HashedIn Technologies Pvt Ltd hosted the 9th BeerUX Meetup on the 19th December 2018 at its Bangalore Office. BeerUX Meetup, organized by Kshitiz Anand, Aram Bhusal and Deepika Dutta Kapoor, is an informal group of designers and tech geeks who wish to discuss anything and everything around design.
This meet up happens usually in Bangalore and Delhi NCR, once every quarter. In the coming months, the organizers have planned to add more cities to build a community of people driven by passion.
About the meetup
BeerUX meetups usually have the following – User Experience Design, Technology, Startup Concepts, and Beer. The difference between BeerUX w.r.t others is the fact that BeerUX breaks the traditional speaker-attendee hierarchy so conversations flow more naturally, there is diversity in opinions with more meaningful connections among people formed.
The mantra about this meetup is that Social media has made us anti-social and BeerUX meetup wanted to change that perspective. The group loves to meet new people, strike conversations on any topic they are passionate about, hear interesting stories and get inspired from them. The group feels this is an amazing concept which can lead to any of the attendees’ big startup idea.
As its previous sessions, the 9th BeerUX Meetup started with a casual introduction of the 25 participants. We had a good mix of people from enterprises and startups. While HashedIn dominated the crowd by numbers, there was good representations of designers from Google India, Microsoft, Gojek, etc.
This month being December, each one of us shared a short, interesting story that happened through 2018. While someone talked about being chased by a lone tusker in Bandipur, the other shared his recent online matrimonial search experience. I could see the barriers between people were becoming low and weak.
Hot discussions with cold beer
Beer and coke were served and discussions got deeper and focused on design and designers. One of the participants raised an open-ended question regarding the difference between user experience design and creating art-forms through design. A lot of discussions floated in the air and I am trying to summarise all of them here.
Most of the premier institutes in India diversify design education as material, form, function, object, space, and environment. The institute’s approach is to attain universality among graduates in the field of design and the long-term goal to focus on a design discipline as mainstream. But the designers hardly get this point correct. Eventually, they also get into the vicious state that is plaguing the design industry – the difference between User Experience Design versus User Interface Design, or the Science behind Design versus Design as an Art.
My two cents is that Design should be treated as an important aspect of elementary education as we treat Science, Social Studies and Mathematics. By doing this, everyone understands the value of design, the need to create, be innovative and try to put them to practice in any discipline he or she wishes to get into the mainstream, from engineering to medical science, law to community help.
The design being elemental in our education system
Though my idea to make design elemental to a kid’s education system got close to 60% support among the participants, almost everyone retrospected the same and felt it would have been good for themselves now if Design was taught to them right from their schools.
Almost 75% in the room said they became an accidental designer after completing engineering. While they agreed that this change was phenomenal for them, they also acknowledged that engineering hardly played any role in shaping them to be better designers. They all agreed that early design education would have helped them to take clear decisions towards their education and profession.
The air of silence went on for few moments when another participant tried to open another box of worms by asking
Do you all know the difference between the roles and responsibilities for designations like Design Lead versus Head of Design and Design Manager versus Design Practice Head?
Designer vs Design Manager
Many in the room tried to conclude the fact that there are no obvious differences in the above-mentioned roles since they are all designers at the end of the day. The participants also mentioned that these corporate designations are just to give one a sense of “moving up” their career ladder.
When it was time for me to debate on the above, I acclaimed that the major difference between these roles does not lie on the work each does but on the way each thinks about Design.
When designers start their professional career, everything around them feels “design” and seems “to be designed”. When time flies, the design takes a tangible model on their professional journey. Task completion, Error prevention, and User Satisfaction Index play an important part in this model. Later when they take up roles like Design Lead or Design Practice Head, it changes back to a more intangible, people-centric model where the Design Leader thinks of helping team’s long-term operating model while future-proofing the same as well.
While designing is an important trait for a design leader, he does not stop at that. He lets the team fail-fast, accelerates learning and promotes growth.
My personal take on the design leader’s experience should not be counted on the number of years he has been in the industry but attributed to the number of times he has had bad times professionally, unlearnt and learnt how to get up. This experience is the wealth a seasoned professional can give to his team. While this is true for many professional mainstreams, it becomes a little hazy for some streams (like Software Development) owing to their ever-changing competency models.
Since the world of Design is still grounded to traditional yet indisputable cognitive psychology principles like Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and User-Centered Design (UCD), Design as seen today is just a different form of the same old function (i.e., help users to perform a task at ease and be happy about completing it). While today many young designers design without considering its science but mostly on current trends, design leaders who have embraced design as science always try to find a balance and bring out the best of both worlds.
After networking sessions, we took group pictures and called it a day close to 10 pm. Thanks to all the participants who made it a great meetup.