By Nareh Bekmezian and Jasmine Jiang
In honour of Black History Month, UW/UX would like to take the chance to recognize and celebrate a few Black designers who have made incredible contributions to the UI/UX field. We would like to focus on two designers specifically who have made significant and key developments in increasing diversity in the world of design.
Wes O’haire is a black designer that lives in Southern California with his partner and two kids. He currently is a product designer at Sequoia Capital, an American venture capital firm, where he uses design to help change how early on companies get surfaced, evaluated, and funded. Before that, he was a senior manager leading teams at Dropbox and Hudl where he led their partnership products with Nike.
He founded BlacksWhoDesign, a Twitter database that highlights all of the inspiring Black designers in the field of tech. BlacksWhoDesign gives new designers an opportunity to broaden their skills, get inspired, and discover their talent (Iyama, 2020). The website offers a chance to nominate other black designers as well! Feel free to browse through BlacksWhoDesign to get to know more inspiring black designers in the industry.
As a well respected and innovative designer, O’haire has been invited to and spoken at Framer Loupe in Amsterdam, Leading Design Festival, Facebook Design Lecture Series in London, Birmingham Design Festival in Birmingham, and Parsons Real Talk in New York City.
Mariam Braimah is the second designer we will be focusing on today. Originally of Nigerian descent, Braimah was born and raised in New York and now resides in San Francisco, California, where she works as a product designer for Netflix and is also the Chief Executive Officer for Kimoyo Insights.
Growing up, an interest in architecture led Mariam to pursue an undergraduate degree in History of Art & Architecture from Harvard University, but more experience later on allowed for her to realize her passion for UI/UX which she then pivoted towards. In 2018, Mariam founded the Kimoyo Fellowship, a design program centered around learning and developing the foundational skill set for aspiring product designers in Africa’s leading tech companies. Now, as the Chief Executive Officer at Kimoyo Insights, Mariam works to further expand Africa’s largest database of user testers that assists businesses all over the world in gathering UX feedback.
Imaginative and inspirational, Mariam Braimah is empowering not only the next generation of black designers but also women in tech to find their places as they break into the tech and design industry. In 2018 she set out to defeat the status quo and change the design industry, and ever since then she has been steadily increasing Africa’s prominence in design on a global scale.
UW/UX is a club that strives to recognize and celebrate diversity. We are committed to creating an inclusive space for all creators and to foster awareness within not just the student design community, but the whole of UWaterloo.
Iyamah, J. (2020, February 21). 10 inspiring designers in Tech to follow this Black History Month. Medium. Retrieved from https://medium.com/black-ux-collective/10-inspiring-designers-in-tech-to-follow-this-black-history-month-64ebfd6a3679