Some waves meet the land and some meet each other :)

Koh Nangyuan beautiful islands near Koh Samui, Thailand. The crazy and choppy catamaran ride was worth it ğŸ˜±.

There is beauty left in this world but we as global citizens have to be weary of plastic. Although there are restrictions in Koh Nang Yuan, few plastic bottles are seen and thats very sad!

Even in Koh Samui which is bigger island, plastic is used blatantly. The guavas that we bought from local market was packed in each plastic bag!!!

The Tesco’s and other super markets are not helping either. There are piles and piles of packaged drinking water, I wonder what were the options before the advent of commercial drinking water and what do locals drink.

There are laundrettes and water dispensing kiosks but the service is not publicised enough.

So travellers when you go to pristine locations and even otherwise, it is your responsibility to guard it. Please carry cloth bags and re- usable water bottles. Be eco friendly so that we can cherish the planet a little longer.

Beautiful Bali

It was an interesting experience to view Hindu culture from a foreigner’s perspective not that I am very religious in any part of the world 🙂

  1. Religion and Show Off

It was thrilling to see statues from Mahabharata and Ramayama, beautifully presented in white and gold and full of virtue. Less colours more emotions!

Yes, Bali has largest Hindu population, but there isn’t any mention of longest, tallest or wealthiest temple. No gods seemed to be fighting for popularism and each one seemed to be at peace with the space, pace and tranquility. In short it appeared that human politics and insecurity has not corrupted religious aspirations.

There is a tendency to find and acknowledge guiding forces in everyday things. I was very surprised to see statue of ‘Rice Goddess Dewasri’. The statue stood in her most graceful self in the paddy feilds.

DSC02685

2. Religion and Attitude

Balinese have revered the practice of offering to the natural forces, be it the seashore, the 5 star rated resort or a moving car, this practice was followed 3 times a day. It was a very humbling experience to notice that irrespective of their social and economic statuses Balinese don’t forget to be thankful to their surrounding forces and I think that the reason why they are so humble and welcoming.

Another striking characteristics is the creativity. Bali appears to be mecca of all creative arts. Silver/gold jewelry, leather works, handloom, batik, wooden and stone sculptures… Bali has it all. You also find arts from the other parts of the world! but it just means that they can master any art.

DSC02678.JPG

  1. Religion and Sense of Humor

Kecak Dance – The most intriguing part of this musical show is the there are no musical instruments used in it, the troupe creates music by repeating sounds i.e Kecak kecak kecak…

It had a class and spontaneity and the whole crowd enjoyed it. It wasn’t religious and didnt feel the need to be righteous. Hanuman would flirt with the crowd, the narrator would rave about Sita’s beauty in an envious way just a reminder that the gods were as humans.

DSC03074

Apart from this, yes there are pristine beaches and green paddy feilds and genuine smiles.

Language of Body

Just as good looks deceive so does a dominant body language.

Recently, we have happened to watch street show at Disney. My LO had not known STAR WARS till that time.

And of course who can beat Disney, surely mavericks they are. But it so happens that my LO thinks the opposite 😦 to him the Darth Vader and Kylo Ren are the heroes!

Cant blame him, but I am worried mother!!!

Inspite of explaining it to him several times, it doesn’t work. I have not found a solution to this problem but I have understood the problem finally.

The play requires little kids to play JEDI. Sometimes the light sabre is heavier and taller than the kids enacting and hence they struggle to put up a fight against the dark side heroes. Sigh!

But when the Darth Vader and Kylo Ren enter the plot it marked with high pitch volume of the signature tune. Ofcourse they are well dressed and they can very well manage their light sabres!

They speak english and they always belittle the fighting efforts of little JEDIS. So even if the audience gestures they go back to their dungeon and they do, they are still seen as hero by my little one! to the extent that black is now his favourite colour.

I can just ignore this, and be happy that some day LO will know the truth.DSC02458

But I have to be on my vigil now. Our mind processes these cues subsconciously and by experience, but i think it now needs to be taught to decipher, coz good people can have bad body language and vice a versa. We might be in greater danger than we think.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beyond-words/201210/the-science-body-language-the-debates

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_language

 

 

Demon – etisation,

This vacation was a medley of different sorts, apart from meeting close relatives I was more interested in knowing their views and experiences on demonetisation.

