Neeraj Mistry is a UI/UX designer who completed his graduation from MIT Pune of Design, currently working as a UX designer in Secure Meters Limited, Udaipur. He is passionate about music and is a trained tabla player.
Neeraj took a session for students at Digication and offered valuable insights into the world of professional UX design.
He well explained students the core principles on which UX/UI stands and how in real time these principles help you make decisions when everything else is vague and uncertain.
Apart from this, he told students how important it is for a designer to be empathetic towards his work. Integrating empathy and compassion into the design process is very crucial, it revolves around simply taking the time to carry out user research, absorbing it into your thinking to guide your decision-making processes.
With his amazing ideas and analogies he gave students an example of how human body is beautiful design in itself where the organs represent the UX design: measuring and optimizing against input for supporting life functions and UI design represents the cosmetics of the body–its presentation, its senses and reactions.
Interview round with Neeraj over a cup of coffee!
1. Describe your creative process. What are the major steps?
Define: The process generally starts with defining a problem statement. The statement is not very specific in nature for example – design a device used for maintaining oral hygiene, instead of directly stating – design a toothbrush! This gives a general broad perspective and does not confine the mind with the thought of existing solutions.
This phase is highly governed by the market requirements in case of a corporate scenario.
User research – It’s really important to empathize with the user (putting your feet in others shoes), know their lifestyle what people really need and what are their aspirations with the product. This is followed by a couple of ideation sessions, also known as brainstorming sessions, keeping in mind the inputs from user research.
Conceptualization – The ideas on paper are further taken for detailing and are given a digital form, through CAD or Illustrations, and then a physical form through mockups. (Generally paper, clay, wood etc)
Mockups bridge the gap of communication between user and the designer.
The user can more confidently express through these mockups and it’s easier for the designer to observe how they actually use it.
The insights from the user testing are used for improving the concept, this is the iterative stage and has a cyclic nature.
It’s really important to keep user at the center of the process if it is to be a user centric approach.
After a couple of mockup iterations, and a satisfied user, then comes the time to give the concept a more realistic look, through prototyping.
Prototyping is the final stage in the design process, we try to build the product by hand or by less expensive industrial process and give it the intended look and feel. The prototypes are used for testing in the field scenarios.
2. What have you learned from your mistakes as a UI/UX designer?
Neeraj: Never assume and expect things from the user, they’ll always surprise us. We all have a different mindset and a different perception about things so its very important to know your. User /client by doing a thorough user research.
3. Tell us about your experience working as UI/ UX Designer. What do you feel is important to make sure the work gets done efficiently?
Neeraj: It’s a very exciting to interact with different stakeholders of the product and know what they think about it. For example, let’s take shoes for the elderly as a product …
The stakeholders would be – idea generator, designer, engineer, production personnel, sales team, wholesaler, Family members and finally the end user.
All of them will have different thoughts and aspirations, I think it’s important to understand each of these stakeholders and also understand the different types of constraints that will come up at each level of the development process. It’s good to think about alternatives beforehand, during the design stage keeping in mind all the possibilities for the work to get done efficiently.
4. What’s an example of a project where you disagreed with the client’s feedback and how did you handle it?
Neeraj: Haha this happens every time, there is always an argument related to cost, that compromises the quality of your design.
In such cases we need to take our stand and explain how important it is from the user perspective, how relevant it is for the user, in most cases I pose a question to the client, that what they would do if they were in place of the user. The fact is, happy users, happy sales….
5. What qualities do you consider necessary for a good designer?
Neeraj: Sensitivity towards everything. Empathy towards people. Good observation power. Questioning the obvious. And of course a crazy creative mind.
6. What challenges are you looking for in this position?
Neeraj: Variety of design challenges which can serve the environment and improve the quality of life of the people.
7. Can you critique your own work?
Neeraj: Yes I can, but it’s always important to take views from the others, especially when you are on a learning stage, since everyone has a different perceptions but eventually it’s up to you as a designer to judge the comments and present in the way you want.
8. Message for students to become Designer.
Neeraj: Don’t take things for granted, but question the obvious, have empathy towards people and be sensitive towards the usability of a product and the environment. Be observant and have a problem solving attitude.
Thanks a lot Neeraj for sharing your gracious experiences and guiding our students regarding the importance of UI/UX design in today’s world. For more information write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and stay tuned with us to know more about upcoming meetup sessions.