Senongo Akpem is a designer, illustrator, and the founder of Pixel Fable, a collection of interactive Afrofuturist stories. For the past fifteen years, he has specialized in collaborating with clients across the world on flexible, impactful digital experiences. He is currently the Design Director at Constructive, a social impact design agency. Previously, he was art director at Cambridge University Press, where he led a global design team.
The child of a Nigerian father and a Dutch-American mother, Senongo grew up in Nigeria, lived in Japan for almost a decade, and now calls New York City home. Living in constantly shifting cultural and physical spaces has given him unique insight into the influence of culture on communication and creativity.
Senongo speaks at conferences around the world about cross-cultural design, digital storytelling, and transmedia. He loves any and all science fiction.
How much consideration have you given to how the text of your site is rendered when it’s localized? Do you consider whether your webfonts load in China? How dense your paragraphs appear in Korean? How your buttons grow (or shrink) in Japanese? Senongo Akpem covers all this and more in this excerpt from Cross-Cultural Design.
Real creative change can happen. And is happening and thriving—just outside our usual circles. Senongo Akpem talks about how the design community has changed, and how venturing further afield can help us push the “Reset” button.
Good workshops start long before you get everyone in the room. By setting goals, creating an agenda, and communicating early and often with your attendees, Senongo Akpem shows how you can set your workshop up for success.
Practice makes perfect, but how do you help your team practice difficult conversations? Senongo Akpem shows how roleplay can help new managers learn useful techniques and gain confidence for those tough discussions ahead.
Mentorship isn't magic; training doesn't just happen. You need a clear process in place to train junior team members and give them the skills they need to grow. Senongo Akpem shares his process for asking questions and tailoring projects to match a team member's abilities.
Half of all web pages are in English, but only about 28 percent of people using the internet speak English as a first language. Fortunately, designing for non-native English speakers doesn't have to come with a huge price tag. Senongo Akpem shares three straightforward strategies for making your sites and apps more usable for non-native speakers.
The web operates in ways that can conflict with our traditional view of what a “story” is. Content is chunked, mixed, and spread across channels, devices, and formats. How do we understand story lines, characters, interactions, and the role of the audience, given this information sprawl? Cue nonlinear narratives—Senongo Akpem guides us past basic “scrolly-telling” to immersive, sometimes surprising experiences.