Interaction design for a better Brand positioning

Interaction design  is leading to its penultimate stage of establishing the brand.

The story starts with apple and Microsoft.

I do not advocate Apple since I see it is as a rebellion just trying to create ‘I am different’ statement. I hate to fumble with the shift and control keys that work different than the conventional window shortcuts.  As a user it challenges my muscle memory and wastes a lot of time.

Nor do I say that Microsoft was the leader and had benchmarked best practices. The famous ‘start’ button is widely known.

Then came android, it is learnt that android interactions are not consistent. Once it scrolls and later it expands. The UI is looks copied from apple. Nothing great or different, I haven’t seen or experienced Nexus though.

Coming back to apple, the interactions have not changed … but they keep coming up with newer hardware after every 6 months. So they are making sure they have eye balls atleast. It is baffling to note apples ever increasing sale numbers despite the recessions!

The latest entrant Microsoft and their metro UI, now the battle gets serious or rather meaningful. It is all new OS coupled with the metro UI.

Till now UI was not taken as seriously, it had to look good and serve the purpose.  Well fuctionally it has to do the needful. But with windows 8 I see that the UI is used as positioning strategy. It seems to seamlessly align with the touch devices, Kinects and other MS products. It has become a binder for all the experiences. The aim is to create a strong ecosystem of products with unified experiences.

MS has changed the game and the rules. Till now we were talking about user experience , but now on we will be talking about the user brand experience. MS has successfully created a niche by devising ways to speed ahead in the rat race. Now suddenly apples and oranges cannot be compared J

Size matters

Video watching on the go has become main stream now. Facebook, twitter, whataspp and other messiahs of online content are pushing content to the consumers. Needless to say that not all or can we say most of the content is trash.

But still such content has viewers and some even break records of viewership.

Has our taste suddenly changed? or are the brands are so powerful that we trust the content? In a grey world all is inter- related and all holds true.

I just realized by my own experience… it is the size of the screen that makes such content consumable.

  • Mobile screens are smaller, hence hide finer details of execution and expressions – works for content creators to churn rapid videos for eyeballs.
  • Mobile screens are smaller, hence you have the privacy of watching discreetly – so even if you know you are watching non sense you will still watch it because you know nobody is watching you.
  • Mobile screens work on networks, hence offers you the mobility – you are not bound to one place, works well for killing time or waiting for something.

So as we see smaller size and cheaper network is working well for mobile content providers it is ruining our taste, image if we are caught watching the nasty forwards and of course increases our bills. But having said that there seems to be no near end.

But but but … when wearable devices become mainstream I hope there will end to this spam unless till then our minds go kaput!

Omnipresent brands!

Brand presence makes it imperative to reach to the masses at the right time and at the right place. Increasingly they are all around us.

And the masses too get benefited by the brand allied services. One such example stuck when a seemingly non TGA was surfing net at the Mumbai international airport.

At the kumbh mela, brands provide free services to gain visibility and preference.  It is notable that the brand marketing gimmicks are making a mark in this market, but it would be interesting to study how such services  ensure brand loyalty in the brand experience cycle.

check link below for more such examples

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/slideshows/advertising-marketing/when-nagas-pop-revital-voda-takes-a-holy-dip/kumbh-religion-sadhus-new-marketing-props-for-india-inc/slideshow/18568231.cms

Ordering vegetables online :)

Serendipity! Received a glossy leaflet in the letter box.

All the typo in place (I do not trust communications that has wrong typo) and good pictures , I thought I should try it J and now its been 3 months I haven’t seen my bhaaji wala.

So greenofresh is going to be my permanent bhaajiwala unless anything goes grossly wrong J

Summing up what I like the most

  • Online – o yes I buy vegetables, fruits online Jit is convenient I can do it while infront on TV or anytime when the laptop and net is on. The one time registration form is simple too.

o   Fall backs – they don’t have mobile app but I don’t need one!

  • Promptness – the moment I have clicked ‘place order’ I get call from the call center confirming the transaction amount. Mostly it is the same lady, very friendly and good mannered. This positive human interaction is very important and leveraging brand building.
  • Some highlights would be –

o   She asked me if she can call me for orders.

o   She doesn’t call back if I disconnect the call. She understands that I would be busy

o   She enquires if I have skipped ordering over the week

o   She patiently listens to the complaints, although I can sense awkwardness in her tone. I like the awkwardness which makes me feel that she cares and she is sorry.

