This Freedom Day, 27th of April 2013, we celebrate 19 years of freedom. I want to take this opportunity to reflect on the User Experience (UX) industry in South Africa, and the impact it has made in the short time that it has been around.
If anything, there are opportunities when it comes to User Experience which have never been explored before, because it is relatively new and people have not fully grasped the concept of User Experience, and do not understand what it actually means. With the internet providing so many definitions it does not help the User Experience “struggle” but instead further confuses the everyday South African. We have an opportunity here to get people to understand it.
User Experience (UX) can be explained as the feeling or impression created when interacting with a company, its brand or service and how this is communicated and perceived by users within the digital realm.
It might seem strange that I’m writing about Freedom Day and linking it to User Experience. You are probably wondering what one has to do with the other? Well believe it or not, I think there is an indirect link between the two, and I will do my best to demonstrate that, and hopefully by the time you’re done reading you will understand my point of view.
Freedom Day: Commemorates when South Africa became independent from the oppressive powers that be and a better life for all was promised to the people.
This meant that South Africans were given freedom of expression and people could study what they wanted and where they chose to. User Experience could now be given a platform to spread all across South Africa. How has Freedom Day and what it stands for influenced the digital industry? South Africa is a young democracy, and we are still being introduced to the vastness of the digital realm. We are playing “catch-up” to the rest of the world in terms of technology and methodologies, User Experience being one of them.
South Africa’s User Experience history is younger than our independence.
UX is still being slowly introduced to the South African market, with a few exceptions of people and companies that are already, or have been, practising User Experience. What this means is that Companies can target potential users that they have never had the opportunity to reach before. By providing products and services to users who need them, brands are able to make people’s lives easier and better.
Which is what we at Origin Interactive strive to do: make a difference in people’s lives with User Experience, to educate people about User Experience and to get the public to appeciate what User Expierence does and can do for them.
With all that said, we here at Origin Interactive can appreciate what Freedom Day has meant for our industry. We strive to expand digital knowledge through User Experience. We are lucky enough to teach previously disadvantaged South Africans at a young age about the benefits of User Experience in the digital world, providing them with a platform to create a UXNation! In the words of our fearless leader Mike Lewis, who always challenges us to do great things, “Always think of ways User Experience can make everyday South African’s lives easier, and make shit hot stuff”.
Freedom in South Africa has given us the platform to plant and spread the User Experience seeds. Let’s help them grow. Viva UXNation!