My name is Joseph Benson-Aruna. I’m a UI designer and product manager living in and working out of Lagos, Nigeria.

I’ve spent the last 8 years learning to become a better designer and picking up a couple of cool gigs to experiment along the way. It makes me cringe to think that if you’re active on the internet in Nigeria, you’ve most likely interacted with something I designed. I apologise in arrears and in advance.

Between 2013 and 2015, I worked at Jobberman.com, first as a full time hire and later as a consultant. In my time there, I led the redesign of the flagship website, worked with product managers to improve the hiring product for employers and made tweaks to some of our internal tools. I wrote about some of it here.

Jobberman was my first real job in a structured environment. I learned how to work with engineers and PMs in an 'agile' environment, how to care about business objectives as a designer and how to handle criticism of my work. It was an amazing experience and I made life long friends.

From 2014 to 2015, I worked at VConnect.com. I had joined to help design a mobile app that took advantage of the throve of data on local businesses the company had to help build a formidable local rival to Foursquare. As fortune would have it, not long after I joined, the company decided to pivot to ecommerce. This would mean that my main purpose for joining was defeated. But I still tried to get some work done. I worked with an external designer on the company’s rebrand and helped give direction to other talented designers and frontend devs on the team.

At VConnect, I got a hang of working in remote teams, learnt how to ‘tweak’ HTML/CSS, and became quite comfortable with the iterative process of designing.

As the first quarter of 2015 was ending, I got hired to the Application Development unit at Interswitch. Here, I worked with amazing engineers and designers across a lot of products. Among other things, I led the design and implementation of a pattern library that brought a unified look to our internal and corporate apps, led the redesign of the Webpay payment gateway, and led the design of the Verve World and Quickteller Mini mobile apps.

The reason you see ‘led’ a lot above is because that was the major lesson I picked up from working at Interswitch. I learned to drive and own things. This was down to two things;

  1. I had wonderful bosses who made it clear that you don’t need a title to make an impact.
  2. I headed two designers that were so much better than me, I had no choice but to step up my game, learn all I could from them and still earn their respect.

I also learned to understand and take advantages of processess. Done right, having a process can make your life and that of your colleagues blissful.

In 2016, I left Interswitch with the dream of working with more Nigerian startups to help them understand the value of design and its effects on their bottomline. To be able to live that dream without starving, I joined TeamApt where I currently work as a product/design consultant.

That’s about everything professional to know about me. On a personal note, my friends think I’m a fun person to be around. I think it’s down to the fact that I’m a little bit into reading and can talk about almost anything they’d like to talk about. Except of course, the billion other things I have no idea about that they gracefully choose to ignore.

If you’d like to meet and talk about anything, you can reachout on Twitter or send me an email.

Thanks for getting this far down. Have a 🍪!