UX/UI • Brand • Storytelling

Unfolding the
Unknown

Design4India: Facebook + NASSCOM Initiative

Akhil Komath + Ratul Upadhyay

Bangalore, KA, IN

00 Overview

0.0

About

Design as a tool for innovation has developed rapidly in recent years and is now incorporated in developing strategy and management of the final technology, product or service. Businesses today call for creativity and a creatively capable workforce to deliver a minimum viable product to the user. In order to integrate Design Thinking and the Human Centric approach into the Startups’ DNA, NASSCOM has launched the Design4India initiative to impact the ecosystem pan India.

0.1

Scope of the project

This was one of the most extensive projects we’ve undertaken so far. On one end we had our usual walk in the park (sarcasm intended) stuff of coming up with a communication strategy, revamping the whole visual language and developing print collaterals. On the other end, we had to develop, design and deploy the D4I’s social engagement web platform, overhaul the personality of the brand, rethink the strategy from a UX point of view for flow, usability and function over form.

0.2

Main objective & Design Process

The main objectives were to create a platform to orient, educate and connect the start-up ecosystem with the design domain efficiently and effectively. Additionally, create a brand experience that syncs with the company and its intended audience.

The secondary objective was to strategize and develop the operating framework for Design4India sub-brands.

0.3

Secondary Research

19,000

Tech start-ups Pan-India

3rd Rank

Start-up Hub in the world

123

Incubators/Accelerators

91% / 9%

Male / Female Founder

72%

Founders are less than 35 years

490

Active Investors

250K

Start-up Employees

2500

Start-up per year

Learn about the start-up ecosystem and current status.

If we are to reach out to the narrowed down and focused group of people in the target audience pool, we need to consider these facts and figures which suggest targeting the metro cities of our country.

0.4

Contextual Inquiry

A contextual inquiry was done within a focused group to dive deeper into the minds of our target group, the start-up fellows and analyses their needs, concerns and interests. Our attempt was to understand the height of design knowledge and design capabilities possessed by these start-ups, their pain points, their wishlist of requirements, the kind of resources were they lacking etc.

Discovering Opportunities...

Clearing the mist around design processes.
Opportunity to network with industry experts, angel investors and VCs.
The need for business, strategy and design mentors.
A platform to test and evaluate their products and hypothesis.

0.5

Questionnaire Study

To understand the target audience's background, experience, level of knowledge in design and research, pain points and basic understanding. As per the study covering a sample size of 215 start up individuals from 10K Start-up Initiative, it showed that people in the age group of less than 40 years showed more interest in innovative and user-centric strategic development - a staggering 85% compared to other age groups.

Design4India initiative was launched with a goal to augment the start-up ecosystem in India and thrusting it forward at the global scale. Design4India is not an organization that is competing with other organizations, but rather its efforts are to bring all the requirements, resources, networks, systems and services under one roof.

A domain analysis was done to learn what all has been offered out there and evaluating if these can be improved upon or incorporated. The process involved assessing objectives, strategies and selecting which institutions or organization to take into consideration.

58.89% of start-ups knew the need and significance of incorporating innovative and customer-centric design practice.

91.67% of start-ups were in constant search for methods to improve their product and maximize company efficiency.

75% of start-up founders search online for design related events and workshops.

66.67% of start-up founders prefer using their laptops for searching and operating.

66.67% of start-ups founders prefer using browsing and searching for such program in the morning.

33.33% of start-ups reach out to domain experts to evaluate their product and receive feedback.

58.89% of start-ups do not have to resources or network to connect with correct industry and domain experts.

83.33% of start-ups do not think of hiring designers due to the lack of investment.

0.6

Strategy Outlining

The Website

The social engagement platform that D4I envisioned was nowhere near the finishing stage and needed a complete redesign in terms of functionality, content and aesthetics to incorporate new information, frameworks and features that were synthesized from the user research.

  • Introducing an element of gamification in user profiles to increase user engagement.

