I will be the first to admit that my writing abilities have never been my strongest suit. Never in a million years did I imagine myself writing or expressing myself through blogs. Here comes the plot-twist! Unexpectedly, ChatGPT became the catalyst that pushed me over the edge into writing. ChatGPT has been an incredible partner in helping me discover the magic of self-expression!
As someone who hails from a family of medical professionals, I always felt a deep sense of responsibility to contribute towards the betterment of humanity. It stemmed from witnessing the selfless acts of my parents and grandparents, who dedicated themselves to serving others. Their unwavering commitment inspired me to follow in their footsteps and find my own unique way of contributing to the betterment of humanity.
Being a woman of color, I have always been acutely aware of the deep-rooted colonial influences that persist within the culture and society around me. These influences, shaped by historical inequalities and power imbalances, have resulted in the marginalization and disenfranchisement of countless individuals and communities.
From a young age, I felt a strong sense of responsibility to stand up for those who were rendered voiceless and marginalized by these systemic inequities. It became clear to me that social impact was not an abstract concept but a tangible force that required collective action. I recognized that change would not come solely through grand gestures or solitary endeavors but through a sustained commitment to dismantling oppressive systems and creating more inclusive spaces for all.
Opting for a career in design, specifically product design, felt like a natural progression towards my mission. It was a conscious decision that brought me closer to effecting systemic change and creating an impact. Through design, I realized I could address societal challenges on a broader scale by crafting solutions that were not limited to the confines of the medical field alone.
Design thinking became the catalyst for my transformative journey. It taught me to approach problems with empathy, creativity, and an understanding of human behavior. By adopting a user-centered approach, I could identify the root causes of societal issues and design innovative solutions that resonated with people's needs. Design became my medium for igniting change, allowing me to make a lasting impact in ways I had never imagined before.
During my academic years, my focus revolved around projects with a social impact, including my graduation project. It was through these experiences that I developed a deep understanding of the potential design has to create positive change in the world.
Design and product design, presented an incredible opportunity to address systemic issues and create lasting change. It enabled me to tackle problems at their core, considering the intricacies of human behavior, cultural nuances, and technological possibilities. By leveraging design thinking principles, I could bridge gaps, enhance accessibility, and contribute to a more inclusive society.
As a product designer graduating from NID Ahmedabad, my career trajectory took an unexpected turn when an opportunity in the field of UX presented itself. Initially, I found myself hesitant and reluctant to embark on this new path, despite the profound impact it had on my daily life and the lives of those around me. Surrounded by my peers, we collectively held preconceived notions about digital UX, unfairly categorizing it as a lesser choice in comparison to Physical User Experience. In our minds, Product Design seemed to offer a direct path to creating impactful design solutions to complex problems.
I grappled with the question of why UX had gained such widespread popularity when it appeared, at least on the surface, to be disconnected from my vision of making a profound impact through design. It seemed as though the prevailing belief was that technology and digitization held the key to solving all of India's complex problems. However, based on my preconceived notions, the reality on the ground was far more nuanced and interconnected.
India, with its rich cultural diversity, socio-economic disparities, and infrastructural challenges, presented a complex landscape that couldn't be addressed solely through digitization. The solutions required a deep understanding of the human experience, the diverse needs of the population, and the cultural nuances that shape behaviors and preferences.
One pivotal moment that shifted my perspective was the demonetization drive. It was during this time that I witnessed firsthand the power of UX in facilitating the adoption and acceptance of digital payment systems. The user-friendly interfaces and seamless experiences provided by various digital platforms played a crucial role in easing the transition for millions of Indians. As the world grappled with the complexities and uncertainties, it became evident that UX was not just about creating aesthetically pleasing interfaces or enhancing usability.
The other and more significant moment occurred in the fields of Melghat, India, where I witnessed a remarkable transformation take place. With the introduction of JIO and affordable internet services, even the most remote areas were connected in ways that left me awe-inspired. The indigenous community, which didn't have access to their basic needs, had access to the internet. The power of connectivity brought a newfound sense of empowerment and inclusion. It fostered a sense of belonging and community. It gradually dawned on me that UX design had the potential to shape not only individual experiences but also the way we navigate and interact with the world.
During COVID, in the face of social distancing measures and lockdowns, digital platforms became a lifeline for people across India. Whether it was accessing healthcare services remotely, ordering groceries online, or connecting with loved ones through video calls, the user experience became the cornerstone of maintaining a sense of normalcy and functionality in a world filled with chaos.
As vulnerable populations struggled to navigate the digital landscape, it became imperative for UX designers to create solutions that catered to diverse needs, including those with limited digital literacy, physical disabilities, or language barriers. The pandemic emphasized the significance of designing for empathy, ensuring that technology could be accessed and utilized by all, regardless of their circumstances.
These experiences illuminated the critical role of UX in shaping India's digital transformation, fostering inclusivity, and enhancing the quality of people's lives. I realized that the field was not just a deviation from my initial path but an expansion of my abilities as a designer. It offered a fresh perspective and a new set of tools to create meaningful experiences and drive positive change.
The realization of UX's transformative potential propelled me on a mission—a mission to create digital experiences that not only delighted users but also made a tangible impact on their lives. It became clear that as UX practitioners, we hold a profound responsibility to shape technology with a human touch, fostering empathy, accessibility, and sustainability.
In this era of rapid technological advancements and digital innovation, UX stands at the forefront, driving the wave of change. It is a realm of limitless possibilities, where we have the privilege to shape the future, one experience at a time.