July 12, 2013

User Research at Kiva

Observers watch a user testing session from behind a two way mirror

In a post earlier this week I talked about my six month blogging hiatus. In actuality it was limited only to this website. I kept my writing skills sharp (I mean sharp in the same way the thirty-year-old knives at your parent’s house are sharp) with the occasional post on the Kiva blog. These pieces have generally focused on changes to the website, but I wanted to highlight one that detailed how we do user research at Kiva.

When I began at Kiva we had very few formal design processes in place. Being a small, underfunded non-profit it was understandable that design was never a priority, but it was also something I aimed to change from the moment I arrived. Over the two years I’ve worked at Kiva we’ve taken huge strides towards integrating design into the culture of the organization. One of the most effective tools we’ve employed has been user research. Not only has it lead to significant improvements in the quality of design we turn out, it has also been essential in getting the rest of the organization to buy into the importance—and the impact—that good design can make.

If you’re interested in how we design products and features at Kiva I’d recommend checking out my post from last month on how research helps us create great user experiences.