Sarah Shaibu On The State Of UX Design In Africa

Sarah Shaibu On The State Of UX Design In Africa

Designwhine Interviews Sarah Shaibu

Sarah is a Nigeria based product designer and manager who’s passionate about connecting design and product management through design thinking, and exploring storytelling in videography, podcasts and writing.

How would you summarize the state of UX Design in Africa in 2021?

I would say it’s in a constant state of evolution and innovation. UX design in Africa has skyrocketed in the past year and is finally being accepted as a credible discipline. However because traditional UX does not always work in the african ecosystem and culture, we have to determine our own research methods and trends that match the landscape of our work.

Africa boasts some of the world’s fastest rising economies, yet it hardly has any organisations designing exceptional UX. Your thoughts?

I disagree, I believe there are some organizations designing exceptional UX, having worked with a few, i can say there are world class talents and agencies on the continent. What discredits African UX Case studies and talent is lack of transparent documentation and knowledge sharing, as such exceptional UX never sees the light of day to get the recognition it deserves.

What is the most significant challenge that African design experts or professionals considering a career change in UX Design face?

Enlightenment. Trying to prove your value or work to organizations in an environment where speed and results are everything, it’s hard to prove to African employers that they need a UX professional in their organization, a lot of them want a programer and thats it, concepts like idea validation and research do not stick or meet their bottom line. Most times African UX professionals have to come out as the underdog to make their clients or users understand the need for exceptional user experience practices.

Personally, how did you conquer this challenge?

Design thinking, Valid Data Collection and Analysis. I showed organizations how concepts like design sprints can generate potentially valuable information for products and services. I also collected and presented data that shows how the UX of products or services could impact an organizations profit and loss margins, people or decision makers tend to listen when you put the numbers in their face.

In your opinion, how can the global UX community help foster UX Design in Africa?

Inspiration is flowing into Africa in leaps and bounds, mentorship platforms connect African UX talent to experts in the global industry, this helps level up the skills of African talent and gives them an opportunity to glean knowledge that they can innovate for the African landscape.

This article was last updated on November 26, 2023; Originally published on November 16, 2021

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