Exploring African Culture, Design, and UX Writing with Abayomi Ahmed Tosin, a UX Writer in Nigeria

Exploring African Culture, Design, and UX Writing with Abayomi Ahmed Tosin, a UX Writer in Nigeria

Designwhine Interviews Abayomi Ahmed Tosin

A UX Writer at Sterling Bank Plc in Nigeria, Abayomi Ahmed Tosin is renowned in the African design community and frequently shares his ideas on the importance of UX design, UX writing and how design could change the landscape of the second largest continent of the world for good. DesignWhine got a chance to converse with him candidly to catch his ideas on a lot of things.

“UX Writer” as a job profile has suddenly gained a lot of prominence in UX design. Shouldn’t it be a part of UX designing?

With growing sophistication of technology, it is imperative that the communication between humans and technology becomes simpler and human-centric. UX Writing as a specialised skill and role will help to deepen and develop the process of designing the words we see on of digital interfaces. Crafting the words that enable the communication between man and machine should be a specialised field, I strongly believe.

How does UX writing differ from other formal forms of writing like fiction, non-fiction, copy writing etc.?

Foremost is the fact that UX Writing is by nature, a scientific process than an art. It involves empirical activities such as User Research and Market Research, it is data-driven, and a whole of psychological and behavioural analysis. Other forms of writing are not scientific.

UX Writing is also by nature concise. Other forms of writing are not particular about length. But in UX Writing, “Brevity is the soul of wit”.

How do you think design can create an impact for Africa?

Design, if seen from the broad perspective of creating something to be functional and useful can play a very vital role in shaping any society as it will set the tone for the social and cultural content for the people of that society.

Simply adding a “STOP VIOLENCE” sticker on my product branding or website in a way that is compelling can help raise awareness and reduce violence against women. Designing my product to be accessible by certain minority groups can be way of passing a message of inclusiveness across to the audience. An “Educate a child” banner on my website can help drive traffic to a website where people can donate to children in areas with high out-of-school children.

These are examples of how design can be used to impact the African society.

How do you think UX as a discipline is perceived in Nigeria and Africa in general as compared to the rest of the world?

Compared to other parts of the world like USA, United Kingdom, Germany; I would say that the UX Community in Nigeria competes fairly well in the ecosystem. Even as many companies in Nigeria still don’t see the need to have a in-house UX designer, they still hire freelancers to do a quick job, other can’t afford to keep one in-house. Also, many Nigerian UXers get jobs across Europe and Asia; some relocate while others work remotely.
For the whole of the continent of Africa, I won’t be able to speak much on this. However, from a distance, I can say that the dynamics are almost the same from a standpoint of continental corporations that operate in multiple countries within the continent

With the design community already struggling to explain UX to their non-designer friends and relatives, how do you explain UX writing to non-designers at a party?!

Imagine your phones, computers and apps without any word written on them; no text at all. Awful right?

Now imagine the words are there but they are confusing and don’t guide you well, and there is not instruction on if to swipe, click, type, etc. Confusing right?

So, UX Writing is the the process of crafting the communication between humans and technology. These communication can be in form of texts, images, sound/voice, etc.

What would your advice be to young and budding UX writers?

I’ll give two – Endlessly learn about your user and don’t just communicate, help.

This article was last updated on November 26, 2023; Originally published on August 31, 2021

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Written by
Rajat Agarwal
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