At MindTree, it was again the season of Osmosis, the company’s annual event which is a platform to showcase and share knowledge of different verticals and groups with the rest of the MindTree Minds. For the MindTree UX team it was again a time to decide how to participate. We decided we’ll do something engaging and from then on there was no looking back. Two weeks in advance, our event planning began by creating a task force. We went crowdsourcing, looking for ideas, subjects, and disciplines which can be showcased as part of the overall theme of the UX stall. Our hunt for ideas generated umpteen ideas such as:
- Beyond the ‘Social’ Network: how social network is being used for non-social purposes (both good and bad)
- Immersive experiences: How the video games and 3-D technology will merge to create more immersive online experiences
- Green design
- The four dimensions of Information Design: beyond the organisation, that is, space and time
- Information is a continuum (and not discreet interactions on individual devices)
- Simplexity: how future systems will be designed ‘simple to interact’ feel with complex backend logic and processing behind the scene
- Information overload
- Connecting ideas and not pages (making sense of unstructured data)
Every idea sounded interesting. Unanimously the team decided to pursue a theme that impacts thinking of people in the system, that is, knowledge of user experience and its impact on people and business. In other words, an attempt was made to educate people that user experience design is not about making pretty screens. Design of a pleasing, usable interaction requires effort from various disciplines such as graphic design, information design, interaction design, human factors, psychology, usability, ergonomics, and knowledge of business and technology trends. We wanted to convey the message: “UX is not just about pretty face.”
UX Osmosis stall was inaugurated by our youngest UX designer Ramshi Hamza. We designed the stall to attract and encourage all to participate in Osmosis. We all joined together to have fun.
The concept of ‘Time Travel: Design, Business & Technology’ was the lead communication (10ft by 5ft flex poster) designed by Vallabh, Baizil, and Ankush. The poster showed design, business and technology advancements over the last 15 years, with the intention to describe how the ‘push and pull’ between technology, business and design has forced each other to reinvent. It also showed how many other disciplines such as human factors, psychology, usability, ergonomics, and anthropology became part of the mainstream design practices. We asked participants to come and share their views on what they think the future of business, technology and design would be. We got some interesting responses that we will be publishing in the later issues.
Some of these videos showed the futuristic designs especially about ubiquitous computing and some user interviews that we carried out to understand the behavior with respect to social media spaces. We discussed immersive experiences through examples of work done by other design practitioners. But the actual learning of immersive experiences came only by experiencing Microsoft Kinet (Thanks to Danny for making the arrangements!). Many MindTree Minds joined us playing and enjoying the game irrespective of their position, age, etc. Watch the videos to watch them play!
We wanted to engage people in a design lead activity where they could feel a sense of participation and achievement. We made 20 paper boats with cartridge sheets and provided paints and brushes to people and asked them to unleash their creativity and talent. We allowed them to be creative in their own ways. Very quickly we realized that we have 20 people painting at a time and almost the same number waiting for their turn. We had to arrange for more paints, brushes, and boats. At last we ended up with 140 boats painted by MindTree Minds that are now available as a collage fixture at fourth floor in the Phase 1 building of MindTree West Campus. On an average each participant spent 10-15 minutes painting a boat; such an immersive participation would be difficult to achieve in an art competition. Thanks to Diba, Shobha, Ramshi, and Vinay A. for making it happen.
Vot'ah design: Participants were asked to vote for the purpose of design. They were asked whether "Design is problem-solving" or "Design is fun". Two examples used for illustration were:
- Design is fun: A glider that is designed to capture unusual video shots from different angles in the air. Users will launch the glider in an open space; a small camera mounted on the nose of glider will record video of people on the ground.
- Design is problem solving: An electric socket that is designed to accept any pin size and voltage and has an extension cord, if required, with capabilities to carry mobile phone on top.
Participants were asked to choose a theme and also leave a comment in support of their choice. In three hours, there were 80 people who had voted and of which 65% chose design more problem-solving than fun. The other activity was to hunt for web parts (treasure) or broken web page components to build as one. People were given two choices of designs before they started playing the game. Thanks to Natraj and Shobha for designing and executing such learnable experiences. The Osmosis UX stall was a wonderful example of superb coordination, self-motivated team-work, and a sense of expression and play. I sincerely thank Ankush, Baizil, Chinmoy, Danny, Diba, Hetna, Mukesh, Natraj, Ramshi, Vallabh, Veena, Vinay A, Vineet, Satya, Shobha, and all the participants for their contribution and support.