• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Kazeem Onafuwa and design: The impact of UX on innovation


The main aim of developing a product centers around meeting a specific need of your target audience or user.

The role UX plays in ensuring that this goal is met is often undermined by many organizations and business owners in the past and today. This is a perspective the best UX designers have continued to correct with the development of innovative products that meet the identified needs of customers.

One of such UX designer that has crossed boundaries developing intuitive customer-centric products design based on the understanding of user pain points and needs is Kazeem Onafuwa, who has over 9 years design experience spanning across e-commerce, travel and the agric tech industry.

As an Arts and Graphics Design graduate from Yaba College of Technology in Lagos, Kazeem has always been intrigued by customers and how they see and think of products.

When asked why he opted for UX and not UI, Kazeem revealed:
“Users have always been part of the design journey since before the existence of technology. Growing up, my curiosity always gears my thoughts to imagine products in a sorting way. Holding a physical product, I often visualize creative alternatives to developing a usable product. I have always craved the urge to solve real-world problems and little, day-to-day, seemingly insignificant challenges. So I decided to pursue a career in arts. I ended up majoring in graphics, which led me to believe there is more to creating designs based on instructions and designs should be approached from user needs and problems.”

Kazeem, throughout his work history, played an active role in developing products or introducing new services to organizations he worked at. This was possible because he realized over the course of time and through research that customers saw beyond how a user interface is being presented if it can meet their specific needs.

At an early stage of his career, he identified that the idea behind every innovation centers around the users. After creating designs for successful brands such as Mr.Biggs, Dulux Paints, GOTV, and so on, he realized that an organization needs to opt out of focusing on what they want to create for a customer to actually what an end-user needs.

Kazeem identified that brands and organizations did not retain their customers because of the absence of critical contributions a UX designer would have offered. These contributions include; up-to-date user research, defining and identifying the product’s strategy, functional testing, and developing testable product prototypes before launch.

When asked why he felt as though UX was the best way to visualize customer needs, he revealed:
“I realized this after my agency days when I moved to the client side at Konga.com, where we built products to suit each of our customer segments.”

The talented designer caught his first major break with Noah’s Ark; in his words, he would describe it as the establishment that put things into perspective for him as he got to study some of the biggest brands in different sectors such as media, e-commerce, travel, and tourism, etc. up close.

With his knowledge and insight, Kazeem joined the first e-commerce platform in Nigeria, Konga.com as a Photoshop designer. His innovative mind and skills with UX made him an asset to Konga, where he was promoted and functioned in the role of UI/UX strategist. This position allowed him to create and develop design elements for Konga web and mobile products and also mentored and trained a team of young designers, who are currently serving in various sectors dishing out design solutions both at home and abroad.

He progressed to serve in the same capacity at jumia.com, where he worked closely with teams in different countries worldwide, such as France, Egypt, etc.

Kazeem branched into travel and tourism, as the UI/UX lead at Wakanow. He played a major role in the re-position of Wakanow’s direct sales channel (website). He also created the user flow, design and animations for the PSS “Pay Small Small” (now Kalabash) product.

Kazeem worked closely and directly with the CTO, Project managers and developers to optimize and develop the website to enable new and affordable product offerings to new, existing and returning customers. He was able to reduce churn rate and help the brand increase revenue by applying UX best practices.

Kazeem met and surpassed the expectations of his employers at Travelstart, where he worked as a UI/UX designer. His product redesign of the mobile app to improve the overall customer experience was a success. His redesign with the team improved the search rate of the Travelstart app on iOS and even on Android. This was not just about the download and search of the app, but the booking rate witnessed a 5% increase.

Diving into the Agritech space; His success at Farmcrowdy has been tremendous; his innovative ideas have been able to meet customer needs and also facilitate internal growth, two of the key components and establishment benefits of a UX designer.

Kazeem had been an integral part of Farmcrowdy as he actively participated in the designing of products launched by the brand from the early stage till its launch stage. He works closely with the major executives at Farmcrowdy as well as research and content experts in designing products that influenced the lives of over a million users of the brand.

He championed major projects, which include:

● A redesign of the Farmcrowdy foods platform, web, and mobile which had a huge impact during the Covid-19 pandemic. As customers were able to order food items on the platform from the comfort of their homes and get them delivered immediately for free. The product has over 400+ users and increased Farmcrowdy’s B2C paying customer base by 56%

● Improving the information architecture on the website after user research study. This led to 63% of the customers spending more time on the website and also a reduced bounce rate to 30%.

● Actively participating in the redesign of the food value chain (Farmgate). Farmgate had a successful relaunch as it reached over 250,000 users.

Kazeem currently champions innovation at Farmcrowdy and every other organization he has worked at with aid of design thinking. This is because he had overtime garner design, product and marketing experience which has prepared him to craft smart, usable and related products for users. In his words “The key to unlocking your product’s potential is by understanding the heartbeat of your users” in simple terms – Understanding your customer wants/needs creates room for innovation.

Innovation is a key ingredient to a brand’s survival in the tech space, new customer needs are continuously identified, and products have to be built to solve these challenges, and the talented UX designer, Kazeem, will always be at the frontline of it all.

Outside work, Kazeem mentors with ADPlist to help train and nurture budding and enthusiastic designers in his bid to encourage more people to participate in this field. He also participates in the yearly Riverside Neighbourhood Care Initiatives program which was set up to encourage and give insights about design,marketing and entrepreneurship to youth who are looking for free strategies and ideas to position themselves in the industry.