#21 - Ritika Singh - Design Thinking 101: Practical Strategies for Success

Dec 22, 2022Dianne Eberhardt

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Dianne: Hello everyone. Welcome to the Pixelated Perfect podcast. I have here today with me Ritika. She is a designer. She has five years experience, and she also is the founder of Design UX, where she trains people in design thinking. So right now she's helping professionals build their career in the field of human-centered design. So I'm really excited to talk a little bit more about that and her career overall. So thank you so much for being here.

Ritika: Thank you. Thank you so much for inviting me, and I'm so excited for this conversation to begin. Yay.

Dianne: I love that. I love that. Okay, so let's dive right in. I wanna hear about your career. So the first thing I wanna know is when did design come into your life? So

Ritika: Before telling that, I would say that, do you know how Oh, in which field? I am? I have done my bachelor's. I have done it in the field of mechanical engineering, so , so

Dianne: That's, that's quite different. .

Ritika: So that was the thing. And then I can say it was a bit of a destiny that I was preparing for the masters, but I was a creative person. I really did not like engineering a lot that the theoretical part. So much technical. No. So I was preparing for entrance exam, working hard. Okay. I need to get a good rank. So, you know if you haven't heard about India, so in India, it's a very competitive world. Okay. So the students, everybody is like, yeah, the competition around different certain seats in top institutes too much. Okay. So the act pressure was on from the family and everywhere. So preparing, and thank God I when I was applying, I got to know that, oh, there is something called as Masters in design in one of India's top institute, ik. And I you know, very readily resourced about itk. Wow. It's so, such a creative field, and I would just love it. Know I won't be studying all those machines and everything now, so that's great. . So that was the time. So I gave the entrance, I got it. And I, those two years of my life with the best teachers of design professors there, even famous outside India. So with them, that made me feel in love, fall in love with design, design thinking process, and how innovative this area is. So that's how I came in.

Dianne: I love it. I love it. I love, one thing I love about design is that a lot of people got into design from a different field. And so that's really interesting. Like mechanical engineering feels like, so kind of different from that . So yeah. My question to you is, like in school, so while you were taking these two years and you were with these top professors, what what was, what were, were some of the interesting classes or the interesting things your teachers taught you that really made you fall in love even more with design?

Ritika: Yeah, exactly. Actually the courses structure and the way those professors interacted, they never give us something like, oh, you go read, prepare for this, read from this book. No, it's all like, very practical. They would give us a napkin, think what you can make out of this napkin. Okay. But think of five more users of napkin beside this. So taking thanks from real life and giving you challenges that forces your brain to think so much. And I remember like for example, generating insights. This is such an amazing task, right? You know, opens your mind in a new direction. Hey, wow, I can think something like this that, so when my pro was teaching me this, okay. And she gave us you know, many data points and asked us to derive insights, and I was able to derive so much insights in like half an hour. And I was like, the amount of mind I have used in this 30 minutes, if I would've used it from my childhood, I would've been somewhere, I would've been somewhere else. Okay.

Dianne: , I love that your teachers had, you used like real world experiences and real things, because I think that's one thing I tell junior designers is like, okay, you've done these test projects, you've done these things in a test environment, but you don't really know, but it sounds like your teachers were like, no, we wanna make sure you are really in to the whole process. Yeah. From a real perspective. From a real world perspective.

Ritika: Exactly. And empathize. Let's talk about the empathize part. Okay. Yeah. So we, we have different backgrounds, okay. And she would give us like one of the problem statements given was something to understand the pain area of villages. Like ours was a very big institute, but on the outside from the fore sides, it was surrounded by many villages. Okay? So the people living there obviously have different needs, different lifestyle. So you go observe them, try to find out the pain points in their area, and that would make you you know, give you some, another kind of a feeling. You are interacting with people, you're having tea with the person to just build that rapport. Rapport so that you can go into that interview zone and talk to them. So that was an amazing experience. So whatever tools they would teach us for research, user research, do it, you know, just let's say one hour class for teaching and then let just this one week for doing things. And I follow the same approach when I teach things to students. So recently I did an exercise. I said, okay, let's pick up five fruits, and we try to do usability analysis of all these five fruits. Okay. And that was such a fun experience. So,

Dianne: So what's, what's the best fruit

Ritika: You tell? So let's take examples. Pineapple apple, pomegranate banana. So what do you think would be the best in the ux from the UX perspective?

