Design was a completely intuitive or unselfconscious process for me, involving lots of trial and error. It was like throwing all pieces of a jigsaw puzzle on a table and trying to solve it by working on the mismatches rather than relying on a reference. I had often wondered if it could involve more analysis and logical deduction, if possible even a structured process. This quest led me to ‘Notes on the Synthesis of Form’ and ‘Shape of design’ and later to a masters in HCI – and that brought a paradigm shift in my approach to (design) problems.
Like many in the field of design my background is eclectic. After a Bachelors in Electronics Engineering , I worked as a Network Planning Engineer in one of India’s largest telecom companies after a short stint as a Programmer Analyst . Meantime , I was an active freelance web/graphic designer and also co-founded a lighting consultancy.Whew ! it has been one hell of a journey.
“Because craft needs objectives, effort needs purpose, and we need an outlet for song. If we stay on the surface and don’t dig deep by asking why, we are not truly designing” - Frank Chimero
I had thought of design as art; decoration to be precise. Initially my emphasis was on visual beauty - colors, layout and fonts, mistaking design as a canvas for self expression. It took me a while to understand that any design project - be it a website or a poster, was actually about solving someone’s problem. The need to ask the right questions before searching for the perfect solution is very important.
I believe that the role of a user experience designer is to work under constant technical and business constraints and still be a strong advocate for the user.