Rejoice. NID Ahmedabad as a institute of National Importance.

Design education in India just went one step higher in terms of more acceptance from the society and the people in the government. The realisation of the importance and role of design in the development of the society is important.  So, in my opinion, the recent passing of the NID bill in the Rajya Sabha, to declare NID as a institute of National Importance is a landmark thing. NID being the oldest design institute in India, had to get this. Today as I write this, there is more hope for design in India than ever before. This is driven not just from the perspective of education, but also the industry relations.

The bill will also enable the NID to undertake sponsored and funded research as well as consultancy projects. It will enable the NID to conduct research and training in all disciplines related to design. It would allow the NID to confer honorary degrees, diploma, certificates and awards and other academic distinctions and titles in disciplines relating to design. The institute will now be able to award degrees to its students. Also be able to open PhD Programs in Design. This was earlier being offered only by IITGuwahati, IIT Bombay and more recently Srishti school of Design (through Manipal University)

Image courtesy: Times of India, epaper.


NID Bill

I hope that the NID rewards the degree of Bachelor of Design, (BDes) the same that is being given to students at the IIT Guwahati, NIFT and other deemed universities undergraduate programs.  Ever since I got that BDes degree from the IIT Guwahati in 2005, I have wanted to see more people in my tribe. Though I have never faced any problem in my professional career, it was a bit difficult to explain the BDes degree to many, especially in areas of . . . → Read More: Rejoice. NID Ahmedabad as an institute of National Importance.

Transcultural Design – Masters program

Since January this year, I have been in-charge of running a 2 years Masters program in Transcultural Design in India. This is a short article on what the program is about and how one can get admission to it.

Transcultural Design – A unique opportunity for Design Graduates

In the current context of globalization, understanding other cultures and other value systems is a major asset for every designer. Lecole de Design Nantes Atlantique offers a unique two years Masters program in Transcultural Design at its Asia Campuses in India and China. It offers a tremendous opportunity for design students from all over the world to discover and comprehend the Indian and Chinese cultures. This master program encourages the exploration and acceptance of different cultures within an applied, interdisciplinary context. It aims at providing young design students an opportunity to broaden their horizons and develop their design skills in a cultural and creative environment.

Design graduates of any discipline are encouraged to apply. The students spend their 2 years enrolled in the program and have the option of spending time on the China campus in Shanghai too as an exchange student.

The program is a professional masters program with the participation of the industry design experts and supervised by an international staff.  The teaching is based on a participatory approach and the course is delivered in modules. The modules are structured into workshops and seminars to encourage student participation.

The programs bring together students from different fields of design and undergraduate curriculums (product, spatial, interaction or graphic design). Central to the programs are a strong international dimension, the acquisition of project management skills and a cross-disciplinary, professional approach to design.


The skills gained during the 2-year master’s programs are based on the ability to:

– use design in an innovative . . . → Read More: Transcultural Design – Masters program

The Social Media Fatigue – Life in the Information Economy

We live in interesting times. Did you know that many people now access their Facebook profile the first thing in the morning and It is difficult to communicate with some people, because they are not social media savvy.

In an interesting info-graphic of a recently published research titled “How Social Media is Ruining Our Minds“, it was observed that, over the course of the last ten years the average attention span has dropped from 12 minutes to a staggeringly short 5 seconds. That’s right! Just 5 seconds! People around the world spend close to 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month, and there handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day on Twitter and 250 million tweets per day (Oct 2011). Those are huge numbers!

In such times, there ought to be better strategies for Social Media engagement for individuals as well as business. Almost as prevalent as blind social media evangelism is the level of fatigue and ennui around it.

Driving social Media or being driven by it ?

Understanding the Why

Information as the building block for Social Media Platforms

In my opinion, one of the key influencers of the Social media phenomenon is around the word Information. In an article first published in 1995, advances in computers and data networks inspire visions of a future “information economy’‘ in which everyone will have access to gigabytes of all kinds of information anywhere and anytime. Ten years from now we may find the economic institutions of the information economy a similarly unremarkable part of our day-to-day life. (The Information Economy: How much will two bits be worth in the digital marketplace? – Hal R. Varian, 1995).

