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India is fast adopting UX as a practice – Interview with Sudhindra V – Part 2

30 Apr

Interview with Sudhindra Continued..

Sudhindra V        Interview with Sudhindra V – Design Director for Sapient Nitro in India, talks to Unicom Tech Editorial team about his journey, future plans and Opportunities in UX field. He tells to our team that “India is fast adopting UX as a practice. Customers are now seeking high quality services, they expect great products and they want to find delight in using them.”

1.)       Could you please tell us a bit about your background and your role in your current organization?

  1. I have been in the world of User Experiences for a while now – 17 years to be precise. And loved every minute of it. Because what design does is it removes monotony and routine of a job. And you feel responsible to do something that no one has ever done before.
  2. In my organization, Sapient, I lead the Experience Design practice in India. My role is to ensure quality and standards of the designs is world class and award winning. Besides, I am responsible for hiring the right talent and providing them with necessary training and opportunities to enable their potential.
  3. I also work closely with clients to define experience strategy and vision for their organization, help them navigate the much-misunderstood world of digital and act as their point of contact for anything creative.

2.)       How has your previous work prepared you for what you do now?

  1. Each and every job prepares you for the next. One’s career needs close attention and design thinking helps take it a long way ahead and to realize its potential. And also its important that one has a holistic view and is absolutely honest with oneself of what is needed to grow in their career.
  2. I had learnt the importance of consistency and standards in my work at Emirates that stood me in good stead when I worked for a large client in HFI. HFI taught me the processes and their importance, which is a great learning to have. Initially in my career, working with the technology teams a lot helped me pull off designs that were not only creative but also that could be developed.
  3.  I see each of these as steps that one has to climb to be on the step one is at any point in time.

3.)       How do you think your work has changed from early in your career till now?

  1. It has changed quite dramatically. When I started out, design was more of an after-thought. The world I worked in was ruled by technologists and a lot of ones were good in their work. But the general feeling was that design was at best a beautiful cover and at worst, an overhead. Gradually, people understood the power of design, especially when it involved the users directly in the process. Designers were able to convincingly establish the business value it generated and that caught the eye.
  2. Because of this, early on, I had to deal with several set of skeptics each one with a view on the design. It was left to the technologist with the loudest voice to judge the quality of design and that proved counter productive.
  3. And because of the way it was perceived, it was not accorded the right amount of time or effort.
  4. But now there is a lot more understanding of the value that design provides. So clients listen to designer, provide weightage when the work requires higher levels of effort. There are bigger design teams today and most importantly, the designer has a say in decision making and a seat at the table. You can see a lot more C level executives with the titles of Chief Design Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Experience Offer etc that allude to the importance it now commands.

India Agile awards_640X300-01

4.)       What are the different tools that you use for designing?

  1. We use InDesign and Axure a lot for designing. They are packaged into design deliverables either in illustrator or PowerPoint. Adobe Photoshop helps visual designers create awesome graphics. Newer tools such as Muse help in creating new age styles such as parallax effects.

5.)       Innovation is a very widely used term now a days- what does it mean to you?

  1. Innovation is a widely used and often times widely abused term. As one design leader remarked, when they say innovation today, they actually mean design. Because design, design thinking and the expansive nature of it really aim to push the boundaries of the known world, it is nothing but innovation.
  2. For me its important that a) every single product/project/system attempts to break an existing boundary, however small and b) provide a meaning hitherto not explored to the people who use them. I believe we owe the people yet better ways and means of experiencing their worlds through the products and systems we create.

6.)       How can someone maximize their learning at a UI/UX design workshop?

  1. These workshops serve as a networking opportunity with peers – so they can form informal groups and clubs, share their designs and learn from each other. Also for a keen observer, the workshops provide a glimpse of how the world is today and what are the things they need to watch out for in the future. And the more interactive they are, they gain more.
  2. Today’s knowledge economy provides ample opportunities for a person with a keen mind and an attitude to work hard to shape his career and realize his potential.

7.)       What has been your most satisfying project to date?

  1. All my projects are dear to me. But the project I worked on for Citi Innovation Labs in Singapore – which won the most innovative project of the year award – was special simply because it was a domain none of us had any expertise on.
  2. Financial applications have great ability in number crunching and technology but their front end and the ability to pack pleasure with performance has been lacking. This project attempted to bridge that gap and create something that was unimaginable in a financial space.
  3. The multitouch digital wall, all of 132 inches, gave us unique challenges in interaction design. Additionally, the visibility it had from Citi, upto the board there, added enormous expectations to this project. All in all, to come out of this creating something special was truly remarkable by the team.

 

Devops Summit 2015_Bangalore

8.)       What ‘rule of thumb’ would you give to young designers who want to work in design?

  1. Be true to yourself. Develop your personality along with your design skills. Because the quality of thought in creating design is as important as quality of communicating that thought. Design is about creating a world much before it exists so it’s a responsible job and at the same time, highly fulfilling.