, posted a short write-up on the talk on iHub’s blog. Tweet Leave a [...]


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