On 8th Nov 2016 the Indian government demonetised circulating notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000.

I tried to speak to as many people wanting to hear views and experiences in 1st hand. I am not interested in chinese whispers of media or gossip mongers.

So when I spoke to

Army men – they said the terror funding has reduced by 85 -90%
Rickshaw walas – I asked them what they did when passengers didnt have money, He said kya karen? baad main dena.
Ola and uber drivers – they said it hasnt made much impact,
Vegetables vendors in city – They managed to sell prepaid bunches.
Vegetable vendors in Hingewadi – managed with PAYTM on the 3rd day.
Fruit vendor in Parle – kal dena
Doctors and dentist were not so happy
Beautician wasnt that excited.
Chemists – pay later. or they can come home with the card machine.
Carpenter – refused cheque since he had swipe machine.
My friends and cousins working in the corporate world are happy.
My parents and other senior citizens got preferential treatment at the banks.
Corporate banker is happy too.
My folks in villages in konkan are least affected too.

I wasnt there long enough to understand why prices of vegetables and dals have fallen down and to know what happened to the beggars at the signals and temple gates because they couldn’t be seen!

Demon in disguise!

Some people have claimed deaths due to inconveniences caused by demonetisation. If this is true this is sad.

But there are so many variables to the cause and impact. and which variable is important – emotional, social or economic? After all it is money, honey!

 

 

 

We, the Beings

Whats up with the technology talking to each and the humans ceasing to do so? It appears that the humans are getting anti social and the technology is getting social!

Some glaring examples would be Amazon Go and chat bots.

I wonder why we are doing this to ourselves. What is it that we want to prove?

A- We are so smart that we have created a substitute for humans (as if there are less humans on this planet)

B- We want to save money (Save money for what and how?)

C- We don’t need anyone (really can a human not need another human?, but we were the original social animals, correct? )

D- People are so difficult to manage (Yes we are difficult, but so are machines, codes and garbage that comes from machine waste)

E- We want things fast, fast, fast really fast (How fast is really fast? Can 9 pregnant women delivery in one month? )

etc. How far can we go with these excuses? So much apathy and we talk about design thinking and empathy!!!

How ironic we have become? Can human social needs be really ignored? Will the crime rate reduce if we are surrounded by machines and codes? Will earth be a peaceful place if we cannot / do not want to share it with others?

There is nothing new in these questions, probably we have sensed it. But why no one is alarmed?

Well I am, and my resolution for the coming years will be to encourage and retain human experiences not just in my life but in others’ too.

So,

I am going to switch off my phone.

I am going to smile and talk to co passengers.

I am going to spread the word…

What are you going to do to retain the human touch in your world?

Think, think, think …

A brand, a product range : The appeal, the Endorser

57f4866fd1726_patanjaliherbalcig

A few days ago I was very delighted to buy Patanjali Hing from a Pakistani store in Hong Kong.

There was a sense of Indian triumph for ‘Made in India’. Staying away from the motherland I am always at my patriotic best. I am and was in awe although Patanjali is not my kind of a brand. What I mean is I won’t go out of my way to buy the products.

Just the day before, I stumbled upon Patanjali Atta Noodles in a different online Pakistani shop. I was very interested to try the product so added in the list. I usually add products over the week before I check out. When I told my friend, philosopher and guide about it he scornfully ridiculed me and asked me not to buy such products.

Right now I checked their website, and ohh my …

There might be ‘customers’ who use these products and will vouch for the brand. And I can understand their preference for the oils and the dhoops, but why on earth should this company / organisation get into making noodles. What is the endorser’s service to humanity for promoting such fallacies?

How on earth, eating atta noodles healthier than eating plain dal chawaal?

Marketing gimmick of getting into the market when the competitor is low (Maggi fiasco) might cost a lot to the brand.

A brand has an appeal and hence the choice of product range. The endorser has an image that too should reflect on the product range. In this case the endorser is also the owner of the brand. God bless the complications.

I find it quite gross that Patanjali also has a beauty products. Come on now! Baba Ramdev and beauty ???

Something is seriously wrong…but surely not with me.

 

 

Pondering on my digilife and more…

14199679_10156227582791515_6706337143618644405_n

It is very strange to see the parks and the gardens crowded with Pokemon Go players. Sometimes they do talk to each other though but most of the times it is a silent affair.

