User Centred design

I have now embarked on a Masters in Human Computer Interaction Design which is giving me wonderful insights into creating systems and devices that actively enable and support users and the psychology and technology behind this. I have already completed a project to design the information architecture for a website that supports financially unsophisticated users to learn about how to choose appropriate financial products by building a personalised profile.

I have attended talks and seminars by practitioners about the challenges and opportunities of using new technologies such as voice enabled interaction devices.

And all the time I have been thinking about the relevance of all this the world of financial inclusion. It seems so long ago since we launched MTN mobile money with virtually no pilot and where all the user testing was done with members of the team or at best, employees of the bank. No wonder our call centre was burdened with an avalanche of calls and our clients got stuck in the mountain of functionality that they didn’t want and probably didn’t need.

We have learnt about something called excise, which are the tasks that the user is forced to do and think about to get the system to work as opposed to the task that they actually want to do to achieve their goal. Eliminating or minimising excise will be the new slogan of system designers everywhere!