“You are not the user.” This is the first lesson a designer is taught in school when learning how to design a product whether it is a toothbrush, a flight navigation system or a simple website. To design an easy-to-use product, a designer must be a user advocate who can speak for the end users of the product.  Designers need to understand users’ needs, wants, motivations and frustrations.

At engageSPARK, we are changing the way products are built for the non-profit world. We want to learn what works for the NGO community and avoid what has failed in the past. Understanding our users is not just about having them fill out surveys and speaking to them on the phone (which is still useful) but also asking our users to participate in a user-centered design process. We want to design ‘with’ our users and not only ‘for’ them.

engageSPARK is a self-service online solution that will enable NGOs to easily and quickly reach literate and illiterate people in 200+ countries by sending & receiving Voice Calls and SMS Messaging campaigns. We will also enable NGOs to conduct surveys, and create decision trees, reminders, and alerts. In the spirit of designing with our users, we are reaching out to various non-profit and for-profit communities around the world that have experience creating a Voice or SMS program of any type. We want to hear about your experiences, learn from you, and involve you in developing our solution. You are the expert, not us!

Who are we looking for?

  • Anyone with experience creating an SMS or Voice based campaign (For-profit businesses and NGOs)
  • Anyone interested in creating SMS or Voice campaigns to reach the poor and illiterate or to reach consumers (for-profit business sector)

Sharing your experiences (positive or negative) and providing feedback is just one way that you can help change the vicious cycle of failed ICT for International Development projects. Join us by participating in this conversation about user-centered design for International Development. Even if you have no immediate need right now for engageSPARK, it will still be a rewarding learning experience for everyone!

Email sunnyy at engagespark dot com with the following information:

  • Name and Title
  • Organization & Location
  • Brief description of your SMS/Voice campaign creation experience or needs