Michael Olamide

A UX Designer's Dream; Build A Gaming Empire That Empowers African Talents

Digital Creatives

Nov. 16, 2022, 11:19 a.m.

"Game Design has been a niche that has always fascinated me," said Michael Olamide, a product designer (Game UX) based in Lagos, Nigeria. Michael is a dedicated, self-motivated, focus-oriented, and passionate builder of sustainable products that yield incredible user experiences that positively affect the lives of his users.

How and why he ventured into game design

"From the console, Lol," the game designer remarked. He came across game design early last year. Initially, Michael didn't believe there was a niche like that until he stumbled on it on the internet. "I got intrigued."

As an avid game lover and player, this path aligned with his passion, interest, and hobbies. That propelled him into game design to create an understanding of how relationships were being forged between humans (players) and the games they engaged with and how he could also shape these connections/relationships.

"I didn't want to be a generalist designer thats why I ventured into gaming, and it aligned perfectly with my interests," Olamide stated.

What Olamide does as a game UI/UX Designer

Olamide contributes to the development of games, ranging from the designs of command keys/ buttons, in-game HUDs elements, Menu screens like the settings, and the game navigations. His primary role is to ensure distinct communication/feedback between the players and the games they engage with and create a cognitive experience for the players. In contrast, they engage with the game as well.

"The main goal in the mind of every UI/UX Designer on every game is that every player should have good playing experiences with the game and not get frustrated or confused with the games they engage with. But honestly, the roles UI/UX Designers play in games is challenging and can't be under-emphasized."

How Olamide has positioned himself for attractive contracts.

"Don't build in silence," is what Olamide said. One thing the game designer constantly did was spend time designing and practicing. To date, Olamide sets up challenges for himself, completes them, and posts them.

He positioned himself for attractive offers by building a solid social profile that displayed his designs. "Please have a good design portfolio, and spend more time designing and showing it. Don't build in Silence."

"A footballer must play on the pitch to show their skills, which is how the design looks. When people want to approach you for contracts, gigs, or even jobs, they want first to see what your design looks like or see some projects you have engaged in."

"So positioning yourself is to have a good social presence or mediums showing your designs. Have a good and solid portfolio that you should add to your profile."

"One good platform I encourage designers to use is Linkedin. I am speechless when it comes to saying how much LinkedIn can shape one's career. At least 75% of professionals are looking for talent, which is undeniable."

The Product Designer's projects

Olamide has worked on several projects in various industries like fintech, B2B, Ecommerce, etc. He has worked with Maliyo Games, where he worked extensively as the Game UX Designer, designing the various experiences of the game products, like the Keke Rush Game.

He's also worked on personal projects, ranging from FPS to Medieval, Sport racing and football, and so much more for PCs, Consoles, and Mobile.

He recently picked up a challenge to redesign the God of War in-game menus, which would launch soon.

"Currently, I am working alongside a wide team to ship our very first african medieval games, and it has been challenging. I have limited words to say to this but to tell everyone to anticipate the game ahead. I can't wait for this game to be published."

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Olamide's struggles and how he has managed to stay afloat

Nothing good comes easy. Olamide began his design journey as a graphic designer in 2015 but possessed no laptop. He had to share a friend's laptop and work multiple jobs to earn money. Fortunately, he landed a 9-5 job that allowed him to save up and get a computer.

Another struggle. When Olamide transitioned to Product Design around 2019, he struggled to learn. Watching videos was just not enough for him, but he couldn't afford bootcamps because the prices were extremely high. However, miraculously, he stumbled on one free bootcamp.

"I just said to myself, God sent help to me. It was a hot day when I was surfing on Twitter. Without further delay, I enrolled, and with that, I got a better understanding and approach to design thinking. But afterward, I struggled with imposter syndrome. It was like every product I designed wasn't good enough. There were times I felt my designs were lit, then boom! Feedback comes in. There were not harsh, but I questioned myself if I could get this thing."

"These struggles are real, especially the imposter syndrome, but how I overcame this was first to accept that I am doing very good, but I need to do better, and that is why that feedback was coming in. I took these feedbacks in seriously and implemented them on areas needed."

