Innovators Upfront: Meet Vedha Nayak, Visual Design Expert
Vedha Nayak is Mighty Media Group‘s Senior Graphic Design chief and drives much of our visual creative. Vedha has worked on a number of design projects including acting as Senior Visual Creative on Global Insider – our most recent digital publication for Oakwood Asia Pacific Hotels, and countless projects with JR/DutyFree. With the recent achievement of her Masters in Design in Digital Media, we’ve decided ask this innovator a few questions about visual and digital display and what the future holds for marketers.
1. What are the biggest fundamental shifts in design over the past five years (or since you have been seriously studying?)
VN: The fundamental shifts in design in last five years has two components. Firstly, the platform shift. Instead of the web as the primary platform, today we had more platforms to focus on each with varying degrees of screen real estate and expected user attention span.
Secondly, the demography of the target users has changed too. A good percentage of our target users tend to be those who are not necessarily savvy with desktop computers but significantly au fait with handheld devices. These might be people above 60 or teenagers who tend to buy a phone before they buy a computer. Some companies have taken this trend to heart. The preempting of mobile device and translations into design thinking can be seen in Material Design from Google or Metro by Microsoft.
2. Where do you think visual messaging is seriously lacking? What would you recommend to do to fix it?
When that number is not clear visual messaging will always be sub-optimal. For example in a shopping app I would expect the number that we want to maximize is the number of users who abandon a cart at checkout. The checkout option has to be super prominent and as frictionless as possible even at the expense of esthetics.
3. What do you see are the benefits of personalisation in visual design? How is this impacting what you do/create and make?
The utility of personalization in visual design depends on the product and the features. It is extremely important for those products which help you express their own ideas. For example blogging software, photo organizers, etc. whereby users tend to see the product as an extension of self-expression. Personalization may have disadvantages for products where deterministic behavior and consistency is important. For example, I would advise that an e-commerce app should have very consistent design experience for all users with very little personalization parameters.
The key challenge in building visual design that allows for personalization is ensuring that despite all possible personalizations, the product design remains consistent and coherent. I have always thought of Tumblr as a very good use case of personalized visual design.
4. What do you as an educated designer see as the biggest disruption moving forward? Who will feel its impact most? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
One trend that I see is that the era of “bits flowing from machine to people” is over and a new era of “bits flowing from people to people” has began. Wikipedia is a good example of bits flowing from machine to people where people use internet to get information from a machine. However, all the big success stories of last five years have come from those companies which focused on bits flowing from people to people. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Uber and countless examples come to mind.
I see the biggest disruption where technology will essentially connect people with people via a ubiquitous presence in the internet across all the devices that we use. I expect that coming years we will have internet powering not just our smart watches, but car dashboards, heaters, door locks, and gym equipment. Unlike now, these devices will connect more than one people together either in a co-operative environment or a competing environment. (Uber lets drivers and riders compete whereas, Netflix helps us co-operate and help friends discover better content to watch.)
Disruptions tend to be good for the entire society and bad for certain small groups. In the long term, transformation helps society become more productive than in years past. As more and more of our devices start getting interconnected, I think our productivity is going to improve significantly.
As a designer the key challenge here would be to think without restricting myself to any specific platform and focusing more on people component and less on the machine component. Customer centric design must be at the fore not only with the creative teams but throughout a social business.
Got a design question for our inhouse Innovator of visual design? Leave it in the comment box below – we’d love to answer it in a future article, video or Google Hangout.
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