A ZAPD.co.za talk by guest speaker Almari Carosini

A blog by Liesel Bester, COO of IO Digital

#ZAPD, South Africa’s brand new digital product design community, hosted its first online meetup for 2021 to spark conversations that matter to the community.

Digital product design is already pretty well established as a concept and community in places like Silicon Valley, but in South Africa, when you say it’s what you do for a living you might still be met with some confusion, even from within the tech ecosystem.

The reality, though, is that there are plenty of world-class digital product designers…


by Johnathan Dell

One of the most notable causes of change anxiety I have seen during my career working for various tech companies is not knowing how significant or breaking changes could affect the entire software development life cycle (SDLC). This is purely an opinion piece, take it with a pinch of salt.

Long-term support (LTS) is a product lifecycle management policy in which a stable release of computer software is maintained for a longer period of time than the standard edition. [1]

Choosing long-term support versions — which has long been the approach of medium- to large enterprises — has a definite advantage, as there is a very small chance of breaking changes being introduced into their processes.

The downside of sticking to long-term support is that these breaking changes are usually improvements to the software or new features that optimise and improve on development processes.

Staying on stable…


Digital product design is still in its relative infancy in South Africa. While some of us have been at it for a while, designing beautiful tech products and interfaces for people to enjoy, the industry is not that big yet. But it is growing and evolving all the time, and I believe we’ve reached a tipping point where we now have a real digital product design community in the making.

Up until now, the ways we’ve connected with each other as digital product designers were through meetups, conferences and industry events, a bit of project collaboration here and there, and…


Combine the best of Design Thinking, Lean and Agile to create products people will love

- By Bobby Sequeira

Great technology products can certainly be a lifeline to society right now, and as we adapt to a new online normal there are plenty of opportunities in the product creation space to solve many of the world’s problems.

The tricky part for any product development team, however, is the sheer overwhelming array of methodologies to choose from before they get going in creating a tech product — whether it’s an app, or software, or other tech tool for people to use.

I’m here to help. I believe if you combine the three excellent methodologies of Design…


Africa is the breadbasket of the world, but much of its agricultural value chain management and financing are still paper-based, inefficient and opaque. This needed to change.

Creating online technologies for this market comes with its own challenges.

Users, and in particular those in rural areas, often struggle with poor network coverage and high data costs, older generation devices with ailing battery life, unreliable access to electricity to charge up, and other complexities that make it hard to close the digital divide.

Luckily, when GFM came to IO for help, the IO team already had a ton of experience developing technologies that solved such problems in emerging markets.

Realising that GFM…


A talk by Nicola du Toit, Steve Barnett from Empathy Labradors

It’s not that all of the web designers out there that haven’t embraced “accessibility” yet, actually mean to be assholes to their users. Most often it’s a case of ignorance and misconception — and that can be fixed. Today being Global Accessibility Awareness Day, it’s a particularly good day to start. So let’s go. You too can become a design hero for the people. Written by Karen Breytenbach

Accessibility experts Nicola du Toit and Steve Barnett of Empathy Labradors (yes, they love empathy AND dogs) gave a rather enlightening talk at our most recent I|O Powwow about designing tech products…


— A simple introduction

By Gareth Nicholson

Progressive Web Apps or PWAs are the it thing in web development at the moment. Why wouldn’t it be? The promise of a website behaving like a native app, without all the hassles.

PWAs allow you to “install” your website on the user’s home screen, work without an internet connection and even send push notifications to users. You can also cache everything to your heart’s content, including API calls with IndexedDB. I’ll run you through the simple setup I used to get things going rather quickly with Laravel 5.4.

To view service worker information in browser when…


For The Next Billion Internet Users

As a Google Developer Expert working in Africa, I work at the coalface of tech for emerging markets, and one of the web tech developments for this market that I am most excited about is Progressive Web Apps or PWAs.

By Johann du Toit

For a long time now the distribution of online content and services between the developing and developed world was shockingly unequal, but now we have a chance at making all of that more fair, especially if you consider that the biggest predicted growth markets for the internet in the next decade are mass market consumers in…


For Curious Programmers

Machine learning is transforming the world around us and enabling technology that previously only existed in sci-fi movies.

By Alex Conway

Instead of needing to hand-code rules to solve challenging problems such as computer vision, speech recognition and self-driving cars, programmers can build systems that enable computers to “learn” how to solve these problems on their own. Put simply, machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that enables computers to learn from data. Give an algorithm enough examples of solutions to a problem and it can learn how to predict solutions for new unseen examples.

This type of problem…


How to do a fast and powerful brainstorm for great ideas

Embrace the “Nano Sprint”, a brainstorming tool to mind map potential prototypes using the Google Design Sprint approach — without losing your core team for five days! Spoiler alert: It will take them only about an hour.

By Johann du Toit

Building testable prototypes using the Nano Sprint

One of the scariest things about launching a startup must be not knowing whether you’re really onto something. Startups in the ideation stage can run all sorts of processes to make sure they have a bullet-proof idea, of which one of the most useful has to be the Google Design Sprint. …

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