  • Understand the mental model of preferred navigation patterns and explore different Information Architecture to come up with a seamless solution.

  • Present the initiative and the website in a storytelling format - unfolding the unknown.

  • Creating an inclusive experience keeping in mind the diverse cultural essence of the country.

  • Dynamic and crafting with attention to visual hierarchy.

Defining the Phases of Development & Project Timeline

We reached a stage where we could define the scope of this project, various stages involved within the different tasks at hand, categorizing and giving them all a timeline and also divide the work in phases to keep a realistic check on what we'll be able to finish within the time that we're going to involve with Design4India.

Design Sprint started to evolve the initial scope: Ideation, Exploration and UX Intervention

This is where we stepped in and propose that besides the basic requirements from the website, we should look at some less traveled paths to come up with ideas that were not though of before. So we decided to conduct design exercises with the people from D4I and also a few other initiatives to have a diverse pool of minds. The whole process can be summarized as follows:

The Sub-brands

They have this feeling of hollowness right now. Lots of technical jargon that surrounds it, but no defined frameworks on operations. We found that there was a need of a complete design and framework overhaul to better fit that strategies outlined and meet all the touch-points of our audience.

01 Brand language

1.0

Brand Language

"Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better.”
-Edsger W. Dijkstra

That quote sums up the current entrepreneurial and startup buzz in and around India as almost all of our startups are led by a team of developers. But one major problem arising from this trend is, that many of them are lopsidedly failing to sustain their initial rise. The biggest reason being, the design was never a part of their core functioning. Today if you’re not thinking of human-centric design from an operational point of view (as seen in many case studies) you can get into muddy waters pretty fast. So, our goal was to abridge this miscalculated gap between these two worlds with the below-mentioned theory, that helped us evolve our visual language and communication strategy, especially geared towards the Indian context to achieve this fine balance act.

There are dreamers and there are realists in this world. You'd think the dreamers would find dreamers, and the realists would find the realists, but more often than not, the opposite is true.

See, the dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun. And the realists? Well, without the dreamers, they might not ever get off the ground.

This thought process helped us identify the sensitibilities of the target audience that we’re reaching out to through this visual language. It intrigued and warned us at the same time, that while we’re portraying Design4India as the pinnacle of good design, design thinking and user centric design, it is ultimately reaching out to people who aren’t that familiar with this world.

In this battle of technology and design clashing together, ideology of dreamers and realists helped us get to a conclusion that a comination of photographic elements relevant to Indian sensibilities/culture (representing the realists) and abstract graphic elements with a sense of contemporary/modernistic look (the dreamers) would perfectly fit the bill.

1.1

Semiotics

1.2

Color & Typography

This thought process helped us identify the sensitibilities of the target audience that we’re reaching out to through this visual language. It intrigued and warned us at the same time, that while we’re portraying Design4India as the pinnacle of good design, design thinking and user centric design, it is ultimately reaching out to people who aren’t that familiar with this world.

In this battle of technology and design clashing together, ideology of dreamers and realists helped us get to a conclusion that a comination of photographic elements relevant to Indian sensibilities/culture (representing the realists) and abstract graphic elements with a sense of contemporary/modernistic look (the dreamers) would perfectly fit the bill.

Design Exercise

Following the methodology, we narrowed down on finding the most important problems to tackle and pave way for building an extensive and focused IA. The diversity in the team helped bring varied ideas to the table.

Information Architecture

After a successful and exhaustive sprint, we built orthogonal maps to prioritize the features and important avenues for the website platform. It paved a solid base to start building dirty wireframes and prototypes.

Wireframing

We chose to build rough and quick wireframes for reiterating the webpages quickly after many sessions of user testing which was done through running our various versions of wireframes through dirty prototypes made on Invision.

02 The Website

It’s Indian but global. It’s minimal but chock-full of intricate details. It inherits the essence of our country and its culture but has its roots well sewn together with the future. To fulfil the vision and mission of this platform, we augment the means to raise its value.

