Business & Future of Work

Mariam Elshebokshey

UX Strategist and Co-Founder of nxt.u

UX Strategist and Co-Founder of nxt.u


Using UX to Humanize Design

The late Don Norman, inventor of the term “User Experience”, or UX, said “my goal is to humanize technology, in part by making it disappear from sight, replaced by a human-centered, task-based family of information-appliances. Easy to learn, easy to use. Easy to understand”. Products that provide great user experience (the iPhone may be the best example) are designed with not only the product’s use in mind but also the entire process of acquiring, owning and even troubleshooting it. Similarly, UX designers don’t just focus on creating products that are usable; they focus on other aspects of the user experience, such as pleasure, efficiency and fun, too. In other words, User Experience (UX) is what a user of a particular product experiences when using that product. And a UX designer’s job is to create a product that provides the best possible user experience.

Egyptian Mariam Yusuf Elshebokshey, is a User Experience (UX) strategist, co-founder and learning experience director of nxt.u, the first practice-based design school in the Middle East (by designers for designers). Mariam has been working in the design industry since 2008. She applies design thinking process hand to hand with human-centered design techniques to achieve the most usable and lovable Products/Services and business growth.

Mariam’s journey from student of Arts to a UX strategist and mentor has been long and not easy. “It was my dream to become an artist, for my love of painting. After finishing high-school though, my marks weren’t favorable and I had to join the faculty of commerce. I went to the campus just to join the poetry and drawing activities. After the first semester, I found out that I can actually join the faculty of fine arts in Minya” says Mariam. After one year in Minya, Mariam was able to join the faculty of arts at the Cairo University.

“From the beginning, my goal was to make an effect and to create ideas that serve humanity and the environment. I found that my job helps me achieve this goal. I listen carefully to people, empathize with them, understand their needs, problems and what they want to achieve. Then I analyze these findings and start to think for a solution that could be useful for them, and achieve a cheerful and lovable experience for them”.

“I was focused to work on myself. I tried hard to learn, and communicated with designers and researchers all over the world. I travelled to learn. I spent all the money I got from work on my learning journey. The community of UX designers was so narrow and unknown. I faced too many challenges. After struggling and learning, I started to share what I have to help others to reach their goals. Now I am a mentor at two of the biggest learning platforms of the world. I partnered with Waleed Fahmy and Sara Zouhdy of webkeyz (a company that designs products and experiences) to establish the first practice-based school to teach user experience and design. We don’t just teach people the user experience but our goal is to let them use their senses and learn how to listen, how to analyze, how to think outside the box to find solutions for products/services that people use”.

“This is not the end of the story... It’s just the beginning. The more I learn, the more I am thrilled to know more and it motivates me to share and give”.

Mariam has attended Design Thinking Process workshops with: – School of Design Thinking – Hasso-Plattner-Institut – Germany – IBM Design Thinking Conference – Google Design Sprints. Has Worked on many projects for clients from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Canada and the UK. She is a mentor at Coursera for the Interaction Design Specialization by the University of California San Diego. CSS Design Awards has mentioned her design in 2014 (One of the greatest design projects of 2014).

Her passion is designing for Humans, Travelling and Human Relief activities.