Olivier André has been associated with Design in one way or the other for more than ten years. Starting his career in interior design Olivier studied fashion design and worked for major fashion companies in Mauritius before transitioning to UI/UX.
How would you summarize the state of UX Design in Africa in 2021?
UX design in Africa is a relatively new discipline, yet we find interest in UX design has increased significantly. Fintech and Agriculture sectors have understood the value of research-driven design. Countries like Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya are becoming tech hubs where the more established UX studio and communities are found. The market and awareness of UX are still young but dynamic with more African students are opting for UX design careers.
Africa boasts some of the world’s fastest rising economies, yet it hardly has any organisations designing exceptional UX. Your thoughts?
I think that the demand is the main problem on the continent actually the biggest UX projects, unfortunately, are not found on the African market. With the rise of remote working the best UX designers on the continent have more the tendency to look for jobs in the European and Us markets. Unfortunately, Africa has also a problem of low internet connectivity which is around 22% for the whole continent that can make the investors reluctant to invest in digital projects.
What is the most significant challenge that African design experts or professionals considering a career change in UX Design face?
The challenge actually is access to a quality job in UX, the lack of big tech companies on the continent is making a career shift difficult.
The number of big tech companies is quite limited on the continent, therefore it makes it difficult for new starters to get the experiences needed to become experts in the field. Becoming a good UX designer is a long journey and mentorship and guidance from experts are crucial to learning the tricks of the game.
Personally, how did you conquer this challenge?
From my personal experience, I’m always having an eye on the latest trends in design. I spend much time on the Behance network where I came across live videos on UX design proposed by Adobe. I started to follow different leading designers on the platform and read a lot about the subject which help me to build my UX portfolio. I sharpened my UX skills by taking different online courses and completing a couple of professional certificates which helped to land several interviews
In your opinion, how can the global UX community help foster UX Design in Africa?
I think that to boost UX design in Africa, exposure to tailored-made events for the continent is important. Africa has specific needs in terms of design and to be able to make the existing industries adopt a user-centric approach will be the first step. How people look at the continent has to change as well, we have to stop looking at Africa as a country because it is a continent with 54 countries with different cultures and economic statuses. A more regional approach will be more beneficial for everyone as it will outline the real problems that UX and technology can solve. I think that regional UX boot camps can be a very good move to boost UX on the market.
This article was last updated on November 26, 2023; Originally published on November 16, 2021