One of the cleanest and the most clutter free of Indian sites, Cleartrip serves as a benchmark in many respects when it comes to design. Sunit Singh, a graduate in fine arts from the Sir J.J.School of Art and a post graduation from Industrial Design Center at IIT Mumbai, has been obsessed with design ever since he started working for Paper Plane Solutions. From there on, he moved on to Burrp and Yahoo! and is now at Cleartrip. He’s been the Chief Designer at Cleartrip for two years, and has mainly led the mobile user interface and user experience of Cleartrip’s products. I caught up with him to explore more about this fascinating world which is slowly starting to get its dues in India.
YS: You’ve been associated with some of the latest and best names in India and have experiences leading design for these companies. How would you compare them and what would you call your most satisfying stint?
SS: To start off with, I’d like to say that I’ve liked to work in smaller organizations and hence my view might be biased, but that is how it is. I have a penchant for smaller companies ever since my graduation from Sir J.J. School of Arts. Comparing all the 4 organizations I have worked at, I’d put Burrp and Cleartrip as my most satisfying work stints. Burrp, mainly because it was only a 4 membered team and I joined them when the momentum was building. Everyone knows how it has grown and come to where it is now. Paper Planes was my first stint and it gave me a lot of exposure and new ideas. I did not stick around at Yahoo! because one doesn’t have much control is such a huge organization. Designing for Cleartrip has been so much fun!
YS: Talking about the culture at these places, what is the single most thing you think a designer needs to take into consideration?
SS: Well, I joined Cleartrip 4 years after its inception. Much of the work was done, but since designing is a continuous process, there are changes happening every hour. We’ve stuck to the philosophy of keeping it clean and incorporating only the necessary features. I’ve mainly led the mobile front and the results have been accepted well so far. The smaller the team is, the more hands-on is the process. Also, personally speaking, working closely and having a sense of control over the working process is very important for me. I’m open to all suggestions, that’s how I like to work and I definitely believe it gives more definition to a product.
YS: Moving onto User Experience(UX) specifically, what are your views here? Where do you think India is placed in terms of UX?
SS: There is no clear solution to this question, though broad minded need to open up their horizons and this would definitely help understanding designing concepts better. Designers need to be more hands-on in their approach to projects and look at the smaller problems that need to be solved. These little solutions will culminate into a grand project one day. Also, we don’t give enough thought on execution; this is one more aspect which needs to be worked upon. Basically, we need more craftsmen in the internet space.
SS: Apart from Apple Devices design, I am starting to lean towards web developers and front end design engineers. I follow a lot of the Western designer folks. Can’t really point to one person as you get to learn something new every other day.
Here’s a twitter list you might want to follow and some book recommendations from Sunit:
- Don’t make me think by Steve Krug
- The design of Everyday things by Donald Norman
- A List Apart is a great resource for everything web (right from Design, Code & Content)
- Web Standards Solutions by Dan Cederholm really shaped the way I write HTML/CSS