metadesign for UX Designing the context for design to thrive

created by Uday Gajendar, Principal UX Designer in Silicon Valley CA • via Adobe Spark

It is time to move beyond velocity-driven sprint metrics and short-term UX/UI fixes.

we need to answer questions about creating long-term value for customers – through Strategic design.

This transcends UX/UI, buttons & icons, wireframes, or Sketch files. Instead, what is the shape, structure, and pattern of the experience, the journey, the service, being offered? How are marketing comms & app interactions tied across channels or devices in support of customer moments? How do they enable a customer benefit that will be enjoyed – ensuring satisfaction or fulfillment – over the long run? (with a sense of trust and integrity) Is your organization even set up for supporting all this? This is about intentional change for positive outcomes through discovery, molding critical frameworks + systems, guiding vision, process, strategy – and culture. There are no JIRA tickets or burn-down charts for this level of work – it's truly at the meta level. But it's vital for any business that values satisfied, returning customers.

metadesign is the designing that needs to happen before the design itself. it's Defining a foundation that can flex and scale.

My Background

From large corporate design groups to early/growth-stage startups, I bring a wealth of expertise benefitting any team.

Hi, I'm Uday. With 15+ years of corporate & consulting experience in Silicon Valley tackling deep complexity & ambiguity, I am a design leader focused on innovation for strategic value. I am a proven catalyst for design-led innovation, defining next-generation concepts & coaching start-ups on UX fundamentals. My specialities include creating visionary concepts for new business models, leading "3-in-a-box"​ collaborations with engineering & product, and shaping a progressive design culture. I bring versatile practical expertise, for enterprise to consumer, desktop to mobile, and beyond (AI, VR/AR, IoT).

My education

My design philosophy & methods are gratefully informed by various design schools and books.

My Approach

My process involves progressive cycles of learning via customer interviews & disposable artifacts that anchor crucial conversations with stakeholders.

There is no easy formula for good design! Instead, it's based upon cycles of learning: understanding your users, modeling the problems, and visualizing possible solutions – all powered by creative, iterative thinking in a deliberate yet efficient way. Sure, this all sounds theoretical...until you ask Adobe, LinkedIn, Netflix, Google, AirBnB, Square, Uber – who all apply this proven model in their own unique ways. Not so theoretical anymore, is it? Read more about why I can't design without research > (and neither should you!)

ON Design Leadership

Being a design leader is a dynamic, multi-faceted pursuit – for the community, the team, and the industry.

What does it mean to be a design leader? I believe there are multiple facets to being a design leader, which evolve over time per priority & context. The four facets of design leadership shown here amplify each other, propelling a cycle of optimism grounded upon the value of coaching or sharing knowledge & passion, transmitting that value through impact, influence, and inspiration, whether working with startups, organizing conferences, or envisioning concepts. Leading by example is very much a big aspect, role modeling best practices for teams to embody.

Themes Across my career

Immersing myself in design for web/mobile/desktop apps in Silicon Valley for over 15+ years, certain themes emerge that exemplify my strengths & passions as a design leader.

There are four key themes that summarize the arc of my design career thus far...

Sketching: I am unabashedly an artist at heart, so I thrive on pen & paper sketching — fast and gestural — as my primary mode of problem exploration and solution generation. And anyone can do it! I can teach you how.

Sketching: pen & paper, whiteboard, and scenarios.

Systems Thinking: No matter what kind of problem I’m given, I always seek to understand the parts and wholes, the pathways and elements, how they all relate. The diagrams are fantastic storytelling devices to get cross-team alignment & agreement for the most complex products. I print them out large for maximum engagement!

Systems thinking: all about mapping the relationships among objects, actions, screens.

Enterprise UX: My path organically swept across various companies bent towards large-scale software rife with complexity & ambiguity, deep into business productivity arenas. I find this problem space intellectually rewarding and rich with untapped design potential. Read more on why I design for Enterprise UX > And be sure to register for the upcoming Enterprise UX 2018 conference which I help organize. (use UDAY15 for a 15% discount)

Enterprise UX: designing for business / IT productivity apps and scalable features.

Next-Gen Concepts: Naturally provoking speculative concepts to shift the design direction and motivate new business models, that’s a vital theme as well in my work.

Next-gen concepts: visually provocative speculations to inspire new products.

Speaking about Design

For well over a decade, I have spoken about design topics at a range of popular industry conferences & corporate events around the world, from Austin to Bangalore to Sydney. It's my way of sharing professional insights, and learning through active dialogue with like-minded peers, all seeking to elevate our field.

Want to get in touch about these topics? For speaking/workshop requests, please email me – udanium@gmail.com.

My design Services

As an architect / principal-level UX consultant, I provide strategic design value for my clients, who maximize the expertise I bring to the table for solving complex customer-centric problems. I provide UX coaching, promote "Design IQ" within teams, deliver rapid expert design in a collaborative manner, and create innovative concepts for future or alternative business models.

Want to get in touch for one of these services? For consulting inquiries, please email me – udanium@gmail.com.
Overarching "backbone" that drives my projects & client engagements. Everything we do together is bound by this model to ensure progress and feedback loops.
Useful Resources
There are many books I've found incredibly valuable as references to guide me in various situations.

Thank you.

If you like what you see and read, please get in touch – udanium@gmail.com


Created with images by Christian Perner - "untitled image"

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