Architect to UX Designer
Born in a middle-class family, my father fostered the dream of making me a Doctor / Engineer ( a prosaic dream for all parents of that age). The pugnacious me wanted to do anything but become a Doctor. Not that I despised Doctors, two of my sisters had given in to the pressure and become Doctors. I just wanted to be DIFFERENT, plausibly because I watched too much MTV / VTV (the only source of English Music in those times) and lauded Nikhil Chinapa and all other VJs for all their tattoos and body piercing. Becoming a VJ would have caused heartache (read a headache) to many in the family, so I routed my creative genius in another direction. I cleared my Architecture Entrance Exam and when on campus I saw students with tattoos and pierced body, I knew I wanted to do this course.
Architecture as a course was a tremendous learning opportunity to align myself to Design thinking. I learnt that good designs did not just happen, they required to be speculated, iterated, ruminated and reiterated. Solutions are all around you, you just need to search for them and identify them when they cross you.
After Architecture was a two-year stint with a furniture designer. The proportion of design suddenly changed, from behemothic buildings and campuses to designing seemingly lilliputian creatures called furniture. Our furniture was exported to European markets which imply dismissal ratio (if the quality was not met) was very steep. This led to me becoming a stinker for Quality. My boss coached me that if you want to analyse the quality of furniture, you should check if the underside is polished or not. That became a Mantra. Today, a satisfying project delivery is also the process that it follows to get delivered.
Moving on from Furniture Design, I enrolled myself to study Product Design from an eminent Design Institute in Delhi. The scale of design diminished further as we designed everyday familiar items from toothbrush to door handles and kitchen mixers. What, however, remained undeviating were Design principles and Design thinking - the ability to inquire and the crusade for excellence.
Subsequent to the course, I got a job offer from a UX design company in the dream city of Mumbai. Hailing from Delhi, Mumbai was invariably known as the city of Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan. Little did I know that one never saw them on roads, not even if you rest outside their mansions for hours on end.
The riotous me, putting up a good ruckus at home, took up the position. Thereafter commenced the digital design expedition. From that gig in UX to opening my own company for delivering splendid UX solutions, there has never been any looking back.
Did anything change from Architecture to UX Design? Not really! The zest for creative vision, the innovation pursuit and the continual journey to augment people’s lives through superior design solutions continued. My biggest learning as I traversed from Architecture to furniture design to User Experience Design and now as a co-founder of whoppingly large UX Research and Design Company in India has been that conceiving for the end users is pivotal. If you can comprehend their pain areas, empathise with them and provide solutions to them then it does not matter if you are creating buildings or gadgets.
Ideation and cerebration has to be unceasing. One should not in any way pause at one solution. And always bear in mind, no idea is sans peril. It is only satisfying for the prevailing situation and would become primitive as situations and human behaviours transform!