Well, I'm off! Saturday was the beginning of several weeks of UX research as I traverse across the globe in preparation for Ushahidi's V3 platform launch. The Ushahidi platform is an open source tool for data management and visualization. It's highly customizable and we've seen people use it for a variety of different instances, from election monitoring to water point tracking. You can see some examples here.
We're developing technology to enable local developers, community leaders, and organizations to manage information most effectively leveraging the existing technological infrastructure. So as we consider the V3 feature set, we find getting feedback from the people who will be using it a no brainer :) I'm not going to pretend that one week with users gives deep insight into the social, cultural, and technological fabric of a community. But that's exactly why we work with the community and with those who work, live, and experience the reality on a daily basis. We're building tools for them.
My first stop is Asuncion, Paraguay. I arrived on Sunday and spent the day getting acquainted with the city and with the oh so elusive goddess of sleep. I left my notebook (the paper kind ;)) at home and had to purchase one in a local store with my broken Spanish. I successfully walked away with a child's notebook that poignantly describes me as 'sweet and innocent' ;)
I spent yesterday working with a partner organization that identifies and maps poverty in Paraguay, Fundacion Paraguaya. I am impressed with their understanding of poverty as a multi faceted problem, and inspired by their approach of working with individuals to find sustainable solutions. We're excited to build them software and to supplement their existing tools as we humbly become a part of their journey as they work on reducing poverty.
Yesterday I also observed some interviews with workers at a tea production factory. The company has partnered with Fundacion Paraguaya to better understand its workforce. The survey was in Spanish so I spent most of the time observing and paying attention to physical response and application interaction. Today I was in rural Paraguay to shadow more interviews and look forward to really digging into their software pain points.
More from me later, ciao!