Walking A Mile In Your Users' Shoes
Presented by: Jameson Hampton
Developing apps for users in different demographics is inherently differently than developing apps just for ourselves and for other programmers. Understanding the needs of our users and learning to foster empathy for them is just as much of a skill as learning Rails or ActiveRecord — and it’s a skill that’s relevant to all developers, regardless of their ability level or rung of the career ladder.
One of the reasons that tech is a cool industry to work in is because “working in tech” doesn’t really confine you to working in the tech industry. Everyone needs applications! I consider it a perk that I can use my background in software engineering to work as a technologist in other industries because it gives me the opportunity to find a job I really care about, doing something I really find important.
But even if the code itself is more or less the same, different applications have different user bases. People who work at a company like Github, for example, can work under the assumption that most of their users are fairly similar in many ways to themselves. If their application is intuitive to them, it’s likely to also be intuitive to most of their users. Even within tech, that may not always be the case, particularly because different people have different accessibility needs. But when you’re working in other industries, it’s often much less true that what “works” for you as a programmer will also work for your users.
This talk, which will focus mainly on low-tech solutions, UX, and requirement gathering, is intended for developers at any skill level but will be of particular interest for people who do product work in non-tech industries. I’ll be using agriculture and healthcare as particular examples, but the advice is the same for anyone who works on any app that isn’t primarily targeted to other programmers and technologists.