Start-ups

Indian-based Nihilent opens UX lab in SA

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LC Singh, Nihilent executive vice-chairman, and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan during the official opening of Nihilent's UX lab in Johannesburg.
LC Singh, Nihilent executive vice-chairman, and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan during the official opening of Nihilent's UX lab in Johannesburg.

Indian-based consulting and solutions integration company Nihilent has opened a user experience (UX) lab in SA, the first outside India.

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan officially opened the lab in Bryanston yesterday.

The Pune-based Nihilent says the lab offers a setting to innovate, drive a deeper understanding of customers, and build products and services that create an emotional connection with users.

The lab uses a patented design thinking framework and analytical tools to identify cognitive and emotional triggers as well as non-verbal modalities of user experience with the goal of further humanising the interaction between users and technology.

The facility has a start-up-like feel to stimulate innovation and foster creativity.

"We are thrilled to have chosen South Africa for our second UX lab in the world," says Jeremy Ord, Nihilent chairman.

"We believe South Africa has the skills base to support our vision for the lab. South Africa's emerging economy has tremendous growth potential and we are fully-equipped to offer innovative products and services to our customers in the region."

Nihilent says the massive adoption of digital technologies, exponential increase in connected individuals and devices has given rise to a new type of economy.

It points out that millennials today hold the potential purchasing power and are spending more on experiences rather than just services. Fuelling this economic shift is social media, a medium that lets everyone showcase and share their experiences, making these moments tangible and worth returning for, it adds.

The experience economy is one of the biggest and most significant global trends, reflecting consumers' changing attitudes and expectations, says Nihilent.

"If you want to build brand affinity for either product or services, you need to give customers an experience, something memorable they can connect with and relate to. In a hyper-connected world, that's your currency," says LC Singh, Nihilent executive vice-chairman.

In conclusion, chief technology officer Gunendra Patil says: "Design thinking reduces the ambiguity in innovation by involving the customers on prototypes to find, test and improve concepts. Funnelling towards the pilot is efficient as learnings are derived from simulated environments and not static data.

"The user experience trend goes beyond the inclusion of just bells and whistles. From the proof of concept to prototype, empathy and understanding are key to enhancing the usability of the product/solution and customer."

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