"If you start as a designer, don't build or design in silence. Have a mentor or a guide to help you when necessary. Share those designs, receive those feedback and apply them. This is how I was able to stay afloat. It's okay to feel bad at some point, doubting your potential, but honestly, you are on the right path to designing great products."

"And this is where I tell people that feedbacks are foundational or building blocks for our career growth and development. The feedback I took in helped me be where I am today, where I design "Confidently."

What makes a good user interface in video games?

When we talk about the user interface, it refers to the look and feel of every product, and it means the digital medium that "users interact with." From the word "user interacts," that is the point where users decide whether to continue using your products or not. So, a good user interface was designed with a solid understanding and implementation of design principles and fundamentals. This ranges from legible and readable typography to clear and concise images, proper spacing within the game user interfaces, eye-color balancing in the game, consistency across all design elements, and easy-to-use inbuilt navigations within the game mechanism.

A good user interface makes users happy because it makes the experiences pleasant and provides the users with easy-to-use navigations throughout the interfaces. A good user interface, again, is designed with the understanding and applications of solid design principles and fundamentals.

How can one become a video game UI/UX Designer?

"I have received questions like this numerous times about how to get started in the video game industry, and most answers I tell people is to start. I know that sounds funny, but as a principle, I have always held onto, if it comes to you, do it. However, getting started in the game industry isn't easy or straightforward, and it requires a solid understanding of design fundamentals and experiences."

"This is very important. Suppose you are a designer in the design industry with a good understanding of design principles and fundamentals and looking forward to designing video game interfaces. In that case, I will better encourage you to pick up articles and materials on designing video game interfaces and practice more. Practice! Practice!! Practice!!!."

"Designing video game interfaces is challenging, and it takes a lot of energy and thinking to develop good user interfaces. Game interfaces differ from the day-to-day digital products that most people interact with, like bank apps, food delivery apps, and much more."

"And if you are a designer new to the industry and looking forward to building for the game industry, I will advise you to enroll in design courses first to gain a proper understanding of design fundamentals. It will or may be difficult if a designer doesn't understand what design is about. So as a newbie, enroll in Graphics Design courses and UX courses, and I am happy to say, starting with this, you are on the right path."

What we should expect in a few years from Olamide

"Honestly, there is so much I haven't even shown yet. I am just getting started with the goodies I have in store for the world. I have so much potential and will make the best use of it."

Olamide is currently building a large game community platform called "Bold Community." It is a collaborative and learning community that seeks to connect and bring talents that are passionate about building toward the game industry. "I am working hard to bring the community to a global peak." Bold Community is on Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram.

"I am looking towards being a design leader. It doesn't matter if it's a big organization or not. I want to positively influence the lives of people around me or my team. Senior Director of Product Design or Vice President of User Experiences, roles like these are my dreams, and most definitely, I will get there."

"I am an individual who takes his career very seriously, and I am very intentional about it. I have strong goals and plans for my career; as I grow daily, I gradually get closer to that goal. I feel it already."

His last words

I am happy to see many people reaching out to me, telling me how I am a big inspiration and motivation to them. It makes me happy; this is why I am putting myself out there.

Now here is the point I am trying to make. Some years ago, I would laugh if told I would be where I am today. It is not that I didn't believe in myself, but in my mind, I was like, how?

This, although it, didn't stop me from believing. Whatever career path or skill you choose, it is never too late to start.

Learn at your own pace. Comparison is the thief of joy. Please don't compare yourself to those who have been there before you, but see them as a learning or motivation source yourself. Time is never an issue. Be intentional, show yourself more, practice more, and never stop believing. Apply to that job, and send that DM.

Challenges won't exist if there are no solutions to solve them.

This is me today. Although I haven't gotten to where I dream of being as a designer, I am incredibly better than where I used to be.

Don't stop building. With the help of God and your hard work, you will be amazed at how much you have grown with time.


tag: Africa, Gaming, UX design, creative digest, creatives, Nigeria, Digital Creatives,


Verny Joy Author

Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.