Belarusians don't test anything on Belarusians

Why we rarely create thoughtful IT products

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In a column for, Aliaksej Kulbicki, art director of Minsk-based PRAS company, talks about a problem which, in his opinion, hinders Belarusian product development. 

In Belarus, a high-tech software product is very rarely made from scratch, from start to finish. The essence of orders from abroad is to buy our programmers' time. They come up with a program there and research it, and send it here to write the code. Why does this happen?  

The fact is that there is simply nowhere to learn UX / UI design and practice it in Belarus. At the same time, we have a lot of specialists of this profile, judging by the vacancies database. But most of them are people with an intuitive understanding of UI or people with a non-local education. In other words, developers either copy successful solutions in a talented and unaccountable manner, using frameworks and guides, or take the difficult route, working and communicating with foreign customers and often studying abroad. But borrowing ready-made solutions does not mean creating something new. It is very difficult to become a flagship and trendsetter in this way.

Let's recall what UX and UI are.

UX (User Experience) is the user's feedback, the experience of working with your software, and often unconscious expectations of the future product. UI (User Interface) is a user-oriented interface. UX/UI design involves creating an aesthetic and user-friendly interface based on the behavior of the target audience. 

Ideally, every software design should be just that.

This is why qualitative development is usually preceded by research. Take a control group, give its participants a prototype of your product and check whether you have drawn a user-friendly interface or not. Make changes and check again. And so several times. As a result, you get a product that you can use to enter the international market.

Let's be honest - who conducts product research here? Even in large public projects, research is almost never included in the budget. The product is released and strikes out on its own, although it could still be tested and modified for some time, so as to improve it by an order of magnitude.

The current situation is as follows: our IT company receives an assignment from a foreign customer, along with the results of a study that has already been carried out. Here, we have everything ready, they say from abroad, and you just program it. Take any outsourcer. The orders they carry out are the orders from major foreign companies. Accordingly, all the research is done in the countries to which these foreign companies belong.

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