We sit down with UXBERT, the leading pioneer in user usability and website development in Riyadh, to find out what makes them tick.
School buddies, Nadeem Bakhsh and Farrukh Bandey felt a duty to bring user experience and usability to the Saudi market. In 2012, pushed by a client, they founded UXBERT; the coolest consulting agency this side of the planet. Fast forward a couple of years and one R2D2 robot later and Yousef Shanti joined this duo in their bid for world domination.
What is UXBERT?
A boutique web and mobile consultancy, specializing in User Experience (UX), Usability and Ecommerce. A play on the word ‘ux expert’; we believe User Experience is what matters.
What ignited the idea of establishing a usability lab here?
We tried booking a flight home to Riyadh from Dubai; let’s just say it would have been easier to walk. The only way to properly design and develop beautiful experiences for Saudi users is to actually test with them, not just by bringing it here.
Surprisingly, IT people -the ones that actually design and develop the country’s software infrastructure- understand the importance of usability and UX, but do not adhere to any of its strict protocols.
What is the most difficult thing about delivering your products to the masses here?
There are two main problems. The first one: hiring; we spend a huge chunk of our time looking for talented people with the right skills and mindset. Most applicants barely survive our rigorous interview processes.
The second problem is, businesses do not understand why our projects cost twice as much and take twice as long; we do a ton of user research, strategy and testing behind each project, which obviously makes x+more time.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve discovered about user behavior here during your research?
Over here, every user starts telling us what we should do- and that what we’ve done is completely wrong.
How do you see the tech industry in Riyadh unfolding in the next few years?
There is a lot of interest, and hopefully people will start following the correct processes to achieve real results. A lot of companies have noticed us – one even copied our tagline! Thing is; we have R2D2 on our side.
What’s the most important aspect when developing an app or a website?
Test with real potential users; the user is always right.
Any plans on taking over the world?
This is actually already a part of our pitch for how we disrupt the Saudi IT market. While those in Saudi Arabia import specialists and consultant experts from around the world, our team is actually exported out of Saudi to USA, Europe and Asia to train, manage and work with the biggest companies and vendors in the world, including the world’s largest corporate intranet in the world after the US Department of Defense.
We were also awarded and recognized as one of the most influential business technology authorities on Twitter in the Middle East region and just last month we were nominated to be on the Forbes list for shaping Saudi Arabia’s future!