by ‘Damilola Oyedele
The WOW guys are Babatunde Aka-Bashorun and Mark Alastair Slade, the founders of World of Web (WOW) Design Nigeria and UK. They talk about work, life and what gives them the ‘WOW’ factor.
Tunde: International School, Lagos and University of Lagos, B.Sc Civil Engineering,
Mark: St Laurence School, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire and Bachelor of Science Degree from Loughborough University in Computer Science and Business Management
How did you get into the ‘world of web design’?
Tunde: In my years doing marketing and advertising, the internet was a frequent research tool for me and I used to come across countless sub-standard Nigerian websites. When Mark broached the idea of setting up the West African arm of his UK design company, I immediately saw the potential of finally having a world class web design company in Nigeria that wouldn’t break anyone’s bank! We registered the company with minimal funds and started sourcing for clients via word of mouth. It wasn’t easy because we only had the UK website as a point of reference and there was a lot of scepticism about dealing with a developer abroad, but we are slowly and surely forging ahead.
Mark: I established the UK arm of World Of Web Design (www.worldofwebdesign.co.uk) in April of 2009 with a view of serving both local and global clients. After a positive year I approached Tunde with the offer of partnership for World Of Web Design Nigeria. We worked together in 2008 for MADE Magazine. After careful preparation, the new West African arm was formed in January 2010.
What do you do when you’re not ‘WOWing’?
Tunde: Football, video games, reading, music and movies.
Mark: Technology. Football (playing both 11 and 5 a side regularly), Tennis. Watching Movies.
The downsides of the work?
Tunde: People underestimating the power of the web and thinking that business will always be done face to face; clients thinking that cheaper is better, and thus trying to drive our fees down because they can get the job done cheaper; clients constantly changing their minds about their design direction, etc.
Tunde: I love the fact that in our own little way, we’re helping the average Nigerian business have a window to the world through the worldwideweb. No matter how small a business or individual is, with a wow website, they can display their products or services to every internet user the world over, with just a click of a mouse
Mark: I love achieving what we set out to do. Gaining requirements and presenting a suitable solution which is designed and developed effectively, ensuring a very happy partner. Gaining genuine leads and working with clients who are prepared for a working partnership to ensure we achieve the perfect deliverable.
What’s your ‘WOW’ factor?
Tunde: We aim to make having a website an indispensable business tool for as many businesses as possible, regardless of the nature of the business. To this end, we want having a WOW website done to be as easy as ordering a meal from a restaurant. This is why we offer our clients ‘bespoke’ web design services with unparalleled quality and simplicity at extremely ‘Naija Friendly’ prices.
What’s the web design industry like right now, locally and globally?
Tunde: Locally, we have a number of Web Consulting companies who’ve been established in Nigeria but due to lack of patronage, we’ve had to diversify and offer other IT and Web related services. We are mainly focused on delivering the very best value for money websites Nigeria has ever seen! Globally, there are opportunities for web design companies in the less developed parts of Europe, Asia, the Middle East and so on.
Mark: Globally (and certainly more commonly for me in the UK) the Web design industry is more varied than any other I’m familiar with. You can pay huge sums of money for high-end services, and at the other extreme, be bombarded with low-end offerings who ‘sell them low and stack them high’. To some extent the industry can be compared to that of double-glazing! It’s very competitive and value can be hard to be perceived. We’re out to make developing partners happy.
Plans for the future of WOW:
Tunde: We aim to develop and grow into a world class company known not only in Nigeria but also spread our reach to the continent and beyond in the future. We hope to positively impact on the economy and be a source of gainful employment to Nigerian youths.
Mark: Company expansion, increasing local staff members, improving customer service and broadening the WOW brand and the potential of rolling out WOW Design to other countries.
What are the prospects for new entrants into the industry?
Tunde: There are always prospects in the service industry in Nigeria and indeed Africa by virtue of the sheer numbers of our population. It’s up to the individual to be sure that he/she has something worth offering the general public.
Advice for fledgling web designers?
Tunde: Make sure your design team is top notch; don’t think of the financial rewards until you’re certain that your service is worth paying ‘extra’ for.
Mark: Web design is a competitive market, a portfolio of work with a WOW factor is advantageous. Be patient with client’s changing requirements and be sure to deliver what you propose to deliver and always communicate with your customers!
Tunde: You don’t need a cannon to kill a mosquito
Mark: “When you’re in a race for quality, there is no finish line”
Check them out at www.worldofwebdesign.com.ng