  • Service – delivery happens the next day. Although the time is not certain , the delivery boy calls me and I can ask him to leave it at my neighbours place. And the highlight is the neighbour doesn’t have to pay for it. My payment will be taken when the delivery boy in the area some other day. The delivery boys are polite and presentable.
  • Secured – There is no online transaction, it is cash on delivery. The delivery boys look reliable, they don’t enter the house and are patient and polite. They refund for the soiled or damaged vegetables without any question or doubt.

I like this service, but some areas of improvement would be

  1. Range and promotions – there is a scope to add vegetable allied products e.g. wheat and bhakri atta, oil, salt masala, turmeric, tender coconut, eggs, paneer etc
  1. Service – if only the delivery time could be ascertained or a same day delivery.
  1. Brand promise – They need to articulate a promise. This communication would be very important to sustain in case of competition. Since they have the advantage of being ‘first’ it would be an comparative easy task.
  1. Visual identity – from the service point of view all is in place, but it is important to have a strong recall. They should consider promoting their logo in many ways e.g. product packaging

Branding Design

A good design is a brand in itself. But just as an idea if not executed is nothing, so is design without positioning and marketing.

Apple design is one such thing. Infact Apple branding is so ingrained in all the communication touchpoints, the products and the involving interaction that it is difficult to separate the brand. Some pointers that result in branded design effort would be

  • Consistency
  • Holistic vision
  • Micro and macro management
  • Attention to detail

But the most distinguishing factor is ‘Passion to deliver’ and passion is indeed inspiring, coz passion is emotional.

http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/commentary/cultofmac/2002/12/56677

matters to make a statement

I feel so proud. So now India will have currency symbol in the world economics and to think materialistically on all the keyboards.

From the land of ‘Zero’, this symbol is definitely a late entry… but as they say … better late than never 🙂

The design document from D. Udaya kumar about the design process and the applications across the medium can be found at http://www.idc.iitb.ac.in/events/Indian_Rupee_Symbol.pdf

creating revolutionary interfaces

Finding information or completing a task is a part of user experience. While we have many takers for interaction design… people don’t see creative scope to the information architecture.

So far these 2 are treated as 2 sides of the same coin, rather the IA plays an over powering role.

Most of the times it imparts structure to the interface.

But do the traditional navigation metaphors derived from IA, really cater to the user centered approach? Probably yes and probably NO. It gives a logically sequence to the scheme of things… information hierarchy, scents blah blah … As a user, one may easily overlook these structures in the UI… most definitely because he doesn’t care! So in this sense it is really user centered? There is again a grey answer to it that the essence of UCD lies in its least noticeability. The user tendency is to create a ruckus of things that are not acceptable. And it is also true that users are victims of habit. He will again and again follow same pattern of things until a rude shock jilts him.

So the question is how do we cater to the users, break from the traditional navigation paradigms and also create a compelling user experience that fits into to the IA?

Are we really creating anything?

Stimulus exposure conditions a human mind. What you experience is what you are …every reaction is based on past experiences. The mind is adding newer experiences in the open ended database of the grey matter. The software of human learning takes shape of whatever is it poured into. It is ever growing and always exploring.

If this understanding is true, what is the role of designers? Are we really catering to the needs of human mind? Is it a shot in the dark? Are we creating logical designs? How are we creating user centered experiences? Are we really creating anything?

Fervor Design

What I remember from my last movie experience, is not the  movie but the national anthem! Jana gana mana by BharatBala productions is simply heartening experience. Shot in Siachen, the worst survival nightmares, it just left me spellbound. I was trying to rub off the goose pimples but then thought that I might as well as drift in the experience. Jai Hind !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsaJc9eM24o

super…thats my city :)

Kudos to the BMC initiative… the city has become a livelier place! I miss being a part of it but never mind, many thanks to the artistes who have come forward to do their bid. I really appreciate their thoughts and more so their willingness to do something for the city.

thanks again!