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Career paths in computing

Changing the World Through HCI and UX

UX Indonesia CEO Eunice Sari

Credit: Charles Darwin University

You can build the best technology, but if it doesn't meet real needs, it becomes a misdirected effort. Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) helps ensure technologies are useful and usable. I started the first HCI and user experience (UX) company in Indonesia in 2002 to introduce technologies that would improve people's lives. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of clients from Indonesia, the Asian region, the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Our clients include NGOs, government and academic institutions, private companies, and individuals—a few of which I will elaborate on here.

Indonesian fisheries. I worked with Indonesian fishermen from remote areas to validate the government's plan to implement technology-based solutions to help improve village economies. Although these villages had great potential to support national food security, they had yet to realize their full potential. We mapped the entire eco-system to help the government make data-driven strategies and plans.

Several local startups developed mobile solutions to improve the supply chain and help the fishermen sell their sea products directly to customers. The government also sponsored national hackathons to develop conceptual technology solutions to support daily activities, including check weather, make business plans, identify fish in the area, or market their catch online.

As we closely engaged with stakeholders, we discovered many insights beyond the technology that helped provide objective and actionable recommendations for the government: language and technology literacy, the sociocultural connection between the fishermen and intermediaries, and the apps' lack of localization efforts.

Financial institutions. Conventional banks are rethinking their business models due to the emergence of fintech startups. Many efforts have been made to accelerate digital transformation through technology adoption, changes in attitude, and culture.

The banking industry is one of the most promising but also one of the most rigid to break into—typically bound to comply with countless rules. Changing practices is difficult and takes time. Through our work with clients using Service Design Sprint and Design Thinking 2.0, we helped many financial institutions avoid making bad investments in their digital transformation efforts. We have also been working with international clients interested in tapping the Indonesian market or in developing new product lines in their own countries. As a third party, we are able to guide clients to view their projects from entirely different perspectives.

One of our international clients asked us to conduct UX Research and Design Sprint activities to evaluate and redesign their products and services in the telecommunication industry. This more traditional company was not familiar with interactive UX methods or direct engagement with end users. It was a risky decision for them to embrace our findings, which suggested they target a completely different group of users. In the end, they embraced our research and quickly learned how the agile UX process helped them to design and build products better suited for the audience they are now targeting. Soon after, they received multiple awards for their updated products.

Many projects entrusted to my team are often complex and controversial. While it can be challenging, it's also a joy to continuously reflect upon and improve our HCI and UX approaches to achieve the best possible results for our clients. I look forward to continuing my work to help people and organizations create better technologies.

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