Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

“Can we try to make it one line error message? It will reduce the friction”

“2 line error message? Who reads so much nowadays?”

“That’s too much text”

Sounds familiar?
Heard often from PM, peers etc?
Me too… :)

The next thing I did after that was … sat for hours and pushed myself hard to compress a two-liner message into one.

Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I had to settle with a 2 liner.

Every time I saw that two-liner error copy, it pinched me.

But things have changed now. I don’t feel intimidated with 2 liners anymore.


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Login OR Log In?
Which one to use?
Sounds like a silly topic to fuss over?
To you, both makes sense?

To be honest, such stuffs, associated with copies was kind of non-issue to me for a very long time.

But perspective changed when I started designing for Indian Next Billion Users.

In India, the comfort level of NBU users with English is low. But preference for using the app in English is high even if the app is available in the local languages.

Thus, we decided to rework our content strategy with respect to the English language. To uncover…

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I read about Design as Problem-solving in recent years.

But then wondered, what’s something that someone is doing around me that doesn’t qualify as problem-solving?

To be honest, I struggled to come up with an answer.

Felt, maybe I don’t understand the word enough. For better clarity, I asked myself “How would I explain the word Problem and Problem-Solving to a kid?”.

The best answer I settled with for the kid is

A problem is a gap/obstacle between What You Want and What You Have. Problem-solving is all about finding an answer to reduce/eliminate this gap/obstacle.

Some examples of problem are

Office commute

  • What I want —…

Photo by Amélie Mourichon on Unsplash

Have you ever been to a design workshop?
Participants grouped into 5–6 teams?.
Tasked to craft a design solution based on a real-world problem statement using UCD or Design Thinking framework?

Have you been to any?

I’ve been to 4 workshops so far. Including design and non-design.

I’ve been one of those participants with a silent tongue and a loud mind. Maximum time, what came out of the mouth was 1/10th of what was going inside my mind. I rarely spoke. But whatever I spoke it often made sense.

Some ideas did become part of the final solution. There were…

I met my friend Anuj at TeaBrew cafe. Dim light, soft music, and the drizzle outside rendered a perfect set up for a long chat on life, career, daily hustles, family, weekend plans, etc.

As we swamped in a plethora of stories from everyday life, one story stood out to me as a designer. It exemplified the human tendency to prefer something because we have seen/heard/used it often.

Anuj has 2 bank accounts. Let’s call it Bank X and Bank Y.

He is a regular user of Bank X and an occasional one of Bank Y.

2 days ago, he…

“I’m a process-centric” or “we are process-centric” or “we follow XYZ process for design”

At times, either of the above line from the designer raises an eyebrow. Worry line shows-up on the forehead. It’s followed by a response stating why one shouldn’t care much about the process. This reaction could come from anyone i.e newly joined, founder, engineer, product manager, etc.

When you receive any such reaction, dig deeper into their thought process. Probe their mental model of the process. Try to identify what bothers them.

Let the person speak their heart out. Don’t defend. Don’t counter immediately. Just listen…

@charlesetoroma on Unsplash

Feedback comes in all forms i.e positive, vague, constructive, direct, blunt, critical, etc.

And here I’m talking about the feedback received on things beyond designs i.e. work style, communication skills, diligence, knowledge gap, collaboration skills, personal behavior, etc.

You must have heard of this popular African proverb

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

I’ve seen mishandling of feedback fading-away the togetherness.

The current startup I work at is ultra feedback-driven.

“Do you have any feedback for me?” …

The first law of thermodynamics, also known as the Law of Conservation of Energy, states that

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.

I find this law equatable with Design in a theoretical sense.

I believe design always exists. We never create or destroy it. As we turn bad design into good, we change its form from visible to invisible and vice-a-versa.

People/target segment notice bad designs easily. It stands out like a sore thumb. …

I concluded a usability test on Monday,
Shared learnings with the team etc on Tuesday,
We brainstormed the next day,

During and post brainstorm, incremental improvements continues,
On Thursday, with design sign-off + PM sign-off + engineer hand-off, the project concludes.

Next week, Wednesday,
A peer who participated in a brainstorm,
DM’ed me in Slack, a mini-iteration in the suggestion form.

I pushed back saying,
So far we have had enough discussion,
We agreed on a solution,
Let’s stick to it,
Let’s ship it.

She replied,
I agree we have had enough feedback exchange,
But it’s a small change,
Hardly will take…

Design Disagreementssss! It always happens, no matter what. Sometimes happen with design peers and sometimes with non-design ones.

But there’s a reason to feel HAPPY about it

And feel HAPPIER when it happens with non-designers too.


Because it indicates,

  • I am surrounded by people with opinions and not the YES mentality types.
  • I am surrounded by folks with high-level-CURIOSITY.
  • People in my org, consciously or subconsciously, believe in the IMPACT of design.

Being with opinionated and design-curious folks is as good as having a quality ingredient. The final product tastes superior. But mind you, quality ingredient is one aspect…

Simple Words

I’ve a story to tell from my design journey. Maybe there are some takeaways for you. I'm here to talk about design in simple words.

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