The adoption of technology has seen the most hike in recent times. Mostly so in these times of pandemic when social distancing is a must and staying connected virtually is the most conducive means. India is one of the third largest economies when it comes to the number of digital consumers in the world. The country’s internet subscribers have more than doubled to 560 million from 239 million. India is the home to the second-largest instant messaging service users as well as the largest social media users in the world. India is one of the top-ranked countries in terms of digital adoption amongst the mature and emerging digital economies in the world.
The digital economy is being shaped by the urge to connect directly to the people – offering cost-efficient solutions using digital channels as key communications and distribution platforms. As per a recent report released by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, titled “India’s Trillion Dollar Digital Opportunity”, India has the potential to quintuple its digital economy by 2025. the Indian economy stands at $200 billion and the report states that the move from the “business-as-usual” onto the digital trajectory would create an economic value of $1 trillion by 2025.
UX/UI at a nascent stage
At the same time, in the entire 296 paged report, the word “user experience” only appears five times while the word “user interface” doesn’t appear at all. The word “interface” appears in pre-teens and that too often in the context of specific products. The words “website”, “design” and “experience” are also used sparsely. The word “Artificial Intelligence or AI” is used more than the word “website” (other than those used under reference). This is a clear reflection of the state of UX/UI design in the country, which despite being the foundation of shaping the digital experience, driving engagement, and forging user behaviors – is often overshadowed by buzzwords and macro trends.
UX or user experience is the science and art of crafting digital experiences. UX design facilitates a digital experience that is easy, engaging, and habit forming. Indian UX industry remains fragmented and nascent as compared to the developed countries.
UX/UI in India is poised for tremendous growth
As the digital economy of a nation of 1.3 billion begins to take shape, there are some key trends that are not only making UX/UI relevant but also shaping a distinct growth trajectory for the industry in the coming years.
India as an experience economy: The world economy has reached the fourth stage of evolution: Experience economy. Today, businesses must orchestrate memorable events for their customers, and that memory itself becomes the product: the “experience”. Accessibility, interaction, and trust are the cornerstones of the experience economy. Businesses are also reinventing themselves, as the users become more demanding. Gone are the days when just building a digital product or service would ensure that users will come. Clean code, fast servers, big discounts are table stakes. UX is the new battleground for companies.
Attention is the new gold: On average, Indians spend close to 5 hours on their mobile phone – which is not only the primary surfing platform but also now for streaming media content. The number of available apps in the Google Play Store was most recently placed at 2.6 million apps. Apple’s App Store remained the second-largest app store with almost 2 million available apps. So many options have made customers extremely demanding and choosy. So much choice required a digital experience to be nothing short of extraordinary to catch the user’s attention, earn their trust and loyalty. At the same time, smaller screen sizes have forced digital experiences to be absolutely laser-focused and clutter-free. Smaller screens and even smaller attention spans are now demanding an experience that is not just simple but Hyper-Simple.
Top companies are UX obsessed: AFGA (Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon) are poster boys of the digital economy. Their journey from the garage to global domination is fantastic case studies for what happens when companies make UX their single-minded focus. India is now on the radar of such companies as the next big growth market. The Indian private sector is presently leading the UX/UI narrative in the country – with companies going beyond offering websites with standard templates for disseminating information – to offering digital presence across key platforms – thereby seeking to transform the user’s intent to know into the intent to buy, transact, engage or contribute. However in the past four years, with the democratization of data led by affordable high-speed internet, the governments (both at the state and central level) are also sprucing their digital presence and platforms to engage beneficiaries directly – thereby reducing pilferage and improving the precision of delivery.
India as a global UX design hub: The growing relevance of India as a consumption market, the internet-savvy customer segment, vernacular and regional complexities, and digital as a great leveler – all of these and more are putting India into the global UX design map. UX/UI in a fast-growing digital-first economy can propel India to be a key player globally in the coming years – led by the urge to replace or replicate the complicated physical touchpoints with more efficient, unbiased, and cost-effective digital interactions/ platforms. The key ingredient to achieve this goal would be an institutionalized approach to develop, train, and nurture talent and skill sets that can cater to the ever-changing and ever-demanding UX/UI landscape.
Contributed by Mr. Hemal Gathani, Co-founder of ZEUX Innovation, which offers holistic UX solutions at the intersection of design, technology, process, cognitive psychology, and behavioral science to empower its clients, achieve their business objectives.