Part of the reason I wanted to participate in MotherCoders was to gain insight into the jargon that was intimidating me from entering the tech sector. Prior to a visit to our class by Senior Product Designer Lee Howard of Good World Solutions, I didn't have a deep understanding of what User Experience (UX) was, and it wasn't until after I did the reading and heard from Lee about her role that I realized it's a critical piece what was missing from a database conversion I'd led at a small nonprofit that went sideways.
The Dream Database We Never Got
We had lots of problems with our old database, mainly because we had lots of needs that weren't being met. While the developers we'd hired did their best to listen, they led the project with their technical brain, and there wasn't anyone who took the time necessary to sit down and listen to us -- the users. That effort could have spawned a bigger discussion about our organization's actual business needs before any resources on database development was spent. Yet that process would have taken a certain kind of facilitator to lead -- a UX Designer who could synthesize everything and relay it to the developers and others charged with implementing the new system.
A New Business Idea Emerges
I'd like to start a company to help small nonprofits that don't have full-time staff dedicated to technology. For these organizations, funding usually goes to hiring web developers, database gurus, or other technical experts -- people who usually speak different languages from nonprofit professionals, often causing results to suffer.
The company I envision would be proficient in the needs of nonprofits and how tech can support those, serving as a translator. And after our visit from Lee, I’m now realizing that the UX Designer would be that translator. If funding for UX was built into each project, I'm certain it would benefit everyone.
Lillian is the Fall 2016 recipient of the MotherCoders Solidarity Scholarship for Queer Moms. You can find Lillian on Twitter at @lillianfleer.