All the stories & magazine posts that talk about glamour around a start-up are false. They are false because behind all the glamour, there are times of extreme uncertainty. There are times of doing it all yourself while whole world thinks you are the fool of their social circle. While you grapple with a new problem everyday, your brilliance & perseverance can only help you so much to start. However, the journey after the start has nothing to do with brilliance and/or perseverance. It is about learning the process to keep risks to minimum, focus on cash flows, avoid unrealistic targets, and in sum, develop a process that suits your start-up.

Anybody who is planning to start or has already started should not expect a day without facing a problem that would make you feel that this as extreme as it could get. Everyday you hit a dead-end. Yet nothing stops people from putting their everything in starting up, why?

The Learning

Regardless how successful your startup is, the learning behind the scene is immense. It is something that no business school can ever teach you.

You learn people management, time management, client management, crisis management, planning & scheduling, financial management, and the list just continues to grow.

Mistakes Galore

No matter how hard you try not to repeat the mistake, you end up committing same mistake at least once more. It is a good practice to keep list of mistakes made only to be surprised that we are really capable of making so many of them!

The Process

It is all about the process. It can be learned, it can be taught. But one must develop a process that is tailor made for your organization. A startup without a well defined process is set for a doom. Eventually all the enthusiasm sets down, people loose focus, money starts drying out, leading everyone to take an easy way out and blame everything on the vision, the right stuff, the right team and so on.

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I have been doing usability study & analysis over a decade now, and every time I get into new assignment, I learn something new. Recently, I worked for a project for an industry I never had experience before. Industry wasn’t very common either – HNI Goods. It primarily includes hand made luxury soaps, hand stitched shirts costing as high as 20,000 INR per piece, hand crafted shoes and so on.

This segment is highly coveted and developing UX for such industry/business has its own hidden challenges.

I learned following during the process –

  • I cannot begin with standard process of usability study & customer research. I need a highly focused process to cover everything I need for my research work
  • Customers in this segment are highly aware of the product specification
  • Customers perhaps know more about the product/pain areas than you can imagine
  • White-space & digital real-estate has a very high value if used correctly
  • Color palate should be highly minimal so that focus stays on the product
  • 3-Click rule perhaps is outdated for this segment – 1-Click is what makes awesome UX

I discovered above points by making a tons of mistakes, scraping my UX designs for a number of times, building 10 variant of wire-frames for single screen, and in the end I got only ONE chance to talk to customer.

In sum, if you are going to work on a UX project that is in similar segment, do not expect that you will have access to customer. Customer is the king of entire value chain, and you perhaps get just one chance to observe/talk/interview the customer. So, plan your research well in advance, go with a blank slate, and ZERO notions about the industry.

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After break of almost 2.5 yrs, Ameyablog is back. A lot has happened in this short time span. Ameyablog was primarily focused on SAP Portal/UI/UX/UI5 and primarily usability of SAP applications. Being a Certified Usability Analyst from HFI, I was one of the first few who took the responsibility to bring change to SAP screens. Be it integrating jQuery in SAP Portal, or building fully HTML5 compliant applications even before UI5 was introduced.

What changed?

Unfortunately, SAP industry in India wasn’t prepared to accept modern UI & UX methodologies back then, and however I tried, none of the organizations I worked with could really do justice with my skills. I had to change gears, and move where the money is – Functional side of the SAP.

I carefully changed the direction of my career, and moved into SAP Functional. From SAP SD, I moved to SAP Vistex. I delivered Vistex project in the UK, and now work with Vistex in Germany.

What is wrong with UI/UX situation in India?

It is really unfortunate that organizations in India are yet not able to understand the potential of UX and UI5 and what can be really achieved with it. The age old approach of building SAP Application process cannot be used to build SAPUI5/Fiori Applications, and that is where everything is going wrong.

Project managers are unable to understand the importance of design, wireframe prototype and so on. Historically, SAP projects never has any designer and project approach was Inside-Out. Major limitation of this approach was it lacked user centered design & UI was dependent of SAP developers who never interact with the user. It is completely illogical.

With OpenSAP courses, ABAP developers started calling themselves UI5 developer, what everyone failed to understand was that no course can change your approach & application development mindset. A course can teach you technical aspects, but it cannot teach you how to keep user at the center, and try to develop application that are meant to resolve real world business problems.

What I intend to do with this blog?

I am not going to write about SAP or technical aspects anymore. Rather, I’d express my personal opinion on business & the user experience. I will not talk about any technology specifically, and view expressed are & will be totally my own & personal.

 

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