User experience at ‘World Usability Day 2009, Gurgaon’ from an end user

I am going to pen down my feelings about the event. Please excuse if things do not resonate.

This post is sort of Diary entry.

Date: Friday, 27th November

Time: 11 O’clock.

Event: World Usability Day

We (@gauravmishr, @sudhirporwal and @kamalpreetkaur ) arrived at Make my Trip’s (MMT) office at the specific time. After a few minutes wait, a well-dressed young man came up and introduced himself as Paurush Pandit. He provided us with a file folder carrying necessary documents about the event accompanied by a writing pad and a pencil, and a neatly packed gift.

Reaching the conference room, we saw a very senior lady giving an excellent presentation on design usability. We took our seats and referring to our event program list, I comprehended that the lady giving presentation was Mrs. Apala.  She seemed like Jeffrey Zeldman to me. I particularly liked her conveying power and the control she had on the audience with her magnetic personality.

Her presentation focused on design usability. And the crux was working for the ecosystem and design products to minimize the greed in people. ‘You can satisfy your needs but not someone’s greed so please don’t add to more it as a design creature. So it’s the responsibility of the designers to take firm steps in this direction.’ She shared this reasoning with various examples with the targeted message– Create More (value, meaning) with less (resources, energy) by changing current business models. This social service message for the Mother Earth gave me a real high because I also believe in the same and keep a check on my carbon footprint.

Next was Sunali Agarwal, Co-Founder of who talked on Systemic Saving.

She started with the introduction to Smart Systems and its attributes such as:

  • Saving time
  • Reducing unnecessary interactions
  • Reliability factor
  • Usability
  • Improving the product knowledge

Followed by a diagram depiction of Smart Systems

  • Purpose (Business perspective)
  • Usability (Ease to use)
  • Engagement (add emotional, psychological value)
  • Innovation (e.g. Radio cabs)

There was also showcasing of Make my portal features:

  • Extensive product information
  • Product search made easy
  • Booking/Cancellation simplified
  • Unique PNR key
  • Book flight any time from any where
  • 24 x 7 Technical support

Systematic effect

  • Taking care of the whole user cycle responsibly and effectively
  • Notifying/Reminder by SMS to customers adds to Feel Good Factor
  • PNR key helps in easy information retrieval of customers and less headache to hold loads of information.

After that the flow changed to new features of

  • They first ask the customer requirement and later about their details
  • No news paper ad burden – cause everything is online
  • Localization

And at last ‘’:

  • Recharge with one click
  • Micro payments made easy
  • Cheaper recharge
  • Recharge for family and friends

Next talk was Social [S]quared Products by Upasana Taku

She gave the mantra “For the People, of the People and by the People” to make web products. She pointed out some very interesting links in this area.  I had heard of a few social causes websites such as and TATA Tea’s Jago Re campaign as part of the home work for the upcoming which hopefully we should be rolling out in a couple of months.

Links shown were:

  • Khan Academy
  • Health for youth : Hope Lab (idea by ebay owner’s wife)
  • Communication front line : SMS ( empowering NGO’s around the world)
  • Crowd Sourcing: Vote report India
  • Microfinance Zopa: Money Lending [ approximate 1 million pound lent so far]
  • World of Good: eco commerce
  • Civic advocacy:


Food was light, fresh and yummy. And probably tasted better because I was starving after the sessions. This break gave us a chance to interact with experienced people in our field. We met Mukesh Marwah,Irshad Ahmed and an old pal (previous company) lost and found in MMT.

We talked to Abhay Rautela and had some knowledge sharing regarding; use of open source and some of the design techniques. He also talked about and

After Lunch

Dushyant Arora, Sr. Manager – Usability practice, gave an introductory talk on USID foundation and also pointed out to the posters on the wall. Soon we were going to break those walls… as MMT rock band were supposed to be starting their performance after some time. It was supposedly the first of its kind in NCR.

Next was V. Nachiket, a student from IIT kanpur (though he was professionally experienced). His topic was Data Visualization for Urbanization. This boy simply stole the show. The urban data collection and its representation by smart figures with a clever mix of sketching was the ultimate blend in his presentation. When asked about his source of data, he replied it was from different websites.

He was highly artistic with sharp thoughts – 10/10. Nachiket already got so many fans after the presentation spell. He added one more to the list.

Nachiket left the stage for Raman Khanna whose presentation was on UX Trenches.

And the main points in his talk were:

  • Lead with the answer
  • Ask the right question (define the right problem is half the design)
  • Problem framing (Revolutionary and Evolutionary Solutions)
  • Fail fast (You can never get it right the first time. Several quick designs iterations are better than few longer one)
  • Ignore user (Real need is to understand them and don’t believe what the users are saying. To design an easy to use interface, pay attention to what users do, not what they say)
  • Beautiful is usable (Things that look better are perceived to be more usable. Easy to use+ useful + Beautiful = Great user experience)
  • Think beyond the product (Real innovation is in designing of businesses)
  • One size doesn’t fit all (Cultural differences matters. Power vs. Distance, Collectivism vs. individualism, Masculine vs. Feminine, Long term vs. short term  )
  • Strive for better requirements (Things such as death, taxes and scope craps are unavoidable)
  • Give up control (Embed your design with the right DNA to allow evaluation. Past design is Autocratic design. Present is user centered design)
  • Design is about good hunches (The union of Logic and instinct is Good design)

Dushyant had already given us a hint of the rock band performance. So right after this presentation, the rock stars of MMT were ready to rock us.

They sang three Hindi and three English numbers. 3:3 balancing act. The songs included, ‘We don’t need no Sexducation’, slightly twisted version of Pink Floyd song ‘Another brick in the wall’… J

You can watch MMT’s Rock band videos on Youtube :

For more videos and photos check below :

After the performance, Saurabh Wadhwa covered few more topics, some of them he pointed in the beginning are going to be repetitive that gave us a chance to revise and review what we had learned during the seminar. His examples and slides were brilliant with practical examples from daily life.

This followed by a concluding speech and a thank you note to the audience, MMT’s and the organizing team for a highly interactive and business networking day at WUD.

Well done Folks and everyone involved in this, including the technician who was sleeping right in front of the audience.

Hey I forget my boss, we got an off for the day 😉