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Optimizing Technology: Why Nigerian businesses should invest in user research – Patrick Ogundele

Using the population index, Nigeria has the biggest market in Africa with a population of almost 200 million.

Lagos, being the nation’s commercial hub, is quite responsive to the global trend. For decades, only banks were predominantly among the early adopters of new technology.

Today, businesses in Lagos have taken a surprising turn where most companies are digitalizing how they push their goods or services. With these many opportunities, spotting the right ones to spend time and resources on can be pretty tricky and challenging as there’s no shortage of good ideas.

The important question is which will move the needle and make an impact? Real change takes many years and requires each generation to embrace the obligations and opportunities that come with it.

Patrick Ogundele, a User researcher at Jewel Potters Ltd, which specializes in logistics, real estate, and agro-tech, explains how underutilized and neglected the role is in Nigerian businesses (especially startups).

He believes the role needs to be getting more recognition which has driven his passion for creating awareness among users/customers, stakeholders, and directors on the impact of user research on business success and sustenance and how all play a role in its successful materialization. Despite the wide acceptance of technology in businesses today, a pattern has emerged in the Nigerian market where users/customers are not accommodated into the business decisions, particularly in FinTech where users are constantly lodging complaints that are never tended to or addressed properly by the company.

In observation of the trends in startups, we notice that investors do not want to risk time alongside capital before they break even and get their returns (ROIs). Hence, an intricate need for user/product researchers who help eliminate time wasters from any business project. User research impacts product strategy – from the conception of an idea to the delivery of the product and it is also an important differentiator among the competition in the same market. According to Forbes, companies are seeing a positive correlation between User Research and Profitability.

This lag is uncommon in the diaspora, as a user researcher has proven to add value to the business. Whatsapp, Door Dash, Facebook, Uber, Instagram, and Twitter uses AI, Cloud technology, and other feedback systems to include features for retainers and success. The argument is concise, businesses may not notice a problem relating to customer satisfaction and how significant it is, but product research spots that and recommends steps to rectify it thereby leading to stickiness to the product. We might always use Whatsapp regardless of the new platforms that may arise primarily due to the success of their User research system, they know when and what features to add for users promptly.


     “We don’t want to push out ideas on to customers, we simply want to make want they want.”

This approach to business is a pathway to success and customer retainers because when you know what the customer needs you can direct your decisions with that consideration in mind, that way they do not feel left out. This will in turn foster loyalty between the customer and the brand. To bridge the gap between User and Product, we must endeavor to include users in the design, development, and going live phases. A poor user experience creates a user gap – the distance between a product and the intended user. But with User Research, not only would we have heard pain points that prevented exclusion; but we’ve also uncovered areas of opportunity for clients to expand on and improve their products to promote inclusion.

The way forward is to align business goals with customers’ experience by giving importance and integrating roles like User Research into the business systems. Tech roles aren’t just limited to coding, software development, UI/UX designs, and product management. You can be more, there’s room for more. And with this awareness of a marginalized role as a User Researcher, you can begin getting the necessary knowledge, skills, methods, techniques, and tools needed to champion this role.

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