The audience is quite diverse, but mostly it is young boys. And sometimes it is young mothers with kids.

Earlier, while travelling in a local transport it was always the helpers rather women folk enjoying candy crush. These visuals were so common that I was afraid that I might get some cavities in my mouth 🙂 Now there is addition of pokemon players or whatsapp lovers or facebookers.

The world that we are transitioning into seems to be a lonely place. Although I am not a talkative person, I shudder at the thought that soon there will be digital interfaces to interact with.

The other day when I was travelling in a Tesla the huge interactive screen excited me, but I was happy to talk to a human driver. After a couple of years a driver would be a luxury or a liability. (And when I mention Tesla I cannot stop thinking about Mars and when I visualise life on Mars I cannot stop thinking about Interstellar.)

I fear that the transition from human to semi automatic to fully automated is happening too fast. For various reasons we are getting pulled into it and I am very nervous.

I shudder that the movie “Her’ will become a reality and I will have digital daughter-in-law and grand children if that would be possible at that time.

I am experiencing a sense of urgency, fear and pressure to broad this digital bandwagon or get left at the outdated platform.

I just want to hang on and go slow.

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-4-03-57-pm

It is not about product launch, it is about harvesting ecosystems

In this very real world, good doesn’t drive out evil. Evil doesn’t drive out good. But the energetic displaces the passive.

  • William Bernach

The above can be a good analogy in the design world –

In this very real world, good design doesnt drive out bad design. Bad design doesn’t drive out good design. But the energetic displaces the passive. 

Apple is the prime example here. As we have followers and blind followers of the brand there also people who hate and despise it to no end.

Still to no ones surprise, the brand will post yet another record profit.

The reason being that Apple event is not about a single product launch. It is about their ecosystem. After every 6 months, they are enthusiastically upgrading and adding newer species to their ecosystem. They are making their ecosystem stronger with devices and technology. The old ones are removed and the ecosystem is kept healthy.

So when a customer buys an apple product, the brand knows that sooner there will be an ecosystem following him. No doubt the products are great and offer consistent experience, but apple makes sure that the customer can never break the ecosystem. Either you are part of it or you are out. This exclusivity also acts in a favour of the brand. While for those who are out of the system will feel that the grapes are sour.

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-3-46-55-pm

At one point of time I used to be fan of Metro interface of Windows phone. I bought 2 phones in that frenzy. I was happy with the wireless charging feature and the UI. In lieu I had lesser choices in apps, which didnt bother me much until the phone conked off.

I got 1% return for a phone that wasn’t even a year old, the hell started breaking loose. How could a loyalist be treated like this?

What I had not realised back then was robustness of offering. Windows phone didn’t have any ecosystem in hardware or apps. It was destined to fail the customer since there wasn’t enough energy/ motivation in them to drive it.

And hence, how the energetic displaces the passive.

 

 

UX and swimming

I am learning to swim 🙂 I was trying to swim 10 years back too.

But this time it is easier and I have managed to make significant progress. I am doing it by my own. No tutors or classes. So as I am gleaming in my self proclaimed achievement, I wondered why this time the experience was so rewarding and here are my notes –

  1. I wanted to learn for my own sake
  2. I practised the patterns
  3. I create my own template for the pattern.
  4. I tested what I have learned and practised so far.
  5. I updated my templates as I was live testing.

Viola ! I know to swim.

This may sound like an agile spirit rather my swimming lesson. But that what it is! Apart from being my passion and my source of bread UX is now teaching how to learn new tricks 🙂

The important distinguishing factor is that the user is motivated. Learning – UX can move mountains if they are motivated.

The second would be – I worked on the swimming patterns to the limit of creating a memory for my hand and leg muscles. And when the muscle memory was strong there was no friction in learning. Learning – Muscle memory rules. UX patterns should leverage this memory.

Most of the times while working on design projects, the client insists on creating a new design just for the sake of being a path breaker. This causes friction for the users trying to explore it. Seamless experience is the most important aspect of interactive design. It should  be realised that interaction patterns are just a way to achieve a goal and creating a new patterns should not be deemed as the goal.

Learning – Create a friction for the users and you will find yourself drowning if not gasping for breath!