Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

- E. F. Schumacher -  

Role

UX Design Intern

About

An account of my internship at Redd User Experience in the Summer of my 2017.

Duration

15th June 2017 
- 15th July 2017

Contribution

UX Design, Wireframing, Branding & Identity design,
Visual Design

How I got my Internship?

Two weeks before my summer vacation I came across an article titled “Most engaging UI/UX design studios for startups in India” over on medium. The only design experience I had until that point was working solo on freelance Graphic Design gigs for so not so gracious clients and occasional User Interfaces Design gigs for startups run by friends. More than anything, I really wanted to put my summertime to some good use.

I decided to apply for an intern role at a few studios mentioned on the list. I whipped up a PDF portfolio detailing my work across UI/UX, Branding and Identity, and Logo design. I had to diversify my portfolio by showing that I was adaptable and showcased one project from each design discipline, illustrating my process and evolution through conceptualization. I have no idea how much that helped but I did pour my heart out on the email introduction trying to convince the folks I had knack and passion for design. I think that played a bigger role in helping me secure an internship than my portfolio.

Redd Experience Design was the first one to respond to my email and I jumped on the opportunity. I had emailed Sharan, the partner at Redd on his personal email and hence I'd say he became my de facto point of contact with the folks at the studio.

Project Uno

IMG_20170616_182734

On my first day of work itself, I was brought up to speed on a live project where the goal was to design a collaboration platform for people in the business of real estate development. I was partnered with Akshitha, the Experience Design Lead, and Vineet, the visual design lead. This was my first time working on an enterprise-facing app and I just could not wrap my head around the complexity and the moving parts of the problem, let alone the product. But Akshitha and Vineet made it look so effortless when they folded me into the work and the research that they had already done, it all seemed attainable within a matter of hours. Akshita had encapsulated the complexity of the product in such a refined manner that one could visualize the entire product by just looking at the IA. Watching a skilled designer reduce complexity layer by layer during the early stages of the design process was very formative on my current process and outlook on design. This kind of capableness is only possible when one has a good grip over the problem they're trying to solve.

For the first couple of days, my workload consisted of converting wireframes to UI using a style guide prepared by Vineet. As time progressed, Vineet's style guide requirements kept getting more and more extensive. Eventually, I started pitching into the style guide directly alongside Vineet to keep up the pace. As I started getting more involved, I found more work. They gave me complete control over an entire feature on a live project from conceptualization to final deliverable stage. I've chosen not to include any screens from the project as that would demand an entire case study.

Vineet’s desk

Akshitha's Desk feat. my scribblings

Vineet

Vineet's Desk 

My Desk

My Desk

Project Dos

They appointed me as a point man for one of the clients who required some logo and identity work done along with a landing page for his company. I was given direct access to the client and the responsibility to close the gig. Sharan helped me through the initial stages of the requirement specifications and timeline negotiations. 

MyGram is a bulk SMS service provider similar to Twilio but with some features catering specifically towards Indian Businesses, especially those who have customers in T2 and T3 towns. They offer SMS based transactions for eKYC and secure URLs on older T9 phones with web interfaces that are optimized for flaky 2G networks.

ReddIMg2

Notes from client meetings

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Understanding the client's business

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Scribbling logo concepts

LogoType
MyGIso
Logo

MyGrams's whole service revolves around providing SMS based solutions to problems of all kind. Be it sharing job notices for blue collar jobs in T2 and T3 towns, or accounting for refugees at a camp or connecting refugees with NGOs. It made sense for their logo to convey and reflect that they were in the business of providing message stacks as a service to their clients.

ReddIMg1

Low fidelity - Wireframes

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wirefrMG1

High Fidelity Wireframes

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Takeaways

LoR

My time at Redd showed me that working with designers is not just about aesthetic high fives. I came in with a lot of preconceived notions and knots in my head wrt. what design is and what design is not. 

Design has always put me in a state of cognitive dissonance. You can't argue with someone when they say they don't understand your design, or if they don't agree with your solution. In a field where everyone is supposed to heed to open feedback from others, should one even try to defend design decisions?  

Working with the folks at Redd taught me one thing, to be equipped with an unclouded understanding of the market landscape and the users, no matter how big or small the problem. Or how simple the solution may seem. No second guessing things. That's the only way one can do good work, and deliver results faster. 

Companies don't engage in user research just because they care about their users, they do it because it's efficient for the product design process. The responsibility for deeply caring about the users falls mostly on the designers, not the companies.

Till date, I refuse to embark on a design journey without being absolutely certain I understand the problem I design for, all the facets and the moving parts.  

-x-

Other Projects

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CryptoraiA privacy focussed Cryptocurrency portfolio and market data app

SIIC SeedCampA bootcamp for ideation stage founders

SureLocalA hyperlocal pharmaceutical delivery service