I spent more 4 months travelling in the Middle east. At the end of my journey I started to work as a communication officer in Jerusalem, where I spent 3 years.
In 2009 I started to work on complicated projects. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs developed a project to encourage the joint-venture between the Palestinian SME and the Italian one. As you can imagine it was quite a delicate project which required sensitivity and diplomacy. When you think about Palestine (the project was only for west bank based SMEs) you think about war and conflicts – well that is Gaza. The actual problem is not the conflict but the difficulty the SMEs of the west bank face to export their products. Other problems included but were not limited to obtaining machinery and expertise to improve production. Despite the challenges there was plenty of untapped business opportunity. Marble, wood, leather and oil are just a few of the possible businesses that an Italian company could potentially develop with a West Bank company.
The problem now is how explain this to the italian business man? How can you convince someone to invest in an unstable country only famous for war and conflict?
The answer is surprisingly simple. The Italian government offered a loan with zero interest to the Palestinian-Italian join venture. This was enough to capture the attention of many businessmen. The best way to promote it was through classic channels such as press releases on the website of the Chamber of Commerce and direct mails. So we moved our target to the website.
The communication was addressed to specific companies. This ensured we would not have a line of SMEs applying on the website just attracted by the credit.
During the first meeting about the project, the Accounting Manager explained how to access the credit. The procedure was long and complicated and unsurprisingly involved a lot of bureaucracy. To ensure the quality of the project there was a strong selection process and the SMEs (Italian and Palestinian) must present a project together.
So now think about an expert Accounting Manager bombarding you with complex forms and contracts and rules that the SMEs have to agree with and follow to have access to the credit.
Between my office and the meeting room there was a long corridor with many paintings. I like art and often spent some time admiring copies of Seurat’s Grande Jatte and Circus.
Seurat helped me to realise something with his paintings. From afar a scene of people on the grass but up close it is just a messy group of coloured points that together make a beautiful painting.
In contrast to the complex bureaucracy system, the solution of my UX problem was to organise the information in auger friendly way.
The best advice i could give is to always divide the process into small tasks, every time accomplish a task a feedback. Just like the Monet paintings, these small points are integral to the bigger picture.
Repetition in the UI was also another key. It is not only important for the UX but also for the developing.
First: access to the credit is divided in other 3 part: information about the credit, how it works and who can access to it.
Second, Know the market explore of the palestinian economy for general information to case studio to the local law.
Finally, realise your idea! This delicate part helps the user step by step from the presentation of the project to find a Palestinian SME to inspire the new born joint-venture with case-study.