Dianne: Okay, so I actually, I think I came across this meme on Instagram or something of the fruit, and I was like, oh my gosh, that makes so much sense. So my base, I have that kind of background. So just from doing that, I would say banana. Yeah, yeah,

Ritika: Exactly. Exactly. So correct. You are, but yeah, so we try to do whole user journey mapping. Give a scenario. Imagine you are running out of your home and your mom is like, Hey, wait, take this fruit on the way, and now make the journey map. So imagine the journey map around pineapple

Dianne: , right? Oh my gosh. Pineapple's definitely not . Your mom would never hand you a pineapple .

Ritika: Exactly, exactly. She would never give, it's such a difficult fruit, like, oh, so much effort it takes, oh

Dianne: My gosh, it's hilarious. But yeah, banana, it comes with its own like wrapping. You just, you know, take it, eat it,

Ritika: I forgot. All the heuristics are set. All the heuristics are satisfied visibility of system status. Okay. The more it goes you know ripe, the outer covering changes color and yeah, we know q now it's the good time to eat. Oh, no, it's not good time to eat. Let's make a shake out of it. So, very smart. You can carry it with you anywhere. Wow, , we should be like that. We should be like that like banana and

Dianne: Everyone should be like a banana. That's, that's really interesting. I love that approach. I think that the best way to learn is by doing so if you're like actually taking something you do every day, or like you actually do a usability test on fruits. Yeah. Like that's really gonna un allow people to understand like the thought process behind it. Yeah,

Ritika: Exactly. And that's what has been my approach. Like when I start teaching design thinking, I really do not start from the digital front. I start from the physical world. Everyday life. I ask them that you look at around you why you have kept certain things together, why you have kept something, why you haven't kept your toothbrush in your bedroom, why you haven't kept it in the bathroom and why it is with the toothpaste. Okay. You never thought it, but you have actually built a world around you as per the usability, as per ease of users. So yeah, you have designed your surrounding around it. It's just that now you start to observe it KeHE Yeah. Why you have done it. Yeah. So that gives them that I is that analytical mindset to look at things from different perspective. Okay, why? Yeah, I like this. Oh, why? So when they start questioning and observing things, observing people, they get into that zone. And after, you know, I've taught them up to journey mapping, then I go, okay, let's talk about some digital, when we have to do it for the digital world, what is it? Because it's basically replicating the physical world experiences and digitally. So we are trying to humanize digital.

Dianne: Yeah, I love that. Yeah, exactly. You're trying to humanize digital. I actually a little kind of segue topic that that kinda popped in my mind is I just started reading life of Pie, which I've never read before. I literally just started it. And the first couple chapters, like the boy talks about his father is a zookeeper and he works in a zoo in his dad worked in a zoo in India. And the why people say, oh, you shouldn't, like, animals shouldn't be in zoos. And he talked about like, actually for animals, zoos, you have everything you need right there. Like they have water, they have safety, they have food, they have protection. And versus like if they're in an environment where they have tons of creditors or everything spaced really far away, that actually a zoo is a better place for animals to be most of the time because they have all of the comfort and they have a home there. And I thought that was really interesting, and I feel like it's kind of like that user testing for animals is like,

Ritika: Yeah. Like imagine one of the animals is like, I do not want to struggle in my everyday life, struggle for the food and everything. Let me get a comfort ,

Dianne: Right? And then there were like, there were instances of stories of like how animals went back, like animals that escaped. They ended up going back to the zoo and they ended up going back to their cages because that was their home. And that's where they wanted to be. So exactly

Ritika: In this kind of an approach or in this kind of a problem statement, what we can have is just we can build our theories or build our hypothesis around things we see, we feel here, what we lack is our user is unable to interact with us . So yeah, that is the gap coming in. Let's, if we would have got to know if what he really wants. Okay.

