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 ūüė¶ 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

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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…

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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 ūüôā 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.

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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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā

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!

 

The customer is never at fault, but who is listening?

The Citibank branch near my house shut down and I wasn’t informed!! Not that I could have done anything but as a courtesy they should have for the brand they are. Any ways Hong Kong is transient so be it HSBC or CITI or salon or PARK n SHOP or even schools you have to move to affordable places.

So one day when I was pressed for money and I needed to find the ATM. Citibank HK has collaborated with JETCO and I had seen the boards at many banks in my lane so I rushed into one of them. Bank of China – I entered the card in the slot and get a bilingual screen saying the ‘processing’. The next second to my horror the interface was in Chinese. Can you imagine that?? There was a cleaner in the room and obviously both of us couldn’t understand each other!!! My heart sunk it was one of those moments when you are so numb but you still act with a reflex (thankfully).

Luckily for me the bank representative arrived, she told me that for the English interface I have make an application to the bank to change the language setting! I was like ‘Thank you very much but my card is in the damned machine can you help me please’ with the most precious twinkle in my eyes. She agreed and my ordeal was accomplished.

This was Bank of China so I thought it was justified for the ATMs to have Chinese interface. I got my money so I was less inclined to investigate further and also my next challenge was waiting for me – to find a taxi!

Then after somedays I was again in the same situation but I thought of trying a different bank – Bank of East Asia. This was a standalone ATM. There was a lady already at the kiosk, probably she was taking a log time so the man ahead of me left muttering something to himself. I felt luck that I was the next in line. Very confidently I entered the card, was happy to see the English processing screen but then again it was the Chinese interface! I got a jolt the same one when you get when you think you are lucky and but in the guise erring the second time! Precisely WTF moment. I turned around to see if there was any angel behind me but I was alone. Now I was truly in deeper mess.

I told myself, not to panic. I am the customer and I can never be at fault! And to my surprise I managed to use the ATM by my own self. Don’t know whom should I thank first my muscle memory, my grey cells or the guiding angles! I was triumphant and now I have the confidence / audacity to use such machines again.

There are many learnings in this story for me as the user, for the bank as the brand, for any UX designer who is sensitive towards such everyday frictions.

Certainly, such scenarios can be avoided but what is the learning when the user has hacked the systems and his triumph is more important than the ideal experience?

BTW, more recently I have found a button for language change … thanks to my son

Look within

Sometimes I like to go to the server room and plug and unplug the wires (… and co-ordinate with India office) It gives me great joy when my actions results into something positive (wifi connectivity) and I feel challenged when it happens otherwise.

Yes I am quite human at times and I like to go on ego trips J

Rest of the times I am firefighting … resolving design issue required for the survival of an idea (if I am allowed to)

But I like this bare and live environment…wherein I get cautious of my actions but also am empowered to be fearless and take the risks.

‚ÄėNever say die‚Äô is the core of startup. There is no place to get judgmental. But it is a place for all the mentals ‚Ķ who love their challenges. Yes surely you have to have some degree of insane passion towards problem solving.

Back when I was working with the MNCs everything was served on a platter with rules and lot of bureaucracy. It really sucked and killed my motivation to work and enjoy work. I quit finally. Made baby and voila life was full of challenges J

But life cannot be anchored on someone’s challenges. So as my little one is discovering new things every day, I have set on my journey, my calling to solve and make a difference…user experience. Yes it is my passion and also my livelihood.

Piece of a cake?? No way …some times each day seems like a Wednesday … but still have I liked to get back to work.

So what have I learnt? Life will throw challenges… you challenge yourself… codes will not work, users will not turn up… trends will change etc. …grrr   we will not have control on many things in life. But we can surely be in control of ourselves. We can continue to inspire ourselves to reach the goal and look for more goals every day.

It is not about hardships but it is about our endeavors so …

Raise the bar, shine bright and embrace tight.

Learn to startup and coz it is within you.

I thought that ux can save projects …hell what? It can save humanity.

(Its a long title, but I needed a catchy one)

UX is about listening, understanding and being worried about how things can be made better.

As we solve experience problems with lifeless wireframes …there are so many experiences in the real world that need to be sorted for humanity sake.

As we inching closer to the digital world some best practices are to be created for the most sensible creature. What do body gestures mean? What does a choking voice mean? Soon we are going to forget all of it …since science says we become masters of what we practice more. If we are glued to the digital interfaces what can be expected of us? Sub conscious we are applying the digital paradigm to the real world…we are forgetting to live.

Insanity is existent and growing¬†with varying degrees. And what is the fodder for it ? We just wont listen but want to be heard. To top it up we have the digital tools…that give instant gratifications. We are becoming impatient. We are becoming¬†the masters and slaves of this digital ourosboros.

A person was killed by a mob for spreading a rumor about cow being slaughtered for beef. What! Can this be real?

IS is planning revenges and the super powers are planning vengeances. Or it is vis a versa.

Some armed men just enter public places and open fire at innocent people.

I am sure there would be many examples and each will be more dastardly in some way.

If only compassion and empathy are taught in schools the world would be a better place. We would be bothered about giving better experiences to everyone around us and voila world would be a better place to live.

So if it affects you, listen to it… since now is the time to teach some sensibility to the sensible interfaces.