State of UX in India

I recently came across this article by Joe Fletcher titled “The Bridge Between Cultures and Design”
The synopsis of the article is that:
Over roughly the last 10 years, China and India have given way to a huge rise in technology outsourcing. Jobs are outsourced from companies like Microsoft, Google, T-Mobile, Honeywell, and many others. In Microsoft I’ve worked with teams in both India and China developing software for a variety of uses. Having our headquarters in the US, I usually work with small satellite teams in these countries. I couldn’t help but wonder why these countries who had become huge in the area of software technology, struggled so much in the area of user experience and UI innovation.Note: this article refers specifically to software UX. Both of these countries have very innovative and creative aspects in other areas of their culture, and I’m not expressing these comments as blanket statements.

I think that is a very valid question that Joe puts across. However I do not quite agree to all the points that he mentions in the article especially if one is looking at the case of India.

Cross Cultural Design

Cross Cultural Design

One of the key things required to see is the growth of UX as a field in India. While in the west the field UX, Interaction Design, HCI have been around for much longer a time, in India it is know only for say last 5-6 years.

This leads us the point that in India, Interaction Design has a long way to go before it catches up on the west. In my opinion, in India, the Interaction Design as a field is still limited to the software industry and all the User Experience is still discussed in the context of the Software Design. Unless the understanding of Interaction Design, expands beyond the UI,  and people understand Interaction Design from a more broader perspective, there is bound to be this case as expressed above.

Also Interaction Design as a discipline in the academics has only been offered only lately in the design schools. The study of HCI and USability is still very limited. Most of the professionals practicing in the IxD field in India are either graduates in Product Design or Visual Communication. A lot of the professionals thus have been in the field by virtue of their self learnings.However that is changing, with Interaction Design and related studies being offered at numerous schools in India and a keen interest by professionals to follow the subject. Some of the schools doing that are offering course in HCI are the National Institute of Design, Industrial Design Centre (IIT Bombay), IIT Guwahati to name a few.

Thirdly, there has to be more freedom given to the ‘design’ teams sitting in the off shore location (read India), in order to allow to innovate. It is my belief that only when the design starts from the initial stage, there is a scope for innovation and creativity. Creativity is hampered when things are already created. So having the design team sitting in the off shore location, start to innovate when all the requirements and the information architecture is frozen, is difficult. It’s not impossible, but the scope gets reduced and there is only a limit to what one can do at that stage.

Lastly, the design industry or people in the software industry who do design, should interact more with people in the colleges, and illustrate what it takes to innovate and get creativity at the job level where its much more competitive and challenging. We at Deskala, have been doing so through our Design Workshops in HCI, Design Thinking, Usability, Experience Design at corporate houses and various colleges, and the results have been giving us a lot of hope more than anything else!

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