Dianne: Right. So like remove assumptions and like ask the questions, even things that seem obvious because maybe the answers will be surprising.

Ritika: Correct. Correct. Correct. That's why I always say students, like when you are starting with the user research, just do not you know include yourself that, hey, this is the topic I should not divert from here. Just be open. Yeah. Let the conversation flow. Let that person open up around things and maybe you will get certain insights or certain areas you did not actually think about and come up with it. Okay. So that is there, that approach remains.

Dianne: Yeah, I love that. I love that. Oh, man, that was great. That was a great start. Okay, so we definitely went down a little rabbit hole there, but let's keep going. So , we talked about that, I think that conversation started with schooling and some of the classes and kind of how your approach has been similar to that as when you take your students in mm-hmm. . So what where did you go after school?

Ritika: Okay, so after school as I did my bachelor's in technology in mechanical engineering, then I give like masters exam for Masters. And in that, I got into it kpu, where I did masters in Design for two years. So one year it's like coursework with the best faculties. And second year is a thesis work. And let me tell you my, about my thesis work. Okay. Because of my professor, it was an amazing work, like an intensive one year. It was like a project that I completed in nine months. Okay. And that one one of the national award for the Innovative design. Yeah. I got awarded with a Ghanaian Young Technological Innovation Award in the year 2018 for that approach, because I started with trying to understand the psychology of kids. Then I moved on following the design process, and I somehow related it with you know, can I do something that can build on the narrative and analytical skills of kids.

Ritika: I wanted to retell the Indian mythologies. If I say, you know you know, if people are aware about India, that India is a land of like many mythologies, and one of the biggest and most complex is mahar. So I thought that why not simplify it and tell the stories to the kids, and this need the kids development, all this put forward. I ended up creating a game come for nature called Es Kaha, which the kids play, it's a like a two-player game based on Maha Hark, on the way he learns about the stories. Okay. He narrates them, and in the end, the game also converts into a furniture, so it gets converted into a throne. So mahar is a game of throne. So in the end, after the game has ended, it gets converted in a throne and use you know, kids can just sit around and do the role play. So that was the

Dianne: Product. Wow, that's amazing. Oh my gosh, that's so interesting. So within that year process, like what would you say was one of the most challenging parts of that project? Because it sounds very challenging.

Ritika: . Exactly. When, when I was defending this thesis, even one of the judges asked me how you connected this? How it is so complex. Like you started somewhere, somewhere, somewhere and getting connected. I would say that I had the best mentor. She kept pushing me. I, I remember in the between, I have even cried in her cable. She was like, no, no, no, this is not a, ah, okay, I'm, I'm stuck. So there were points, I was stuck. I was going to her with ideas. Okay. Every time coming with the ideas. So one of the problems that I, the things that I learned during this one year of a journey, when I initially started the research, I was still not so much mature that you know, I should just be in the moment in the problem. My mind was always around what would be the solution?

Ritika: What would be the solution as all designers do initially. So it was that, but my pro, no, don't think about the solution. Dig deep. Dig deep, okay. If I'm ta talking about narrative, she's saying how many types of narrative explore that, which would be the best narrative type to be told for a kid? Then again, exploring in that. And then I found the right narrative type, the right age group of kids, okay. Mythology. I read the mythology like from seven different perspective, okay? Seven different books, videos. I myself was like, it's a complex story. So I myself was not well read in that. So that was a challenge. I okay. Kept on reading many books, many books, and even at, that was a time that broadened my mind to understand what a story is. Okay? We always think that, hey, the story goes like this only, but it actually depends upon the narrator, okay?

