Original source: https://kwesefied.kwese.com/article/open-africa-initiative-championing-borderless-africa
If you’re a regular around here you know we talk often about these African borders that were decided for us.
Quick history lesson. In 1884/84 at the Berlin Conference, the world’s super powers decided to slice Africa up like a pie leaving us almost irreconcileably disconnected. The map of Africa as we know it was decided there – without our input.
Fast forward to 2017, in an attempt to undo the result of that conference in an inventive way a group of young African Global Shapers from the city of Durban (South Africa) are taking on the mammoth task of trying to “Open Africa”. This agreement was reached at the #ShapingAfrica conversations at the 2017 World Economic Forum on Africa.
The Global Shapers Community is made up of city-based Hubs led by young leaders between 20 and 30 years old who want to develop their leadership potential towards serving society. To that end, Hubs undertake local projects to improve their communities. When you consider that 50% of the world’s population is under the age of 27, you realise how crucial it is that the youth have a voice and presence in the world’s decision-making.
The Global Shapers Durban hub realised that intra-Africa trade (trade between Africans) accounts for only 14% of Africa’s total trade and are aiming to fix that by paving the way for more Intra-Africa collaboration on trade, governance and sharing of talent. The Open Africa initiative will therefore challenge policy makers on the following issues:
Infrastructure projects that prioritise collaboration between governments on road transport networks
Reduction of red tape that results in border delays and hinders movement across borders,
Championing African competitive advantages across different African markets for goods and services
These young leaders have several end-goals in bringing out the spirit of “Ubuntu” shared by Africans and help make practical the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). They hope to create a platform for sharing values and understanding of the different African socio-economic, cultural values and aspirations among the youth. As well as gain a better understanding of the challenges toward free trade-related movement in Africa to enable evidence-based advocacy. Lastly, to create an ecosystem for African youth to work collectively in identifying solutions to intra-Africa trade issues while recognising the challenges that face us all.
To learn exactly HOW this group aims to achieve all this and stay informed of their comings and goings, visit their website or alternatively follow the initative on Facebook and Twitter on
@OpenAfricaGS and @GlobalShapers respectively. #Kwesefied
User experience provides a crucial competitive advantage for brands. Ocado, Uber and Airbnb – the biggest innovators of recent years became winners in their categories thanks to their user interface, and the experience these provide.
Even though UX design is often discussed in the context of digital services, it’s actually an umbrella term for human-centered disciplines like service design, information design and graphic design. Everyone can benefit from the principles of UX design that follow the classic ‘Double diamond’ process established by the Design Council.
The practice of UX is essentially about solving problems with design. Creating user flows, wireframing and usability testing are some of the main techniques to make sure the product is good and answers the needs of its users. UX is always subjective since there’s no universal taste, though creating personas can help take into account the needs of a range of people. UX design is rooted in psychology and its main areas of interests are understanding what users think, feel and how their instincts affect these. A well-known tool for marketers, Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of needs’ proves itself handy in the case of user experiences too.
Below are some top tips for designing better user experiences:
1. User research forms the basis to any design
2. Asking the right questions is key
3. Collaboration: incorporating all stakeholders in the design process brings in more ideas and insights
4. Affinity Mapping helps visualise and come up with themes when thinking of journeys and user insights
5. Personas help to empathise with different types of users
6. Prototyping helps thinking as ideas become tangible. All you needs is a pen and paper – if a picture is worth 1,000 words, a prototype is worth 1,000 meetings
7. Iterative process = design – test – learn: repeat
What differentiates Ocado, Uber and Airbnb from their predecessors – traditional supermarkets, taxi companies and hotels – is that they’re borne out of user needs (I need food, I need someone to drive me from place a to place b, I need a place to stay). Moreover, every little detail has been designed carefully to make the experience more satisfying and to involve the least possible effort for everyone using the service. Whether it’s a visual, audio or touch-based interface, UX should be at the heart of your decisions. They say that the best services are often the ones you don’t even notice.
Part of InterFace, a series exploring – across digital and physical – how our touchpoints with brands are changing…