A Day with Onuoha UI
Onuoha UI isn’t a new name in the Port Harcourt Design community and beyond. He is known to always use the catchphrase “I Dab” when putting out his great content; be it a word of advice, lectures or resources that help people become the best they can be.
Today I’ll be spending some time with him, don’t think too much… it’s virtual. I will be asking him questions to know him and his craft better.
You know, when he posts on our WhatsApp Design Community Group, he’s name shows as “Onuoha UI” I always wondered what the “UI” in his name stands for and because I am in the tech space, I thought perhaps it meant User Interaction? I was curious to know what his initial stands for, and so one day I asked him “what is your full name please” his reply, “Onuoha UI.” Well, I got to find out what his full name is, after he posted a certificate of his completed online course. Do you want to know? Ask us in the comment space below!
Thank you so much for having me here.
Onuoha UI is a force 😀.
I am a Designer first, then a Software Developer, and most times an Instructor.
I am the founder of AlchemyPro a product design startup in Nigeria.
Q: What are your hobbies?
😀😀😀 I have always tried to run away from such questions, but, I love to watch cartoons, the like of Moana, Pirate Fairy, Lorax, All Hail King Julien, etc. I also love listening to motivational audios, I chat a lot especially during weekends and I cherish staring at my computer screen.
Lol, thank you from not running from this one. 😂 I see you haven’t let go of your inner child.
Absolutely not. I love to bring back my childhood in anyway possible, so any slight opportunity to play, I hold it dear 😀.
This reminds me of a movie I just watched. It’s called Tagged. Very interesting. It’s about kids who played the game till adulthood and kept the kid in them alive.
Q: What are you proficiencies?
I am proficient in Product Design/ Development, Storytelling, Teaching and Writing.
There are other things that I have as expertise, but these comes first.
Q: How long have you been in the design space?
Well, I have been in the design industry for 13 years now. I started in 2003 with CorelDraw 9, and Photoshop that was also in late 2003. I think that was when it was released for commercial purposes.
But I have designing professionally for 9 years now.
Q: Why choose this path and how was starting out like?
It was never my choice.
I didn’t think that I was going to become a designer or a developer, or even into tech. I will call it my first date with destiny.
Growing up I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to draw people, improve positive facial expression, because somehow I was allergic to anything thats is ugly.
I was doing some paintings, portraits with pencil, charcoal, dust, and rust, and bones at a very younger age.
I just completed my JSS3 and waiting to go into a senior class, and this was in 2003.
My elder sister had also graduated from senior secondary and got a job as a secretary in a computer school while waiting for her university admission.
I always followed her to the Computer School, and that was how I started.
I couldn’t study Art in school, I could get an admission into a university to study Computer Engineering and Environmental Design, so I went to a College of Education where I Studied Computer Science and Mathematics.
In 2011, I decided to take design as a career and that is how I got here.
Every action I took in 2003 baked me into what I am today.
That was the year my sister started teaching me HTML and CSS and that also stirred up the interest in me of building products.
Q: What is the name of the higher institution you attended?
It is called Federal College of Education (Tech.) Bichi.
The School is located around the outskirt of Kano State.
Q: Do you have mentors? If yes who are your Mentors?
No, I don’t have mentors.
I follow some people who are doing what I love and who passed the path I am on already.
I love what they do and they inspire me.
People like John Obidi, Chris Do, Mark Zuckerberg, Olakunle Soriyan, Irene Ochem and other amazing people out there.
Q: There was a lot of buzz between you and Canva recently, What was that about?
Yes truly, that was my Second Date with Destiny
Design has always been the skill that propels our startup. That is what usually give us quick funds to run most of our personal projects.
Around August 2019, my computers broke and it became too difficult to fix them.
At that time I was still running my volunteering program with a Brand Engineering Company in Port Harcourt.
I was doing the corporate designs for them, and Canva was one of the tools some of the team members use to get work done.
This time I only had a new Infinix S4 smartphone and I started to use Canva more.