Ritika: How we connect the character to the scenario and the story gets built. So it depends upon who is narrating it, and hence, I understood that the story might change. Why can't the story change? Let the kid interact, the character and the scenarios and make his own story around it. Okay? And that gave me, so my proof was actually pushing me towards it, and I was always like, Hey, how can a story can change? Yeah, okay. So that I got it. And then I want something I you know, study certain psychological theories around kids, so I understood that whatever is in the kids' involvement that influences their behavior if they interact with it. So that's why the game that would be converted into a furniture that can be in their room near them, they can always interact with it passively also. So all these parameters put together, yeah, that was like when I was putting these things together, that was where the things were getting jumbled up, not coming up with the good ideas. And I can say that you know, I was very much stuck in that period. Then I just let it go. I somehow like stopped thinking for a few days and then, yeah. Wow.

Dianne: Yuka isn't that, that's so interesting. Well, okay, so I wanna kind of bold a point for everyone. Something that you said that I think is really, really, really great, which was like, don't always jump to the solutions, right? You have to do the research. And I think especially junior designers or designers, I mean, honestly any designer, but I think a lot of designers, they're like, okay, I need to figure out what the solution is first. And I think even if we know in our heads we need to do research, that's still just who we are in human nature. So I think that's like amazing advice, and I wanna do that more. It's like, hey, like take time to do that research to understand you're not, you don't need to jump to conclusions because you don't know what you're gonna find.

Ritika: Totally correct. Totally correct. And this field of ui ux is such a creative field, and you know, if you would ask me why I started mentoring and offering training in this field was while I was working, well, like I do work as a full-time ui ux designer also. So during that time I was also engaged in recruiting people, okay. And I was taking interview of some junior designers and their basics were wrong. Okay? Like persona, I asked like, how many like let's say you have a user base of four lack people. Okay? How many personas you would create that person? Say 50. She said, I'll create 50 personas. How will you be? So I understood like, the base is not clear. Okay. So she had taken some bootcamp, but it was you know I asked many more questions.

Ritika: It was not good. So I thought that maybe I can jump in. Okay. At least some people that I would, you know, like to train that will be a different approach, not a theoretical approach. All practical, fun examples from life. And hence I got into this field and I just love doing this because students also change, they love the process because initially, like one of the few things I say in the, like in the initial class, Hey, design A was for me, and they will just go on sketching vo. Okay, great. And obviously everybody would have got something, you know, similar to this shape or other painting at the back of, at your back. Okay. Something similar, , you know, all of them. So that's what, when I said you jumped on the conclusion, Hey, I want was you never asked like, what was the purpose where I going keep it. So I tell them, take a step back.

Dianne: . Yes. Oh my gosh, that's so fascinating. I love how you approach your, your courses. So well, I wanna ask what you do in your day to day, but I think we're on this subject of mentoring, which I can tell you're passion about and it sounds so interesting. So let's keep exploring this and then we will talk more about, you did say yeah. So , you start, so you, where you said mentoring kind of came from is you were interviewing junior designers, you were doing things like this, and you're like, ah-ha, there their approaches, there are gaps gap, correct? Like, let's help these, these junior designers. So how did you get started? Like, how were you able to form your, your company?

Ritika: I was like, okay, firstly I need certain connections to work out for me. Okay. Because how do we get students? So firstly, actually I started with I did not readily jumped up to my company, and I will give training over there. I, you know, keep kept myself open to other companies who offer training in you are UX boot boot camp. And I rendered my services as a freelance trainer over there. And hence I got in to connect with different kids. And I was able to understand that yes, I'm able, because that is also a question I want to deliver, but am I able to deliver? Are the students liking it? What is their you know, feedback coming in? So that was a good test of mine. I got new hands with people from various background, okay? Even from us I had clients from us UK and India, many people with different background.

Ritika: Some were artists for a life, like 30 years of experience as an artist, and now they're over here. So medical background, psychology background. So that was an amazing experience, how to handle different kind of people with different experience in one batch. And hence my expertise in delivering training, it kept on improving and improving. And then I said that I'll offer my own company and render my services under design X. Okay? And hence I start connecting with certain corporatees and college, okay. Where they want to render a u UX workshop for the students. Because even people are not aware of ui ux at many stages. You know, that's Israel, right? Yeah. So, and, and India, I can say even that much of exposure is not there. Okay? So if you have heard something fun about India, so if you are the eldest child and you are very good in studies, either you'll become a doctor or an engineer. So, you know how, why I am an engineer ,

Dianne: I'm an engineer .

