Sunday, November 27, 2011

The preview video for my talk at DroidCon India 2011 held between 18-19 November in Bangalore

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My talk @ DroidCon India 2011

Humanize the android

ADDENDUM : -The apps mentioned in the above presentation is as following :-

1. Endomondo (Slide no.32, 41)
2. Quit Now (Slide no. 55, 56)
3. Foursquare (Slide no. 25, 40)
4. Lookout (Slide no. 48, 49)
5. Remember the Milk (Slide no. 47)

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Boiled Frog and User Experience

I believe some of you if not all  have heard about the boiled frog story. The premise is simple - A frog is captured and placed into a vessel containing boiling water. Result - the frog leaps out of the water immediately. Next, another frog is placed into a vessel containing room-temperature water. The vessel is kept on a heater to boil the water. The frog adapts to the change in water temperature, but never leaps out. Result - the frog dies a slow and painful death.

The thing we learn out of this experiment is the sense of adaptation. Humans like all other animals adapt to their sorrounding, and this is same with their engagement with software. Too much changes in a small period of time in the application's UI can have negative connotations with the user. The trick is to allow the changes to be dispersed in steps - to allow the user to digest the modifications and finally adapt to it. 

So the big idea is : How do we use the Adaptation element of the human pscyhe to our advantage while designing the next app for mobile and web devices. 

Please Note: No frog was really harmed in this experiment.

This post is a continuation of the series leading to my talk at DroidCon.2011. Come participate in the Android festival (

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Balance in User Experience

With the rise of new buzzwords  every day, it is becoming increasingly difficult for engineers to adapt and build for change. I have seen new techniques and ideas thrusted on to the customer, only for the need to stand out. A marketing driven development isn't the right solution. It always  happens when an idea spreads like a wildfire - People start noticing it, especially those who build technology solutions for others. They start thinking of how this idea could be rolled into their product and the new avenues it would create. 

Let me explain this with an example : A while back I was talking to some of my acquitances about creating great presentations, not just powerpoints. A point widely discussed was raised in that conversation - the sense of minimalism. The minimalism wave has swept the world, and I too believe its for good. But here comes the challenge - we adopt these techniques without understanding their pros and cons. After the conversation, I found a couple of my acquitances started religiously following minimal designs in all of their presentations, with occasions where audience felt the sense of emptiness  and were annoyed . And sooner than later, these guys came back with the result - people do not always love minimal presentation. The question that came out was - Does minimal design in presentations work all the time ?

There are lots of factors that go in defining what level of minimalism should go in a presentation. Finding this "balance" is critical to the success of the method. Like this, there are multiple techniques available in the field of User Experience.Applying a technique as it is won't make a solution a rockstar.  It requires due diligence from the practitioner to apply, measure and iterate through these techniques. The result of this would be a pure balance between what the user expects and the designer intends. 

More thought on this in my talk at Register today at

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Human Element

This is the first of the many blog posts I would be putting up as a prequel to my talk at the Conference to be held on 18-19 November in Bangalore ( 

I will be speaking about a topic quite close to my heart since a long time. The talk is titled as  "Humanize the Android" and will include insights on how do we as engineers use the findings from brain science, cognitive psychology and the emerging field of applying game mechanics, to create great experiences for android mobile users. 

Its ironic that we as engineers do not learn as much about the "user" as we do about the machine. We spent zillions of money of learning new programming paradigms, machine complexities, new software architectures but very little on the actual "endpoint" of the software that we intend to build. I am pointing about the study of how humans think, decide and behave. I believe it should be mandatory for engineers to learn about cognitive psychology, HCI (human computer interaction) and user experience - in order to create software of the highest order. The order for the next decade demands understanding of the human element in the experience that we impart from the software we develop. The rise of iPads, iPhones, Kinects, Siri re-inforces the point quite well. 

In the next few posts over the week, I will attempt to provide my views on what we need to know about the field of Cognitive Psychology and  Game mechanics, and how do we apply that to the software that we develop. There are tons of stuff available on the web, and my posts would anchor these links for all you readers. 

If you are interested to know more about this,  meet me at ( next week.