I employed all of my design skills and started to work with my phone. I was able to produce the most amazing design you could have ever imagined that was designed from a smartphone.
Talking about UI designs, Brand System and Strategies assets, Identities etc.
Certainly, Canva heard about me and my skills, I was contacted, that was how I became a Canva Certified Creative and Ambassador with a strong niche around designing with a Mobile app.
The buzz started even more when I created a community where I teach this skill for free, because I realized that SMBs need to perfectly communicate visually and ‘good design is good business.’
As of last February I was the only CCC in Nigeria.
In February, I also welcomed the Canva team on their ever first trip to Nigeria for a collaboration with LEAP Africa, where I joined them to train 20 Fellows who were selected for LEAP Africa Social Innovators Program.
Since then I have been able to empower over 3000 Nigerians to design with Canva.
Interesting. Now I see where the UI initials come from lol… Finally got to see your full name in your certificate from the certification course you took online.
Q: Tell us some more about your Product Design Startup AlchemyPro
AlchemyPro is a product design company, and what we do at At AlchemyPro is that we pick up real problems and create solutions around them to help individuals and businesses become effective and efficient leading to success.
We are just about building products that will make life easier and also products that will be accessible to anyone in the world, irrespective of your location.
We aim at improving the educational system, lifestyle and social status.
Currently, we are working on one of the most interactive learning communities existing, and we called it EARNFLIX.
I have the best team in the world, we all work from home even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are doing our best to make sure that the product is ready before the end of the 3rd quarter of 2020.
This learning platform is geared towards producing original and evergreen content that will very much be accessible to anyone anywhere.
We also have other products that are already in the making and we will definitely talk about them very soon.
Q: What are the challenges in your space?
Being a citizen of the startup world is quite a war. Even though you are aware about what you should do and how to do it, most times you still feel limited with resources and capacity. That is why it is very important to know how to build capacity and grease it with concrete relationship.
The startup world is already a war zone and it is like a survival of the fastest.
The competition is high, and it is not enough to just launch a product, you need to be innovative about the product before you and your product get swallowed by another shark, because of the fierce competition.
So keeping up with trends and innovations is a big challenge, but it is something that must be done and that is why you need to build a strong team.
Capital is also a huge challenge. You have this big idea and you want it to take off, yet you don’t have enough capital to invest into your company.
One other thing that concerns me the most when it comes to my space, directly or indirectly is the race for a better climate.
I am building a global brand, and even though this doesn’t affect me directly I see this a huge limiting factors for almost all tech startups.
There are diversity challenges, hiring and management challenges and even the bias people have on products that are built with high-end tech and robust intelligence.
Q: How are you surviving the times of the Covid19 pandemic with the #stayHome and #lockDown order?
It is not easy I must say, but we have to do this to be safe and keep others safe. Even though I have been working from home since 2015, there are some things I would still love to do outdoor.
I understand that other businesses are fighting hard to embrace this reality, but it is a moment to draw back, away from the fight and prepare for a comeback.
It is a moment to build structures, relieve long term stress, activate business systems, stay close to loved ones more, and prepare for a new world economy.
It is my earnest desire that by God’s grace we will all come out of this strong, and complete.
Q: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I will like to train more people to live their best lives, by doing what they can do best.
I want to increase my income, very important, and make my team strong.
Q: Finally, Any word of advice for upcoming designers?
Yes, It is not enough to build proficiency as a designer, you should also thrive for expertise. As the world is innovating every day, innovate yourself and your skills as well.
Don’t give up at any point. Keep showing up and let people know what stuff you’re made up of, that is the only way the right people will show up in your life.
In this journey, you need to be disciplined, diligent, humble and build a strong character and culture.
Design every day, if you don’t have a computer, use Canva to design from your smartphone.
Remember, 7 days without Canva, makes one weak 😆.
Take a look at the great work that Onuoha UI has done here
Interested in starting a conversation with Onuoha UI? You can reach him via
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