Ritika: So that was the thing before with time, it is changing the way this digital thing. So now you and me are connecting. If I take a direct flight also, it'll take 24 hours for me to reach your place, and same for you. And now, like this digital world is getting things done so easily, man.

Dianne: Yes, yes, yes. That's amazing. So you started Design X after you did your own user research, your own testing, understanding Yes. Design thinking and you kind of launched and like, how, how is your program set up now? Like what, how do you, do you have like a certain amount of students and you do like quarterly, monthly? What is the, the structure?

Ritika: Okay. so, so it's like I want to give like full hands-on training in u ui, ux. So what happens that is like spread over a month three months, three to four months where I help because these are basically working people. So they would have time on the weekends or after the working hours, so they get their time. So I provide training on the weekdays in the evening hours and on the weekends. Okay. So it goes, it spreads over three to four months where hands-on training on UI X is done, and then I help them make their portfolio and apply for jobs. So get obviously, you know, in our field case study has to be there, A portfolio has to be there in order to prove that okay you know, things and people are lazy. Students are lazy to do that.

Dianne: Yes. , yes, . So,

Ritika: So push, push always, like after the courses has ended, they, I take everyone's name, Hey, have you done it? Done the research. Show me the insights you keep on pushing, because I really want to complete them because although they complete the course with me, they, if they do not make their portfolio, they're not able, they will struggle to land up on the right opportunity.

Dianne: Right? Totally.

Ritika: So that was my goal,

Dianne: Yeah. Oh, that's amazing. So for junior designers listening and maybe maybe people thinking about design taking a course, like what do you recommend for, what do you recommend designers look for when thinking about taking a course or looking into different courses?

Ritika: Exactly. So one of the many questions that comes in, Hey do you, will you teach Photoshop? Will you teach Illustrator Figma? So they know still I think that many people understand design as art, the beauty, okay, this kind of confusion comes in. So some people believe on this, so they themselves are not aware. So I make sure that, okay, I host one workshop or like a one se seminar before to make them aware that hey, the process, you master the process. Then there are tools for doing it. And tools will be a part of it. Like, for example, I get them hands-on, on Adobe XT and Figma, okay? So that, I say tools will be there, but that is a secondary part, okay? You need to master this process, man, because see, you can make a beautiful design. You just take salt and references.

Ritika: So many things are available online. You can just copy and do things. But if somebody gives you their website to redesign for you, how would you know that? Where to start with? What are the gaps? Will you or just work on the color scheme, will you just change the illustrations? What you will do until, unless you know the process, you know, what's usability is, what are the parameters that define the good or bad in a ui and how you can handle it. You cannot approach it. So tool is something that will help you get things done, but firstly, you need to know what's wrong and that you get to know by mastering this design thinking process. So know that the maximum effort will be put on this. So even when you are searching for certain courses, just have a look. If they have certain free session videos, how much interactive with it it is, because I really don't feel that if students don't interact, they, they can't learn much.

Ritika: And ours is a very interactive based course, right? Like, we need to ask questions, we need to speak our minds out. That's how we will learn. So just see I don't believe in giving record, like ui, ux, okay, tk for understanding a bit, few recordings is, okay, fine, fine. But a whole course in ui, ux, without any mentor, without life to life interaction, I feel that's not for our field. It something other field that can be good. But for our field, based upon even my experience, how I became from an engineering background to designer, thinking in a different approach, you know, ingenious have that push approach, and now we are pull approach. Okay. Yeah. So whole approach changed.

