Case study

Evangelizing UX in Africa

In October, 2016 I had the opportunity to travel to Lagos, Nigeria to teach UX skills and mentor a small software team there. The project was sponsored by My Skills for Africa, an organization within Microsoft, whose mission is to promote economic development on the African continent.

Microsoft delivers benefit by building capacity in scarce skill-sets and infrastructure in African communities, which are an emerging economic force. By building capacity in infrastructure like connectivity, mobile device use, and skill sets like software design and development, Microsoft creates a ripe market to which it can sell Windows-based devices and Azure cloud-based services.

My mission took me to tropical Lagos, Nigeria, where I worked with a young team of software developers with Lotus Beta Analytics. The company founder, Ademola Akinbade, wanted his developers to learn how to design and build mobile apps that are beautiful, intuitive, and exceed customer expectations. To that end, I conducted a 2-day seminar on MoneyBall, hypothesis-driven design through rapid experimentation--as well as, mobile, interaction and visual design best practices. The team was eager to learn and receptive to these new ideas. They learned the basic concepts of Moneyball, a user-centered design process. They learned to think in terms of scenarios, learn about and consider users, sketch UX, wireframe interactions, and validate their ideas with REAL users.

I was drawn to this project for multiple reasons. First, because I’m interested in the notion of helping an organization evolve, in this case, how a team of software developers without designers and researchers can become literate in a process that will help them deliver better-designed software without these skill sets. Understanding how to help guide entire teams evolve, I believe, will be useful to me in future as a team leader, manager or thought leader in the Design field. And second--on the more personal side, I have a keen interest in cross-cultural experiences--I love to travel, learn about the language, food, music and art of people from other cultures.

Deliverables: Workshop materials, training, mentoring.