Design in Nigeria
Nigeria, a country with over 140 million people is leading the way in the Africa technological revolution. Just recently, flutterwave (a payment solution company) exceeded the billion dollar mark in terms of processed funds. Other fin-tech companies like paystack, paga, vogue pay, are all making waves on the continent with millions of dollars in investment. The technological boom in Nigeria is however not limited to fin-tech or e-commerce. Several other tech startups are also making the country proud in their fields. Hotels.ng (a hotel booking site), gamesole (a video game company) and jobberman (an employment company) are among these startups.
Wait, are we digressing a little bit? Well, no. We are still on course. The truth is that with the increase in the number of great tech products coming out the country comes the need to pay more attention to the design of these products. “Design is problem solving” a great designer once said. Users don’t really care about the product or all the papparazi that comes with it; users only care about getting their needs met. So, any product that is designed with solving a need in mind becomes the winner any day.
So many startups in this part of the world don’t realize how important design is to the success of their startup until it is too late. They tend to just get some templates from somewhere, do some editing and boom the application is up and running. Careful analysis of user needs is not done, some are not even sure the kind of users they are going to have. The association between business and product design cannot be over emphasized. I can remember back in school, we did some proof similar to this; we say if A is in B and B is in C then, A is in C. The same can be applied here, design is tied to product, product is tied to business, therefore design is tied to business.
Another problem facing product design in Nigeria is the designers themselves. I must say at this juncture that we have seen considerably good improvement in product design in Nigeria but most of our designers still feel their job is to add colors, layouts, typography and others design elements to the application and they are done. That couldn’t be father from the truth. Design is always about the end user and his needs not just our understanding of color psychology and layout patterns.
Software development has greatly improved in Nigeria. The quality of codes we ship and the things these codes do is gaining global recognition. Aside from the fact that investment in the industry has helped greatly, tech meetups and the number of tech evangelist we have has also been of great help. We learn how the greats do it and get the chance to network with them at these events. I believe if similar thing is done in the design community as well, we would see significant improvement in the quality of design coming out of the industry.
Another way we can improve the quality of design coming out of the country is for designers to see themselves as problem solvers. We need to look beyond our knowledge of design elements to actually making the user journey a more enjoyable one. Users should want to use the product because of our input. They should want to subscribe to the service because we empathize with them and know what they really want. If you ask, I would say every designer should study psychology; we need to know the people we’re designing for and structure our design base on these knowledge.
The tech revolution is here. Developers are improving greatly. Our designers need to improve at the same rate if we are going to have that combo as the rest of the world does.
Thanks for reading. See you next time.