Duotone colour system helps us bind together the visual language in two ways. On a psychological level, it’s seen days of being used in printing presses and on LED displays of our millennials. It achieves the fine line of being subtle yet vibrant on a design level. Our spin on it sets out to achieve a classic and timeless look of the time that has not come yet. And if you look closely, there are tonnes of symbols, morse codes, puzzles for you to decipher, but sssh, we didn’t tell you that.

2.0

Homepage

Storytelling & Unfolding the Unknown

Design4India as a concept is a little bit hard to explain to our target audiences, which is why we agreed that it’ll have to be created like a storyline unfolding for itself as the user keeps scrolling down. The header text creates intrigue as to what this may be about, the following micro-animation creates relatability to let the users know that it’s for them, and finally the climax adds that punch to put your mind at ease and introduces you to the world of design thinking.

2.1

Live Events Page

Dynamic & Crafted for Visual Hierarchy

Design4India as a concept is a little bit hard to explain to our target audiences, which is why we agreed that it’ll have to be created like a storyline unfolding for itself as the user keeps scrolling down. The header text creates intrigue as to what this may be about, the following micro-animation creates relatability to let the users know that it’s for them, and finally the climax adds that punch to put your mind at ease and introduces you to the world of design thinking.

2.2

Live Tiles

Function over form

These live tiles on the home page have been designed to provide the most popular and trending content from various categories like news, blog section, case studies in a manner that the user concentrates more on the content rather than its source. It’s dynamic and keeps changing according to what takes precedence in terms of hierarchy.

2.3

Flow & Nesting

Quick navigational interlinking

Anticipating where the user might want to go next, we’ve made sure that the user’s mental model of navigation is not clogged with an unnecessary overload of ways to access different pages within the website.

2.4

An Inclusive Experience

Design4India, a NASSCOM initiative, aims to create an impact for the Product and Startup ecosystem of India by bridging the gap between technology and design, educating the need for immersive user experience around start-ups.

03 The Sub-brands

Design4India here serves as a meeting point of opposite polarities to find balance and harmony between the dreamers and realists. The visual language for the sub-brand was developed based on this philosophy.

The meeting of two opposing forces to find a common ground and appealing beauty was brought out using duo-tones and symbolisms that represent- union of Indian tradition and modern outlook, inception of ideas etc.

Design Start

Design Start serves as a foundation course for those who are new to the field of design. Philosophically, it is the first step a person or a start-up takes to the world of design and hence the same is analogous to the Root or Red chakra.

Design Lounge

A fireside chat session where people from a plethora of fields come together and discuss one problem that generates enthusiasm and inspired constructive creativity in the minds of the attendees. Philosophically, it is the second step to the world of design and hence is analogous to the sacral or orange chakra, i.e., a session to energize us.

Design Storm

Design Storm is a session where a person learns the basic methodology followed in design and UX. Philosophically, it is here your design knowledge takes birth in your mind, making you wiser, stronger and hence the same. is analogous to the Solar Plexus or Yellow chakra.

Design Dialogue

Design Dialogue is a union of the opposites technology start-ups get to interact. with design mentors. Philosophically, this is where your products and/or concepts ascend to the next level and hence the same is analogous to the Heart or Green chakra.

Designathon

The stage is set. The crowd is waiting. It is your moment to fly off into the clouds and soar higher than the mountains, showcasing, sharing your achievements and stories that people have been waiting for. Philosophically, this is where your products get to express themselves and hence the same is analogous to the Throat or Blue chakra.

Design Lab

Design Lab is the stage where the start-ups finally get to test the worthiness of your product for your customers to learn from their pain point to develop a sound user experience. Philosophically, this is where your product ascends to the next stage of evolution and hence the same is analogous to the Crown or Violet chakra.

Thank you.

Designed by

Akhil Komath & Ratul Upadhyay