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Lessons From The Thoughtworks Design Workshop

though1Last Week Thoughtworks treated Ugandan Software developers and techies to an experience design workshop at their new offices in Nakawa. The sessions where modulated by Amanda Wise, the Lead User Experience Consultant at Thoughtworks.

Amanda first explained the concepts involved in “designing for humans” from research, ideation, prototyping to working your way up user testing and during this whole process a few things stuck out for us and so this is what we learnt from the Experience design workshop.

Define the problem:

You can not design for something you have no idea about and therefore you have to know who you are designing for, what they need to be done and where they mostly do their work. Get a strict framework of constraints and it’s very helpful if you sketch up a persona of your user and put yourself in their situation.

Map Out the customer Journey:

After creating a persona for your customer, you need to now think the way the customer would think and feel the way the customer would feel. If for example you are designing for a Chef visiting Kampala for the first time, and you are thinking this Chef, you would want to try out some of the local cuisines, you would want to meet chefs in Kampala and by thinking like this, you will not only identify the pain points this chef might face, but also understand the work he has to do when is a given situation.

Prototype and Wireframe a lot:

After putting the customer at the center of your design, then it’s probably time to prototype and wireframe how the system is going to look like and go out to the field and show the system to your customers and ask them what they thinking. Prototyping can be done in many different ways but as Amanda stressed, if a system costs $1 on paper, it will probably cost $10 to code and $100 to build the entire site, so you have to do a lot of wireframes and prototypes on paper. It also helps if you get all your designs on a wall so that other members of your team can comment and go through your prototype when they are free or on a lunch break.


There are different ways of testing your prototype sometimes you may need to build 2 sites each testing a different concept and all you have to do is route some traffic to site A and the other to site B at the end you judge how much conversion each site is bringing and this will be evident which prototype to go with. As a designer it’s advisable to share such results with your client as this will help make decision making easier as to what customers want.

Lastly you have to do all this as fast as you can, Fail fast and Succeed Faster and be sure to design for humans because they are the ones who are going to use your product.





Nicholas Kamanzi

Computer Engineer and Tech Reviewer.
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