I am known as - Junaid
Where are you from? I am from and based out of Bangalore – have lived here most my life except for higher education and work.
What do you do? As a User Experience Professional, I figure out how people use/ would want to use technology and how I could make it easier for them to do so.
You are educated, right? Driven by a deep desire and fascination to understand the human psyche I pursued and obtained an MS degree in Psychology with a specialization in Human Factors Psychology (Minor - Industrial/ Organisational Psychology). I completed the necessary undergraduate courses in psychology while I pursued and completed a MS degree in Electrical Engineering. My undergraduate degree was in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
What do Human Factors and Industrial/ Organizational Psychologists do? Human Factors professionals apply psychological principles to the engineering and design of products, processes, and systems. Industrial/ Organizational psychologists focus on the behavior of employees in the work place by applying psychological principles and research methods to improve the overall work environment, including performance, communication, professional satisfaction and safety.
What makes me so excited about my job? Knowing that the ‘figuring out’ part of my job would lead me along a different path on every assignment I take up which would end up making someone’s use of technology just that little easier.
Passion? There cannot be any other puzzle as cryptic or any other device as complex as the human mind. My passion to understand the human mind and what makes a human being do what he does, continues to fascinate me. This is right in line with the work I do as a User Experience Professional.
Family? I am married to a PhD who worked at Indian Institute of Science as a post-doc for six years before taking up a Assistant Professor position at Dayanand Sagar University in Bangalore. We have a thirteen year old son.
What made you become a Designing Your Life (DYL) Certified Coach? Designing Your Life is a philosophy based on the principles of Design Thinking and uses a set of well thought out tools & methods which help people generate ideas to figure out where they are now and design the rest of their lives. I attended a coaching workshop taught by Bill Burnett who is the executive director of the Design Program at Stanford and Dave Evans who is a lecturer of the product design program at Stanford. I got in on the basis of teaching workshops and bootcamps on 'Structuring Creativity' and starting the 'Structuring Creativity Foundation'. The certification enables me and gives me credibility to help guide individuals to design their lives.
Life's philosophy? This quote sums it up: “You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.” -Jojo Moyes
Links to some articles I authored-
In the new form of UX which is driven by AI, Conversational UI, Chatbots, Personal Assistants and Voice Activated/Enabled gadgets, people who can think about how specific words or combination of words can make sense and be made sense of would be valued in organisations.
A Designer has to walk that thin edge between libertarianism and paternalism when designing applications – the thin line between guiding a user on the right path to complete a task and forcing the user down one. Things could go very wrong when ‘Paternalism’ becomes the driving force while designing interactive systems while ‘Libertarianism’ takes a seat too far in the back. A middle path of Libertarian paternalism has to be applied to Interaction Design to create applications where the user feels that he is in control, where Designers use ‘nudges’ to guide — not force — the users down a certain path and in the end, design applications which are a delight to use.
There are several pieces in the jigsaw puzzle for designing a Conversational experience which would not just address the end user query but would also be a delight to use. A crucial step in the direction of designing an efficient and delightful chatbot is the awareness of what goes into building a conversational experience and the kind of people that are required to build one. A set of strategies for Humanizing Chatbots are listed as well.
We set out to build a conversational system (a chatbot) to enable users (both internal users and customers) to obtain information on their leave balances, upcoming public holidays and complete tasks such as applying for leave while they interact with our enterprise applications through a chatbot – the ‘Absence Bot’. While there were multiple pieces being put together (both technical and procedural) on what it takes to get the Absence Bot to work, we wanted to check how people would want to use the Absence Bot before we went ahead and built it.
A significant number of industry professionals perceive User Experience (UX) Design more as an art. It is critical that a UX Professional understands and appreciates the scientific basis of the UX profession and applies the recommended methods with due diligence at various stages of a product or application design.UX designers get data from the multitude of activities they are involved in which span a vast spectrum of people, skills and situations. Planning and conducting UX activities in a structured and scientific manner yields rich data with invaluable insights.When data is used in a way which tells stories, deep awareness of end-user preferences and behaviors come to light leading to significant design insights and decisions which can disregard individual opinions and preferences.
There are three heuristic design principles which the iPhone violates with its action of automatically switching on the wifi and not turning the wifi completely off on a swipe up and click, namely-
i. User Control and Freedom
ii. Consistency and Standards
iii. Visibility of System Status
According to a 'Future of Work-Expected Skills' report by the World Economic Forum, Creativity takes the third spot in the Top 10 Work Skills expected in 2020. Research shows that for an organization to compete most effectively in the marketplace, Creativity must be a vital skill of its employees. Creativity is not like a tap which can be opened at will to let the creative juices flow. Creativity requires the right attitude, mindset and intent. Creativity, like many other skills can be learnt, practiced and improved.
We are witnessing the phenomenal rise and fast-spreading influence of social media. UX professionals are ideally placed to establish interaction patterns for social media and drive user interface designs and information architectures for environments that require a social context for optimal use.
As we explore what social technologies can offer and the boundaries they can cross—boundaries that had confined the traditional Web—UX professionals must now take up a new design challenge. We must address the changing needs for social media and facilitate users’ taking better advantage of everything social media has to offer.