Dianne: I mean, yes, interactive, that makes so much sense. I think that's like, I think that's missing from a lot of the courses. I've had conversations with junior designers, they come out and like, they literally had an assignment and on a piece of paper and they did it, or they like jumped into Figma immediately. So I think I, I love, I feel so passionate about the pro you take, and I think that's, that's wonderful. One question I do have is, we've talked a lot about design thinking. I know that's really like the core of it, but I have a question about the UI side of things. So something I've noticed particularly coming from junior designers is they've learned the process, they've learned the ux, maybe they're not fluent in it, but they understand it. Hmm. And they kind of are thrown into the design side, but I feel like a lot of junior designers don't have like the, the design skillset. Like they don't have color theory or they don't know like, type sizes. And there's still like a lot of frameworks from a UI perspective. So what would be your advice for designers to kind of learn, or how do you teach designers some of those design principles? Especially because a lot of designers come from engineering backgrounds or backgrounds that are not design oriented at all.

Ritika: Yeah. Yeah. So color theory, I, I'll tell you, like this is the most problematic topic. Like you know, we struggle to teach because understanding the balance, having developing that eye, okay, this color will go good with this, this I can use in 80% of all this space, this and 20% it takes time to come. Okay? So I do teach them basic color schemes. Give them a lot of examples, give them certain examples of website, try to draw the color scheme. Is it a complimentary triadic what it is? So teach them, get them to see things and get them on activity. Okay. Hey, so today's activity, get onto these websites or these apps, try to understand the color scheme and tell me what you observed. What is the color scheme? So I think if you have to develop that eye around color theory as well as the typography see, it's not possible to get it developed in just three months.

Ritika: Okay? It takes observation, power, and practice. Two things. If these get missing, now they struggle in to this, okay? They then a struggle. So initially the in I tell you, okay, hey, take inspiration. You observe what if you like certain, you all just observe, okay, what is the typography they have used? What is the color scheme they have used? So by observing, noticing things, you will get onto this. And some shortcuts, I tell if you are so much struggling, not able to find out the good color scheme, take inspiration from the world's best designer God. So search for some birds, images, flowers, nature, and take the color scheme from that, that will suit you, will get a good contrast word color scheme that will too. So because they struggle in that, that is a true, I I agree because it does not gets created in these small duration. So I just pushed them, okay, hey, develop your eyes to notice things, how something is going, some color is going with something else, how you can balance the colors. So it takes time. But yeah, students have to practice a lot to master this process. Yes,

Dianne: I think that's, that's like, yeah, the, the idea of like, they learn so much from you and they're taking this all in, and then they have to continue to work on it and practice and practice and practice and practice, and that's how they're gonna, yeah, they're gonna learn. Okay, so, so what I wanna hear more about like your career trajectory outside of this amazing program that you've created. So when you, you won an award, you, you're doing really awesome things in school. So where did you go after kind of that internship and that, that last year?

Ritika: Okay. Okay. So after my school, I got a pre-placement offer from T c tcs data consultancy services. I was working with them as an intern. And you see, this is a whole corporate world, okay? So I got working with them as I joined them. So the amount kind of projects I have worked in school or my masters was totally different from what projects I got here. Also, what things change is the time limit in our colleges. It's flexible, it's okay, fine, get a one day extension, two day extension. But in the actual world, no, it does not happen. There is a time limit and you have to adjust. Okay? So you cannot and I think it was not a time that the people I was with in let, let's say the people who are handling the development or the business part, et cetera, they are also not aware about the UX process.

Ritika: So how do you make them convince, okay, hey, there is something called as user research, I need to do it at least some part of it. So it took a lot of like a bit of a time for me to understand how to deal with people. And hence, I understood that when you get into a field or any kind of a corporate industry that you feel that, you know, a UX approach is not followed from the route, okay, this is something new to them, they want to adopt it, this is something new to them. So what you do is you also adopt a bit, okay, in the beginning only, you do not be so much adamant that, Hey, I have to do this thing only. Yeah, well, I need to go in the field, do, is it research? So I try to find a mid path, try to adjust on the, okay. And I, one thing that I would would like to suggest to anyone, if he is going into this field of UIUX in the market, have a very good relationship with your business owners and the development team have a very nice relationship because ultimately what you make need to get the buy-in of your business owner and will be developed by the development team. So never fight with them. Okay.

