UX growing tall in South Africa

“A meaningful experience, if done well, will become a shareable experience.” – Kari Peters (Head of User Experience and Content Strategy at Clicks2Customers)

​Polymorph got the opportunity to take a peek inside the rapidly growing User Experience Industry and Community in South Africa. Six Polymorph employees attended the second annual UX Conference at the Waterfront in Cape Town last month. We heard from a number of fantastic speakers and took away many valuable insights.

Day one was predominantly focused on the many forms UX is taking, and the current state of UX in South Africa. From behavioural change to machine learning, to the age of intelligent everything, a clear thread running through most talks was the need for empathy towards users.

The UX Community is steadily finding its feet, but many challenges remain, both in education and in the workplace. Dr Marco Pretorius and Jason Hobbs shared a truncated version of their research done on UX in South Africa, especially with regards to a lack of UX learning on a tertiary level. As mentioned in their findings, “…more short-courses that can rapidly upskill individuals will help. Of those that currently exist, increased close collaboration with industry to determine which skills are required is recommended…followed by the effective marketing of these offerings.”
According to their report, some of the biggest challenges in the industry are:

  • Budget
  • Process challenges
  • Lack of skilled UX staff
  • Time constraints
  • UX buy-in​

At Polymorph we have dealt with many of these challenges, but more and more we’ve seen how a proper User Experience Design process benefits the products we develop. This ties into Nic Evans’ talk on day two about the dangers of faux UX. What resonated with us was “…if you can’t explain you methods, do they exist?” As we’ve been refining our process over the last year, we’ve been continually reminded of the importance of a thorough process.

The refinement of this process is what makes a good UX team a necessity for any product development team. As Jen Poole from Deloitte Digital so accurately stated: “Work harder to demonstrate the value of UX. Good UX is a team effort.”
In summary, this year’s UX Conference was definitely worth attending. What we would like to see is a more thoughtful User Experience for the conference itself. It is a mere two years old, and we are excited to see how this event will grow in years to come.


Richard Barry
Richard Barry
Chief Innovation Officer at Polymorph

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