Category Archives: Technology

IxDA conference presentations

IxDA conference presentations are here now:

There’s an interesting presentation by Sajid Sayed (an ex-colleague who now works at Philips Design in India) about a new interaction design model for personal infotainment devices. Take a look: 


Article on User Experience in India

Afshan Kirmani’s written this piece on ‘User Experience in India’ for UXMatters. I was one of those who gave inputs to Afshan for this story. The comments on the article are turning out to be worth reading as well.

Read the complete article here.

“Before Mummy finds one”

A banner ad on Facebook for, a mirror of what’s part of day-to-day life/culture in most parts of India…(I especially like the use of the word “Mummy”)!


Sorry, store’s closed!

Is this the only website in the world that virtually “closes down” for few hours everyday???? A classic case of technical limitations, rather than users’ needs, driving the specifications!


Upcoming in Nov/Dec

Next couple of months seem to be jam packed with events, many of which I plan on attending*. Here’s a quick summary…

  1. *Nov 15, 16: TiE-ISB Connect, Hyderabad
  2. Nov 16, 16: India Innovation Conference: 2nd Conclave on Innovation and its ecology, New Delhi
  3. *Nov 17, 18: Bar Camp 5, Bangalore
  4. *Nov 30: World Usability Day at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad (I’ll be speaking at this event; details to be finalised, but the topic will ‘Design Research’ related). Among other things, I’m looking forward to visiting ISB’s awesome campus.
  5. *Dec 12, 13: CII-NID Design Summit: “Leadership Through Design”, Bangalore

If you know of other interesting events, related with Innovation/Design/Entrepreneurship/Research, please do let me know (email param[at] or please leave a comment here).

Yahoo’s driving directions in India

First, it was RouteGuru. Now, Yahoo India has launched driving directions, with the added bonus of “auto fares” for that route! Sounds cool. But the reality…

I searched for the route from Old Madras Road to Cunningham Road. The good news is that Landmark-based driving directions (which RouteGuru kick started few months ago) seems to work as well as they do on RouteGuru.


But, here are couple of issues to be resolved:

  • The “auto fare” is far from reality. For the above route that I looked up, the “auto fare” displayed is Rs. 45!!! That was probably the fare several years ago!!
  • The results also show the time it’s supposed to take for that route. And, going by the results here, it’s supposed to take me 25 minutes to get there. Yeah, right! Probably on a Sunday, when the whole city’s under curfew! 😉

Anyways, sarcasm aside, I thought the “auto fares” feature is a really good idea. But, it’s got to be implemented with a reality-check. You can’t release this feature without having tested it thoroughly with real-life data.

Interestingly, I can see this feature working very differently in a city like Chennai. For those unfamiliar with Chennai’s infamous auto drivers, they don’t use the meter at all…it’s just a “flat rate”, depending on their mood or state of mind at that moment! So, as & when the Yahoo “auto fares” feature is updated with more realistic auto fares, this could probably be used by those in Chennai to figure out what’s the bargaining benchmark, especially for those who’re new to the city!

With regards to the “Time” mentioned for each route, this is quite redundant, unless integrated with a real-time traffic monitoring system like MapUnity‘s BTIS application. Maybe it’s on the cards…who knows, but until then it’s quite a pointless, even misleading feature.

(Trying) to go local

In an attempt to go local in India, Microsoft’s Office website for India, is in Hindi by default!!! And, there doesn’t seem to be way to change the language to English while still being in the ‘India site’.

This seems like a classic case of misplaced localisation. Wonder why somebody at MS hasn’t figured out selecting the India site doesn’t necessarily mean people want Hindi! There’s a sizable audience in the country that doesn’t know (and even aren’t too fond of) Hindi…I could see many of them getting really irritated on seeing Hindi, and more importantly, not being able to change it back to English (or to other Indian languages).