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NigeriansTalk and my Geek World

May 4, 2009

Although I may have been quiet here for a couple of weeks, I have somehow found time to put together a guest post for I think I needed a deadline and commitment guilt to spur me into action!

My post ‘Let’s Talk about Web Baby!!- Nigeria Emerges‘ covers a couple of Nigerian blogs that feed my insatiable appetite for Nigerian technology innovations and web startups. It’s an empowering thing for me, as a Nigerian who works in technology, I want to see Nigeria represented on a world-wide platform but I would like to see us leaving out the mistakes those ahead of us made on their journeys.

A little about my career, I work in a field known as Usability/User Experience. We are a group of web geeks, product designers, interaction designers, information architects (and much more) who have a passion for design that supports what real people do in real situations.

One of the founding principles is this; you can’t design for everybody, but you can design for somebody. Knowing your audience, taking the time to research them, knowing their wants and basic needs means you negate the risk of missing the mark completely.

This is my request of Nigerian web startups, they need to do some more thinking about who they are designing for. If it’s an international audience, I beg, take it easy on the Naija English, make sure you’re meeting and setting higher standards and not falling below what’s out there.

I’d like to add that while the colours green and white provide an instant sense of national identity, they don’t always make for the best web colours; have you ever thought of the colour blind person? Red-Green colour blindness (where people can’t tell the difference between red and green) is the most common and usually affects men more than women. An entire site in green is asking for some issues on this front.

Make sure people can do the most basic things on your site i.e. the things your site claims to let them do. A few things Nigerian websites have failed on in my experience; an order online facility that asks you to phone a number when you’re finished filling your basket, a sign-up service that only accepted yahoo email addresses and an online radio that required you do download a 25MB application!!!!

I could go on, and on and on, but alas I want to keep this brief. Lets encourage startups, I can’t recommend the StartupsNigeria blog enough, as well as being a great gateway to new products, Loy always does a summary on the main features and what his take on the product is.

My one bit of professional advice to the Nigerian startup is that the idea is not enough. Make sure you know who you are designing for, why they would use your service, what their physical needs are and that your site makes it easy, simple and pleasurable to achieve their goal. Sounds like common sense huh?!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Danny BaGucci permalink
    May 4, 2009 11:17 am

    All these tech stuff do my head in.. so unfortunately i can’t relate… Can understand the bit about designing for somebody not everybody tho..

    Joined the NaijaPUlse thingy today out of curiousity!

  2. LoloBloggs permalink
    May 5, 2009 9:20 pm

    Hey DannyB I think my tech stuff is still easier than your manipulation of the English language! lol!

    You’ll have to tell me how the NaijaPulse thing goes…

  3. Ore permalink
    May 6, 2009 10:43 am

    Hi Lolo,
    It’s interesting discovering your blog, which I found from your post on Nigerians Talk.

    I use NaijaPulse and Twitter and while I have experienced some of the benefits of micro-blogging (e.g. being able to get answers to questions very quickly), it has not yet become an integral part of my web day (i.e. checking email first, then fav blogs, then websites…. ).

  4. LoloBloggs permalink
    May 6, 2009 11:03 am

    @Ore I think the best way to micro-blog is to do it the way you are, small doses when you need to. I’m not on NaijaPulse yet…but I’m ecouraged!

    BTW, Your blog is now in my reader as are the natural hair links you posted, still getting to know my ‘Fro so inspiration is very welcome!

    Thanks for coming by!

  5. webround permalink
    May 7, 2009 7:11 am

    sometime last week, guardian newspapers published an interview with Yardua on their website. You could barely read the interview. Why? They didn’t bother to delineate between the question and response. something as simple as putting the questions in bold font and the responses in regular font could have made for much easier readability.

    in terms of usability, a lot of naija web sites are not even doing the basic things not to talk of the more advanced stuff like accessibility (for color blind people and disable people)

  6. LoloBloggs permalink
    May 9, 2009 5:17 pm

    @webround I saw that article, they had a 150+ line paragraph, I couldn’t believe how awful it was.

    In my profession I’ve learned that ‘basics’ is a big term, the same way common sense isn’t common to people, basic web principles are not basic to most websites!

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