Design — Logo for Kaapi Channel

Rain.
Romance.
Song.
Black coffee.

My friend gave me the above slogan for an upcoming YouTube Music Channel in Malayalam.

“I need a logo. Can you help me?”

“Yes, yes. What’s the name of the YouTube Channel?”

“We haven’t named it yet!”

“…”

The one who MUST be named!

Kaviprasad is my friend of 20 years. Prasad and I started brainstorming to name the new YouTube channel. The slogan reminded us of a popular Malayalam movie teaser trailer that connects romance, songs and rain. The search for a drink/food that is consumed during a cold rainy season, evoking nostalgia, led us back to the slogan itself — ‘Coffee!’ In Malayalam language, ‘Coffee’ is ‘Kaapi.’

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I’m designLAB!

COVID-19 shutdown in India happened on 24th March 2020. All of us are working from home since then. It is a new experience for us and after three months, I think we are adapting well to it. The working day is mostly spent on communication and collaboration apps. Weekends are spent on reading, writing, listening to podcasts/music and personal projects. I rarely venture out of my home and once in a while I go for a ride in my vehicle.

Welcoming new designers

Last year, we created a welcome guide for the new recruits to our designLAB. This PDF document was sent to them in Whatsapp so that they can read this beforehand and come to designLAB on ‘day one’ with the right expectations. Here are the screenshots of the document.

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Mute or unmute?

The biggest dilemma of the ‘work from home’ era

Muting and unmuting the mic is the most frequent feature that people uses during a video conference call.

“Do you want to view Peppa Pig? Or is it Doraemon that you want?”

“Peppa Pig, Peppa Pig…”

“Here. Let me help you with the TV remote control.”

This conversation with my younger kid was telecasted to a dozen people in three continents because I forgot to mute! A Microsoft Teams conference call was going on while I was working from home. But I’m lucky compared with some souls who became the subject of viral ‘Zoom Fails’ during this Covid 19 lockdown.

Why are we finding it difficult to determine whether the video feed is ON or OFF? Mic mute or unmute? How hard can it be?

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Making search easier to access on mobile screens

Where do I search? Help me…

Search on mobile screens

I was flipping through some hand-drawn low fidelity screens of a bill payment mobile app (Yes, some of us still prefer the old-fashioned way of drawing on paper first, than a pixel perfect, auto aligned digital version on Adobe XD). Then I saw it on the bottom tab bar.

“No, no, no. I believe we cannot do this.”

“What, the ‘Search’ function? Why?”

“Well. ‘Search’ is an action — much like ‘compose an email’ or ‘delete.’ An action shouldn’t be placed on a tab bar because tab bars are for navigation. Do you know what Apple Human Interface Guidelines (iOS) talk about tab bar?”

“Enlighten me!”

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A shared Masala Chai :)

Friday Evening

Kabir walked into the meeting room with two cups of tea, some biscuits and chocolate. Yogesh and I were waiting for him as he greeted us with a smile.

“Would you gentlemen like to share a tea with me?”

We hesitated for a second as we just had a hot chocolate drink from the cafeteria.

“This is a very good Masala Chai from the shop around the corner at our office lobby. It is not machine made, the shopkeeper himself makes it on a stove.”

Yogesh ran out to get an empty cup so that we can share and enjoy the tea during the upcoming discussion.

And boy, it tasted great!

As soon as the discussion finished, we ran downstairs to the small shop as its closing time was 5:00PM.

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My New Year Resolution

Cover image courtesy: Pixabay.com

There are 400+ bookmarked articles in my Medium, Flipboard, Google Chrome, Evernote and Google Keep apps. I have amassed them in the past couple of years while skimming through various blogs, news articles and websites. I’m aware of the fact that I have read only less than 10% of these links.

My new year resolution is to stop bookmarking articles till I complete reading and absorbing the links I have favorited.

2017 will be the year of de-cluttering my bookmarks and slow reading of articles. Wish me luck!

What is yours?

10 Mobile Apps We Love!

10 Mobile Apps
“I will email you the links of some mobile apps we love. Study them and all the very best!”
This is my standard closing line to a majority of job seekers who end up before me to be interviewed for a post of mobile UX designers in my organization. Good talent is very rare. But I sincerely hope that more and more people will sensitize themselves about the amazing and complex arena of user experience design.
Here are the 10 mobile apps we love for the user experience and ‘Wow!’ factors, in no particular order.
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