Users are consumers, clients, customers and people in reverse order of value. We hang on to the essential value of connecting with people at a level that is in the moment and about them.
I am a sociologist turned UX researcher and front-end web developer.
I am also a translator of notes that remain in the margins to bring the user of technologies into sharper focus. I also use the term community researcher to talk about the work I do.
In the past, as a Director and user experience lead at Code for Princeton I worked with non-profits, community groups, users, and subject matter experts to identify areas of need. I translated this into conversations with brigade members, developers, potential users, and other stakeholders.
The applied ethnography and social research skills got me to meet with a diverse set of people across the broad middle class spectrum in Urban India. Living and working in New Jersey for the past several years has given me a great breadth and width of understanding and engaging with people adding critical diversity to my bracket of "users" and experience all rolled in one.
There is a blackbox that needed to be unearthed before the job search app began. It came out of the user need to fill the gap for the low-wage work force in Princeton. Combining the various disparate elements of the ongoing employment efforts underway by many agencies in the area was a task in itself. Some of the work that is happening on unemployment, job-search and job readiness around town is listed below.
First is the summary of the meeting I had with Elisa Niera of Princeton Township Human Services. The work seems to dissect across income boundaries. She was the key figure providing all the following details.
1. Latinos in Progress (POC: Nina Lavado) – no website to get more details.
2. Committed and Faithful Princetonians (YMCA) (POC: Larry Sprull and Fern Sprull), mostly work is with African American populace.
3. Elisa Niera working with Stonehill Church- a non-denominational church with skilled patrons who are participating in a mentoring pilot program for job-readiness. December 19 is the 1:1 workshop/pilot and it caters to skilled workers. Niera works with GA (general assistance) and TANF (temporary assistance to needy families) folks to bring them into the workforce.
4. Library itself has programs for employment in terms of resume building, interview prep and mostly catering to white collar jobs.
5. Princeton University- POC is Christine Applegate is the Director of Community and Regional Affairs. She is always looking to engage with the community and this might be something that the university might be willing to take on. Continue reading “research on employment in Princeton area”
The location for this prototype was the bike view front page showcasing how the first page signifying the most critical aspects of what the users would like to look at based on their feedback after usability testing was done.
The application is able to use real time data from the NJ DOT dashboard and provide location insights about accidents, weather conditions and updates from Mercer county and the Princeton police.
The Mary Jacobs Library Foundation works to find financial and community support for the Mary Jacobs Library, situated in Montgomery Township, New Jersey. “The Foundation’s mission is to provide a library building for the community. We strive to maintain an innovative, safe and welcoming environment that inspires learning, advancing technology and cultural engagement in the community.” I created a review document for the purpose of understanding and clarifying some ideas for the foundation. The research was drawn primarily from my long-standing association with the library while fundraising for Ootsav; the notes from a meeting and discussions with board members. Continue reading “mary jacobs library foundation: a note on research and visioning”
Until now the work that I did has been about creating prototypes for developers as a product of my user experience research. I love working with people, understanding their contexts and listening to their stories (demographics and the sociologically significant data). Giving this sociological perspective to the stories has been the process I followed. In the past, I have interviewed bikers, job-seekers, administrators, patients to understand their user pain points. I study their specific context, look into the related stories in other demographics, look at other societal contexts to understand how things are different and if there is options of adaptability in the current context. A contextual review, a heuristic analysis, a comparative assessment and data analysis is what is required to get to the pain point.
The work I do is possible due to an immediate empathy that I am able to advance to a context. I put myself in the users shoes then calculate and assess what their story looks like in terms of technology, time, need and usage. I then find what’s lacking in the context of an interface and a design and take it from there. To me clients/users are people first, always!
Some of the outcomes I provide are personas, journey maps and solution prototypes to developers. These days however, fixing the problems with technology is a way I do it. I went back to school to learn to code and I am loving every minute of it.
My background always had development tools but I am now a certified developer.
The landing page for the page BikeView.org is the first impression that is created and it is what will stay in the users’ mind. It needs to convey the objective which is really tied in with people USING the website. We have a host of people who will use the site- municipality, police officers, researchers, public, planners etc. But our one key user has been the BIKER -all else being the additional beneficiaries.
The objective is to focus around the need that the user wants to satisfy and the action we want users to take. Addressing just one important aspect of the biker is a good way to bring sharper focus to our work. Continue reading “user testing for bike view”