At DesignWhine, we first met Eric Puplampu, a Lead Product Designer at Affinity Africa and co-founder of UXGH, when we published a short snippet about his experience with ADPList.org in our previous issue. We were intrigued by the community work he was doing in Ghana, his home country, as much as he wanted to collaborate with DesignWhine over an exclusive interview.
When we connected over a video call, and a jubilant Eric spilled all the beans about this community of 250 practitioners that he has founded along with other designers Eldad and James Badour (co-founder of ADPList.org). The launch of UXGhana has its fair share of struggles as the prominence of UX design is fairly recent in Africa.
The handful of designers that there were didn’t know the design ecosystem. That was where Eric and his colleagues decided to come to brush up all those misconceptions and streamline things by founding UXGH.
Tell us a bit about UXGH and how you started it?
So, it basically started with a tweet from Eldad who wanted to have a community say a kind of meetup where UI UX designers can come together and learn about design.
So, he started with a tweet and then myself and James hopped on – Hey let’s get started, let’s get to a meetup and that I guess striked the conversation. So that’s what started the UXGH and then discussions between us led to our very first event in August 2019.
We see that UXGhana is mainly driven by Whatsapp. So what kind of activities or engagements happen there?
We are on whatsapp, LinkedIn and twitter (not to forget that) because we realised a great percentage of designers can be found on these platforms. The first is Instagram, then is LinkedIn and third is twitter and we were like okay these are the hotspots to connect with our viewers and members in Ghana.
And how do you enroll new members? Is it an invite only platform or is it open to everybody?
It’s open to everybody because we don’t want to be in the vein of being just for senior members of mid level. We wanted to be as open as possible because we can have people who are just interested in it, who fall in the space of enthusiasts and who want to learn about product, UI & UX design.
When it comes to women in design then how has the participation of women been? I could see some pictures of women being there in that group. So, I was curious to know what kind of role women play in UXGhana?
That’s a good question. So, one of the things we always preach is to have that kind of diversity and inclusivity in our community. So, if I remember correctly , almost half of the members of the community are women. Some are deep practitioners, some are aware about it and want to learn more and then some are just curious about to see what’s happening in the design space. So, we have a good percentage of female members in the community.
We also see that in your profile you have a lot of affiliations with having to do with design in Africa. You have a lot of experience working in the African design community. How would you say how mature UX Design is in Africa as compared to the rest of the world?
I would say our trajectory is kind of similar to what’s been happening in India. It is kind of gradually moving up. It hasn’t become that kind of top most as you see in the UK, USA or somewhere in Canada, I don’t want to put a scale but gradually it’s moving up in the African ecosystem. But in Nigeria, I am seeing they are growing even faster than us. I don’t know if it has to do with them being more kind of driven and quicker whereas we Ghanian are kind of more relaxed.
Speaking of which, do you plan to expand UXGhana beyond Ghana and Africa?
Yes, so the goal is to build programs that would aid people to better connect and to build better products. We are looking to expand and this is one of the reasons we are partnering with various organisations such as DesignWhine who can help us expand not just in Ghana but in other ecosystems as well.
This article was last updated on November 26, 2023; Originally published on November 15, 2021