Optimizing UX for Mifos X – Deanna “Takes 3” to Join our Community

Deanna_smallOne of the hallmarks of the current Mifos product is its simple and familiar browser-based user interface. As we launch our new Mifos X platform, we want to retain the essence of this user-friendly UI while injecting a modern refresh into the design of the platform.  As a platform, we aim to have one consistent user experience with products and applications that are as usable and accessible to our global community as Mifos has been.

Once again through our partnership with Social Coding 4 Good they are connecting us with incredible talent to further our mission. We are delighted to have the opportunity to be working with Deanna McCusker from VMware. As part ofVMware’s Take 3 program, she’ll be spending her three-month sabbatical optimizing the overall user experience of the platform including redesigning the user interface of the core products on Mifos X. Deanna brings to our community more than two decades of user experience design so I’ve eagerly entasked her with a sizable project plan.
As she immerses herself in our community and the Mifos X platform, she’ll be coming up for air to give us updates and interesting finds on her journey at her Take 3 blog.
Read on for more about Deanna and join us in welcoming her to the community!
Deanna has a degree in Industrial Design from Carnegie-Mellon University and a long career in user experience (UX) design in the Silicon Valley with companies such as Cadence, Intuit, Hewlett-Packard, Symantec, and VMware.
Deanna has always had an interest in giving back through volunteer work.  Early in her career she considered quitting her well-paying technology job to work full-time for an environmental non-profit, but the job didn’t take advantage of her passion and skill for design, so she decided she could do more by giving money instead of time.
When her current employer, VMware, began a program offering employees a 3-month sabbatical to work on a project they were passionate about, she researched the community service opportunities only to find they were all looking for programmers.  It wasn’t until Ideo.org came to VMware to do a one-day “design-a-thon” to use mobile phone technology to improve sanitation in Ghana that it occurred to Deanna that good design could contribute to improving third-world problems.
Deanna began her “Take 3” project this week with Mifos.  She will be researching how people use Mifos – traveling to India and Kenya to meet with users to better understand what works well for them and what is difficult.   With this data and her deign skills, she plans to update the user experience to better meet their needs.   She looks forward using her design skills to make a meaningful impact on the tools that help financial inclusion for the poor.
Deanna has been working with Mifos for just one week, but has already learned a lot about the financial needs of the poor.  She had no idea microfinance would be so interesting!

Fun Facts about Deanna:

Favorite Food: Japanese (not just sushi), Vietnamese
If Deanna could travel to one place in the world, it would be:  How can I decide on just one place?  I have not yet been to South America, Australia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia – there are so many places!
Interesting fact about Deanna: I’ve done two half-Ironman triathlons, which is probably as close as I’ll ever get to a full Ironman.
Relevant Skills: User experience design and research on desktop, web, and mobile applications.
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