You’ve seen it in the news, India has been hitting the front page due to crime committed against women. The founder, Pradeep, a native of Kerala (which ranks no.1 in crime rate in 2017) has decided to quit his job and concentrate on building an app that aims to prevent crime by building a platform where families and communities can help protect each other. I was introduced to Pradeep by a common friend and when he asked me for help regarding the design part of the app, I was immediately hooked to the project’s goal. I see it something very useful for everyone should we able to execute it really well.
UX/UI Designer.  Conduct research, prepare wireframes and prototypes, user testing and UI design.
We started meeting once a week to discuss the general features. He has prepared a word document detailing the features that can be included in the app, from there we developed it further and agreed on key features we can include in the first release. I started on wireframes and flows to validate the ideas and functionalities and once we agreed on something I start designing the UI and provide the assets to him to develop and whenever he release a new version we review the app and make the proper iterations.
Everything takes time. As a small startup team, logistics was always a problem since only one person among our 8 members is working full time on the app. I myself, is guilty of not having enough time dedicated to the project. Usually, I am only able to dedicate some time on the weekends. Meetings, small iterations, testing, etc. all takes time and working remotely from each other makes it more difficult.
Form follows function. One of our early concern was not being able to develop the UI as it was in the design since we have the founder as the sole developer, he has too many things on his hand to spend time fine tuning UI. We agreed not to pay too much attention on making the UI beautiful for now. It is more important to make the app work so we can release and test the app early on, once we get all things working we can start fine tuning things.
Design by committee is deadly. On the early stages, we used to share the design to everyone and we vote on what to do. It was a big mistake since design is very subjective and each one has a different opinion. In the end of each review we seem to leave the online conference hanging not having any decision. Later we decided that we implement the design I propose as long as we agree on the functionalities and flow. Common problem I see with non-designers is that when you say design, they immediately think it is about beautiful UI, being fancy and “new”. It is difficult to convince them that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, there are already effective patterns and conventions that users are familiar with and reinventing them is a waste of time. Changing something that already works makes user relearn a new pattern that delivers the same result. That perceived fanciness is temporary and sometimes gets in the way of completing the task.