I would like to believe that the Social Media is a direct consequence of this information economy and its main drivers are . . . → Read More: The Social Media Fatigue – Life in the Information Economy

The designer's challenge to Social CRMs

Everyday I log onto twitter, I read about someone complaining about a problem they are facing with a particular service that they use. In almost realtime, a lot of others who face similar problem simply re-tweet the initial tweet about the complain. What this could result to is a negative publicity of the service, to the extent of a fear of losing a customer. In almost no time, there are the representatives from the company in context, replying to the tweets and assuring of a quick turnaround to the customer’s concerns. If that is not enough there are social channels that people reach out to, these days when they do not get a response.

That’s the new age customer relationship management and goes by the term Social CRMs. A lot of debate goes on the legitimacy of the phrase Social CRM. On one side of the argument, there are the believers who think that this is just another fancy term, riding the Social Wave, and on the other side of the argument you have people who swear by anything social and believe it to be of an immense value add. I for one do think that SCRM is here to stay, and it can only promise to grow with more and more businesses adopting social media technologies.

I deal with design and through this article I wish to seek out the challenges that designers face and should consider when designing for Social CRMs. It may be noted that these are just an indicative list and not a definitive one.  With changes happening almost everyday (Facebook introduced the Timeline as I write this), the challenges can only increase.

In the earlier days of the traditional CRMs, the engagement with the customer happened around three domains, ie. a. Sales, b. Marketing and . . . → Read More: The designer’s challenge to Social CRMs

Social Technology Quarterly Issue 2

Read the second issue of the Social Technology Quarterly, published by Kuliza Technologies here.


Social Technology Quarterly (Volume 1| Issue 2) View more documents from Kuliza Technologies

The Social Media Construct – a case in remediation

They say that the Social Media Technologies is the in thing right now. Some call is fashionable, while some call it a necessity to keep up with the times, while some see a real value add in it. While many companies adopt it, not all understand it completely. It is now well accepted that the Social Media Technologies (SMT) are an integral part of the marketing budget of any company.  The adoption of SMT should be tied down to a business need and an assist with the business processes. Apart from the usual goals of increase in sales, the one thing that the social media technologies has done is, making the consumer more informed and help them in taking decisions that are influenced by a gamut of reasons. Come to think of it, the advent of SMTs follow a similar pattern.  resulted in the way the audiences are exposed to media. We consume stuff in a different way than we used to in the days prior to the SMTs. To support the claim of Social Media technology being omnipresent in the lives of many now, one has to understand where this comes from.

The notion of followers

Over the course of this article, I wish to do a construct of the notion of the Social Media Technology as a new kind of media. I shall refer to Bolter and Grusin, amongst others to understand why the notion of the Social Media technology is a New Media that plays out on the notion of remediation. I shall be looking into this with the example case study on Social Commerce and how the notion of media and Social media is changing and will continue to change the way we do our commerce.

Marshall McLuhan one of the greatest writers on media . . . → Read More: The Social Media Construct – a case in remediation

Co-creating the User Experience

Recently at the WWDC 2011, amongst other things, Apple introduces iCloud, OS Lion and the new iOS5 that wowed audiences. A week before that, Microsoft releases a video of the Windows 8 Operating system that customizes the operating system depending on the platform they are accessing it. In another phenomenon now, an app is being created for cross platform compatibility on Android, Blackberry and iPhone, to join the billions downloaded already, and Angry birds is taken the world by storm, with its awesome experience that it provides. Somewhere else Twitter is being touted as the most happening social network routing Facebook, with Apple integrating it in the schema of things for the days ahead, and Google is still struggling with its take at Social Network.

Just to go by the set of events in the past few weeks, it is beyond doubt that, we User Experience (UX) professionals are living in exciting (and challenging) times. Exciting because the whole domain of User Experience is growing at an unprecedented rate. Over the years it has gained enough traction, that it is now become the core of discussions and across boardrooms. The stakes have increased and that is precisely why the role has become more challenging over time.

On the other hand the rise of social media technology has had a huge impact on the very functioning of the UX field. I do not think there is any other field that has embraced Social Media to such a large extent. That has opened the gates for a huge opportunity for discussions and collaborations. Sub-consciously we UXers are getting inputs from a gamut of sources, and what we are actually doing is co-creating UX.