Dianne: , great advice. Yes. Yes. And I love what you said of like adopting the approach. So like, don't go all in at the beginning. Like you have to slowly work your way in and you have to gain that trust from them so that they will give you more leeway. So building that makes so much sense.

Ritika: Exactly. Exactly. In in the first two years, it was a time for building my credibility, whatever I do, if I take time, what I do how it eases the process, it eases the approach. So the applications we handle on in this industry had a user base of like five four to five flag people designing it from a scratch, following everything, but yeah, adjusting on certain thing because they need to keep the revenue running. They need that development team also has some kind of work to do. They cannot give all time to you. So trying to find a balanced approach, okay I'm done something, let me supply this wire frames to the dev team so that they're working in that time. I take up a different task flow and work on that so that you have to know, okay, how to make that work.

Ritika: Okay. You everything can't happen by your way. I cannot be adamant because then they will not trust me. So when firstly you adapt, you build your value, then they will come to you. So now what happens? They come to me directly, Hey, this is the urban, what approach we should take? What should be the way out initially? Hey, you do this, you do that. So now that value credibility is there. If I say something, yeah, yeah, let's do it. If saying that's correct, okay, let's do it. It'll increase the user revenue. So that's what it is. You build that trust. That's,

Dianne: That's amazing advice. I think that's amazing for, for junior designers and designers, I mean designers at all levels, but like whatever you learn in school, however, you learn the basics of ui, ux, you know, you have to know going into a, a company and a job that honestly probably all that's gonna go out the window, and you have to build it up from there. Like you have to figure out what makes sense for you and what makes sense company, and to slowly bring them in and to allow them to see more and to trust your process. I absolutely a thousand percent agree, that's what we've all had to do as if we've been in this industry, we've worked our way up. We all had to start with like completely removing our process and adding it back in and building that trust and getting that value. Yeah,

Ritika: Getting it done. That, that's correct. Like I think and we also like those people okay. Who come in and they are ready to adopt and know the work culture around there. Okay? Because there will be people who, with various years of experience in different field, they have followed a different approach. Now you suddenly tell them, Hey, no, this way,

Dianne: Right? Right. And what would you say to designers because I think a really big part of design is actually communication, and that's not something they usually teach you. It's like a soft skill, but it's so important in design, and it's not something I ever knew when I was in school and studying. So what would you say to kind of gain those skills and to learn how to communicate in a business setting?

Ritika: Yeah, totally agree. So never say no upfront. I totally agree with you. Okay, so I totally agree with you, but I say no, even don't say, I say, but you know, there is a research published over there that says that 80% of the people just spent 10 per ten second on the homepage to scan the content. So even don't take blame on yours site. So I always tell my students that we are like lawyers, okay? In our UX design process, we try to gain evidence, okay? We just try to collect evidence so that we can defend our design, Hey, why you set out these menus, this information architecture, because, hey, I did card sorting for it, so do your process, right? And talking about communication, one thing I would say is you read, you read a lot because using the right words is also necessary. Once I asked someone K, hey, how will you collect what are the research methods you will use initially? So instead of saying that, Hey, I will try to do some desk research or secondary research, she said, I will go Google things. Yeah,

Dianne: ,

Ritika: I, I, I, I said, you would've said it in this manner, that I will try to do a desk study around the content and try to find some papers and related content from a trustable sources and get insights from them. . So I, although it means the same thing, but yeah, ,

Dianne: Oh my gosh, that's hilarious. And yes, like if you go into conversations and people that don't know design and you say you're gonna Google it, they're never gonna like, believe whatever you tell them, they're gonna be like, oh, I could just Google it. Why do I need you? There's obviously so much more into to it than Googling, but that's hilarious. It's a great example. So no, that, that's great advice. So what happened? So where are you today or what was what happened between this first job and learning and now growing into where you are today?

