Refactory goes to Mbarara




August 23, 2019

“The launch of a website used to be an event.”

Program Director Michael spreads his arms and looks at the 70 students and staff assembled in a computer lab at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST).

“You would get invited to company parties with food and drinks, and the CEO of the company would push a button to officially launch the new website. In the past three days, you have built what people used to spend three months or even a year on. In three days, you have discussed the needs of a potential customer, made wireframes and then built AND published a website. This shows the power and sheer speed of innovation, technology and your passion!

We invited you to this workshop to show you what is possible, but more importantly: to teach you that to work in technology you need to be passionate and willing to constantly learn new things.”

How to build a website in 1-2-3

Over three days (19th – 21st August), Refactory hosted a workshop on design-thinking and web design in Mbarara. The 64 attendants were primarily students from MUST’s IT-program, but among the attendees there were also novices.

Like all courses taught at Refactory, the workshop combined soft skills with tech skills. The design-thinking class, led by Joanitah Nalubega, focused on how to build products that keep the end-user in mind. The design-thinking process emphasizes rapid prototyping and testing, to make sure that the product you are building is something a potential customer or user would want.

Once the students had made wireframes for their web sites, Maren Hald Bjørgum from Laboremus Uganda gave an in-depth introduction to the all-in-one web design tool Webflow. Based on HTML, CSS and JavaScript, Webflow is a CMS that allows you to design, build and launch websites visually.

Passion is key

In less than 3 days the students built and published websites that were showcased for critique and appraisal at the end of the workshop. The websites covered a wide range of topics, including local football clubs, boda boda-marketing, Ebola response services, mobile money agent registration and hotel bookings.

More importantly, the message got through:

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