Just look at the things around you and you would be surprised by the word experiences and the frequency . . . → Read More: Co-creating the User Experience

On Net Neutrality

Let me start with a question. Would you be willing to pay extra to have a particular content delivered to you at a premium price, so that you can access the same information faster? Or would you be willing to pay for a service that can be delivered on a higher priority as compared to its competitors? These are some of the issues that one needs to grapple with when we talk about Net Neutrality.

A quick search for it on Wikipedia mentions this: Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for user access networks participating in the Internet that advocates no restrictions by the Internet Service Providers (ISP) and governments on content, sites, platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and no restrictions on the modes of communication allowed.

The principle also states that if a given user pays for a certain level of Internet access, and another user pays for the same level of access, then the two users should be able to connect to each other at the subscribed level of access. This video on CNET demonstrates the concept very well.

Some of the proponents of Net Neutrality are large organizations like Yahoo, EBay, Amazon and individuals like Tim Berners Lee and Barack Obama. Groups like have been pretty active in promoting Net Neutrality too.

Looking at the other side of the coin, in simple words it means that in a non-net neutral world, if you are wanting to get a particular content, say like a video, and were willing to pay extra for it, the ISP would be able to do that for you as the information dissemination is at their disposal. If you wanted a Value Added Service (VAS) at a premium, there would be an . . . → Read More: On Net Neutrality

A critical analysis of the Aadhaar Logo

In one of my earlier posts, I had written about analyzing logos by using Semiotic Theory. What it basically was to take a closer understanding through different point of views related to the viewer, the designer, etc. Of late one notices that even the governments have been interested in getting their logos designed, and seeking inputs from designers. It is a healthy sign indeed. One such example is the Government of India working hard on the Unique Identification Project under the name of Unique Identification Authority of India and headed by former Infosys co-founder, Nandan Nilekani.

Nandan Nilekani launching the new logo and name

They recently had a new name (Aadhaar) to the whole project and a new logo unveiled.

I am going to do a critical analysis of this logo based on the semiotic theory and seeking the explanations from the phenomenological understanding that I have developed over the years of designing logos and branding solutions.

To start with, when trying to understand the semiotics behind the logo, one first has to understand the referential function i.e. the content of what the logo is composed. The Aadhaar logo is primarily composed of three parts namely, the sun and the finger print and the text below the logo. There are two prime signs in the logo in terms of the imagery. These signs signify certain attributes independently and then as a collective they have a different meaning. While doing a critical analysis, it is important that we understand the signified meaning of all the individual signs and what they signify and then finally the overall logo.

Being an Indian, I understand that the association with the Sun is perhaps more than any celestial body out there. The sun is an element that is worshiped across the country and hold . . . → Read More: A critical analysis of the Aadhaar Logo

On being a Designpreneur

I have been out of blogging much for quite some time now.

It has been mostly due to the startup Deskala. We recently completed 6 months there and the journey there has been truly fascinating. During this period we have interacted with a lot people, and me personally got to know a lot more because of my photography workshops too. The other reason is the travel, which if something I just love, so cannot put an end to that too.

One of the biggest challenges that we have faced as Design Entrepreneurs, (Designpreneur) is to sell the service of design to people in the Business tea. And when this happens inspite of having close to 10 years of experience between us, it surprises me. My friend and co-founder of Deskala; Porus wrote an interesting article on this phenomenon, and what both the parties namely the Business and the Design team should work towards.

In my opinion, I think that its relatively easier to become a Designpreneur, but more difficult to sustain oneself as that. It’s easy, because right from the college days, one is designing and creating products and services. The innovations is happening then and there itself and its actually their first meeting with the entrepreneurial life. Now let’s see what happenes when that particular developed idea is marketed and sold properly. Viola! you have the idea for the company that you are going to put up.

The other big challenge that we have is to position Deskala as a design firm and not a development firm. There are already numerous firms who start off with software development and slowly add designers to the team.  As Deskala, we are going the other route, wherein we say build a design centric team first and then we move forward.

As mentioned  . . . → Read More: On being a Designpreneur