Ritika: So like I can say that the confidence level, like and the approaches, new, new examples get coming up with new, new approaches, assignments to get them doing, to let them think. So I have grown that kind of, I can say my mindset has grown a lot because while delivering, there are different kind of people with different mindset, and you have to match with everyone. So I've you know, gained my expertise in that field apart from like who I am as a u ui UX designer. So even training, I can say that I learned a lot while delivering it to others. So I'm recently even starting to, you know, offer design thinking for educators, like the ideas program. So for educators, because in India, a new curriculum has come in that is more analytical and practical based. Okay? So the central curriculum has changed. So now the government wants their teachers to also be trained in a new approach, how to deliver that to students. So design thinking for design you know, educators is also necessary. So something starting into that also. So I think that I'm just loving this field, interacting with people, delivering what I know, learning more by reading. So I'm meeting new people, like you all. So amazing. I'm just loving my life currently. Oh

Dianne: My gosh, I love your life. Oh, it sounds like I feel the passion, and I love how you, like you are a ui ux designer, you're a product designer, that's what you do, but you're applying this logic in how you do things to, to the education world now, or like, there's no limits, right? Like there's no boxing and there's so many things you can do, and that's, that's a really, really interesting, so are you partnering with the government to come up with teaching? What, what's the next steps for that? I'm fascinated by, by that.

Ritika: Okay. Yeah. So yeah, so reaching to government is a bit difficult, but trying out to find the way out. Also, currently, I've got some connections with between people who are with government. So he has you know, there's a, a different company. So he has tried to, okay, we will start a workshop in January. So we are starting one, not directly from the government side, but yeah, certain educators are there. We are taking one approach from his side, basically. Let's see how it goes. Then we can use it to pitch to the government. So that approach we are thinking on currently.

Dianne: Wow, that's so cool. I love that. That's fascinating. So will, are your, is your plan to continue to do Design X and continue to teach designers?

Ritika: Yeah, like, I think this is a field and it, it's a need of the R because I do not want to, you know, students who want to learn, they get devoted, they waste their important time in life, and then they repent on or they struggle with. So if they're giving time to something, let's make it worthwhile. So that's my approach. So yeah, that's the, that's the only motive in my mind that if you are giving me time, I give you my a hundred percent and let's make this thing work. Let's revolutionize design. Everybody knows it .

Dianne: I love it. Yes. And I think that's so true. It's like you're not gonna sit there and push people, right? Like you need them to push, and when they push, then you're gonna be able to give them that value. Yes. But like, you gotta see them working for it too. It's gotta be mutual. And yes, that's where the passion comes. I tell you,

Ritika: You know, one of my best happy moments is one of my students, he called me like, it was my first bash. He called me, Hey, [inaudible], I really needed to talk to you, okayk hey, all thanks to you. Do you want to treat, I want to give party to you. I said, what happened? Even the course was not fully completed. He was like in the three fourth way, he said that, Hey, I got a new job with my a hundred percent pay rise and all thanks to you. This was the line he used. And that was one of my happiest day of life that day. I felt, Hey, yes, whatever I'm doing is worthwhile, I should do it. And that's all the journey continues.

Dianne: That's beautiful. That's so beautiful. And I'm sure you have gotten so many more compliments and you're going to get so many more from, from all of the work you're doing. I'm, I'm really excited to follow along on this journey with you and see all of the things that, that you're gonna accomplish. Yes. Because that's just so amazing. Yeah. That's amazing. Got it. Well thank you so much for your time. This was really, really fascinating. I absolutely love learning about your approach to kind of educating designers, design thinking, thinking outside the box. I, I really enjoyed this, so thank you so much for spending some time with me,

Ritika: And thank you so much for finding me. You know, it was, I really thanks this digital world. Thank you for connecting two people from across the world, sharing their love for design, and that's amazing. Thank you. I had an amazing time. Thank you dear.

Dianne: Thank you. And we'll continue to follow along with your journey. So we will, we'll catch up soon. Yeah,

Ritika: Yeah, sure, sure, sure. Yeah. Thank.

Dianne Eberhardt

Dianne Eberhardt

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