Is user experience the first thing on your mind when you build a website? Do you have the creativity to make your website more user friendly but want to know how to bring about the idea? Then UX is one skill you should not miss out on. Want to know more about UX? Here is an interview with Mr. Omkar Muravane, the face behind the making of Twenty19’s online UX course.
Here is an excerpt from the interview from the expert himself.
1. What inspired you to learn UX design?
The cliché would be to say inspiration for creativity, but my reasons were more to do with innovations which were happening in Web Technologies. Although the importance for UX was far less, about 7 to 8 years back. One of the prime reasons to get into this field was an inclination towards creating websites which would be more interactive for the viewers and fruitful for the clients.
2. How did you get started in this field, and what do you think has made you successful throughout your career?
• I got my first assignment in 2004. I was working with a Web Development consultant in Bangalore. I was given a specific assignment of interacting with a client to know what aspects of a website can get the most leverage for their products while the website goes online. Needless to say my first interaction with successful User Experience was on that assignment.
• My success mantra for design is simple; you need to discuss hard facts with your clients. Tell them what works and what does not. It’s a tough line of conversation to execute, but can make your job easy while you execute a project.
3. What were the hurdles you had to overcome to get where you are now?
• Explaining the importance of UX is toughest to any client. You are always dealing with two different views on a web design, one which
a client thinks will work for him, and one which you feel works for the client’s audience. Factors like project cost, and time also contribute to the hurdles.
• It’s worth mentioning though, that proper and clear communication can help overcome these hurdles too. Once the client understands the long term benefits, he is more or less in agreement.
4. How has UX changed in the past few years?
• Like with any other technology, take for example your mobile devices, from plain and simple phones, we have now become more used to the Smart Phones. It’s a technological jump isn’t it? The same is valid for UX as well.
• The fact is, with the internet boom, if one site puts off a user while browsing, there are number of others that can fit the bill.
• How far UX has come, well let’s take a popular website like EBay for example. Has regular users browsing through it. Do you remember how it was say a couple of years back? Take a look at it now, and you’ll get the answer. May be the style of the site has not changed. Yet it’s been finely tuned to both serve the customer, as a result people can shop effectively and conveniently.
• UX is now an integral part of a Web Design project. You need to pay equal attention to achieve the desired results.
5. What are the latest trends in your field? What do you think is the future of UX design?
• Well devices are getting trendier by the day. Smart phones and Tablet users have more than doubled over the past 2 years, forcing designers to rethink the user experience for smaller screens.
• Use of Images, Icons has gone up; yet using text to convey vital information can’t be ignored. Minimalist Navigation is IN.
• You need to keep navigation really simple for it to work on multiple devices. The future, well, if you need to win over your customers these days, you need to win over their web experience.
6. How will be the career path of a person learning UX design be? What roles will he be put through?
• The good thing about UX is that you don’t always need to have a Graphic Art, or a Fine Art background to get started. I would still suggest learning the finer points of Web Design. Some of the roles available include User Experience Researcher, User Experience Designer or a Visual Designer, Interface Designer, Usability Expert etc.
• The areas where User Experience will play a crucial role in defining the market success of products and websites are vast and unlimited.
7. If you were to hire a student in the field of UX design/web design, on what basis would you hire him?
I believe that it’s not about what you have learnt, but what you are open to learning. I would look for an individual, who is ready to go that extra mile while working. Ideally someone who is capable of adapting to adverse situations. Ability to value time, and deliver results when promised. For me it’s always where you can go, not where you have come from that matters.
8. Narrate any experiences you had while learning the ropes of your field, that you would like to share with the students.
• It’s always important to listen and understand a new project requirement, before you put on your thinking hat. When you get an opportunity to learn something new at the beginning of your career, go for it. You will only master a field, when you work practically in it.
• Be realistic in your career, aim only for something you can achieve for sure. While you work in a field like UX, it’s important to be patient and develop a convincing attitude towards your clients.
9. What would you advise the students taking up the course about this profession based on your experience?
• Let’s accept a fact that in India, UX still remains a newly established phenomenon. But that also means more opportunities for people who are willing to get started in this field.
• Be it Start-ups, or large MNC’s the realization is fast taking effect that, UX will play a major part in success of their products and websites alike. So needless to say this is a good time to get into this wonderful field. Internet is on the upswing, and so is the ability to improve the web experience.