Design Log 1

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

It’s 12pm again — like every other day the clock rushes ahead to the midday hour.

And I have just finished talking with Emmanuel about the fourth design that we have tried out in just one week. Emmanuel is my teammate in our adhoc design team — yeah we were trying to cut costs so using my expertise in CorelDraw and Figma we tried sketching up mockups ourselves and re-evaluating the designs iteratively — nicking off ideas from dribbble and pininterest on the fly. When we started this project, all we had in mind was that we wanted to build something simple yet beautiful.

We tried naming it Nkuzi, we tried Illimi and yeah we even tried naming it Malammi but it always felt something didn’t sit right around the names. Sometimes it felt exclusionary to use a word from just one language when our goal was to actually build a learning platform that transcended one tribe or language. Our goal is to build a platform for language enthusiasts, regular people and even linguistic experts to learn new African languages in a fun and gamified way.

First it was the names — we took over three days to finally decide on a name going from Suazi to Afrolearn and now here we are at Langa which I have to say sounds pretty hipster ehn.

Getting settled with the name was the feel good part of the project, and now we are at the point where design iterations give us sleepless nights. We had guides on how we wanted it to look like we got ideas from dribbble for some generic pages — we downloaded a couple of language learning apps like Duolingo and Memrise to get a feel of what’s exisiting already and how can we adapt the ideas there to our own use case.

I already had a colour in mind (I think this is really important) and the everything that we designed had this colour as the major focus. I just felt a loud colour like Light blue was great for an App that required the user to engage frequently. It was warm to the eyes yet still catchy and pretty when used elegantly (Yeah I am elegant).

If you aren’t embarrassed by the first version of your product, you shipped too late

So we are planning to ship early and be embarassed enough!!

As I am writing now I have pretty much designed 24 screens already. Some however are mostly just onboarding type screens that require reuse of components — so no stress there, but some have been quite complex (especially knowing that translating it to dart code falls to me).
Emmanuel thinks the Pink looks nice, but sometimes it feels like he is holding back some criticism ehn, okay that’s it

Welcome to my incoherent design log for the Edtech startup Project Afroify, and I hope you hang in there as I will be writing and posting the design process day after day.

I can’t wait to see the reaction of the rest of the team when we finally show them what we have been up to.

At Langa we are trying to make learning low-resource African Languages simple, fun, practical and accessible for everyone who would love to get immersed in the African culture and society.

Watch out for it.

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