There will usually be a myriad of questions going on in the mind of someone who has never written a book and wants to write one - How do I start? What do I write on? Would someone even want to read what I write? This article is an attempt to address some of these questions and more
In this era of information overload, how do we decide how we need to live our lives? Where do we go for advice and whose advice do we believe in? How do we know if the path we have set out on would lead us along a life of happiness and fulfilment? There aren't any doubts that experience is the best teacher. But there are plenty who have walked this earth and have left behind immense insights for those who seek. A collection of wisdom and life advice on how life SHOULD NOT BE LIVED.
If you really want to, transforming your life shouldnít be all that hard. At all. Especially if you have from some of the greatest philosophers and eminent personalities who have walked this earth guiding you through the transition.
Planning and conducting User Experience (UX) activities in a structured and scientific manner has many advantages. It is important that UX Professionals understand the scientific basis of UX methods and leverage them to enhance the UX of the application being designed. It would also be easier for the UX designer to get a buy-in from the stakeholders if his design recommendations are based in scientific logic and whetted by supporting data.
Creativity is at the core of modern innovation and entrepreneurship. Creativity is also closely coupled with the kind of work Designers and HCI Practitioners are involved in. The biggest challenge which organizations face while embracing creativity is that there doesn’t seem to be a straight forward method to measure expertise in creativity among its employees. It is important to measure creativity to evaluate the creative competence of an individual or a group of people. Without the ability to measure or quantify, it would be difficult to form an opinion to make decisions. Once creativity is measurable, it can be managed. And if creativity can be managed, then organizations the world over can enable and make creativity ‘happen’.
It has been long established the cognitive processes of perception and pattern recognition are more efficient than the cognitively intensive processes of memory, integration and inference. With usability practitioners looking more at data visualization techniques to present results, expectations will inevitably shift from simply delivering information to conveying meaningful information.By providing information in a form that allows observer to utilize the more efficient processes of perception and pattern recognition, usability can overcome the hurdle of efficiently representing usability solutions.
Efforts to integrate user generated content within an organization as an approach to obtain insights on customer preferences, increase brand awareness, leverage marketing efforts or to provide support (among others) necessitates a planned and structured effort. Planning for Social Media needs to be done with a long-term perspective in mind with a good amount of groundwork put in. A Social Media effort cannot be perceived merely as a campaign, it’s more of a permanent approach on how you reach out to customers, engage with them on a long-term basis and cater to their needs in a better way.
This paper which came out of my MS Thesis work in Human Factors Psychology examines the influence of optic flow during self-motion on judgments of speed and altitude. Optic flow is the apparent visual motion that we experience as we move through the world. Data from the study suggested that a geometrical quantity . the angle of approach (Langewiesche, 1944, Gibson, Olum & Rosenblatt, 1955) or the H-angle (Hasbrook,1975) seems to provide a better explanation for the human performance data obtained than the other geometrical quantities Global Optical Flow Rate (Warren, 1982; Ballard, Roach & Dyre, 1998; Patrick, 2002; Patrick, Flach & Jacques, 2003;Flach, Junaid & Warren, 2004) or Edge Rate (Denton, 1979, Warren, 1982; Ballard, Roach & Dyre, 1998;Patrick, 2002; Patrick, Flach & Jacques, 2003; Flach, Junaid & Warren, 2004)
I love to teach and believe that the best way to learn and master something is by teaching it. I regularly teach courses on User Experience Design and HCI fundamentals. A recent teaching assignment was at Paphos, Cyprus for teaching a course 'The Science Behind User Experience Design' for the INTERACT 2019 conference.
My passion to understand what makes a human mind work has not diminished one bit over all these years. Based on this understanding of the human psyche which I have obtained over several years, I regularly conduct workshops and courses on Structuring Creativity where I try to drive in the message that creativity is a skill which can be developed, is something more than artistic abilities, is measurable and is a vital ingredient of modern workplaces, innovation & entrepreneurship. According to a 'Future of Work-Expected Skills' report by the World Economic Forum, Creativity takes up the third spot in the Top 10 Work Skills expected in 2020. Organizations like Alphabet (Google's parent company) practice what is called 'Radical Creativity' to address huge problems by coming up with radical design solutions by employing relatively feasible technologies.
A recent teaching assignment on Structuring Creativity was at Mount Carmel College, Bangalore where I taught a one credit course spread over three days to a group of undergraduate students from different backgrounds.
My complete list of teaching credits -
I am also a writer - I experiment with narration styles and have been using (only) conversations to tell stories. I self-published my first novel 'And We Remained' in 2014 which has an 'Epistolary' style of narration - through email conversations and first person accounts of events.
Meera Bhardwaj of the Indian Express said this in her review of the book “The style of writing is not only refreshing, but also original.” Being called 'original' among the hundreds of books which are out there has the best endorsement for the book so far.
My second novel 'Closure' (yet unpublished) is narrated entirely through email conversations. I was a finalist at the LitMart event of the November, 2019 edition Bangalore Lit Fest where I got a chance to pitch 'Closure' to the publishers present and am in talks with them for getting it published.
My foray as an entrepreneur - co-founded StyleMyFit Clothing Pvt. Ltd.
Pooled finances, collaborated and set up StyleMyFit with five partners
Current Status of StyleMyFit:
o After about two years of running StyleMyFit, and not being able to generate enough orders to sustain StyleMyFit (both through online and offline channels), we have decided to shut it down. StyleMyFit ceased operations in August 2017.
o The journey of StyleMyFit though has been a wonderful learning experience.
Expertise Gained: Entrepreneurship, Business Development, Retail Sales, Marketing, Promotions, Branding, Digital Marketing and Google Analytics