“Practice Design Thinking and work with users and their real pain points”, says Richa Sehgal, User Experience Designer, IBM

In conversation with Richa Sehgal, User Experience Designer, IBM

Can you tell us a bit about your professional & academic background? What brought you to this field?

Richa-Sehgal_1_900x600pxI have completed my graduation in Architecture from IIT Roorkee and post- graduation in Design for Digital Experience from National Institute of Design Bangalore R&D Campus. After graduation, my first job was with Jones Lang LaSalle as an Assistant Project Manager but I was looking for more creative kind of work and that’s how I landed up at a UI & UX design startup. After that I pursued my post graduation from NID and started working at IBM as a UX Designer. At IBM, I am part of B2B and Commerce, Software Group and also work on a couple of commerce and innovation projects.

What are the different tools that you use for designing?

For a designer, the problem solving approach to design is more important than what tool she is using. At IBM we follow IBM Design Thinking approach to design user centric products. IBM is revamping its products with new design approach and language. It involves defining Hills, working with Sponsor Users, design artifacts like scenarios, wireframes, storyboards, prototypes and interim playbacks with different stakeholders in ‘Discover and Envision’ Phase and ‘Build and Refine’ phase. For low fi wireframes I use Balsamiq, for mid-fi wireframes- Axure RP Pro and for Visual Design – Adobe Photoshop.

Here are some examples of design artifacts that are created during Design process:1                                Empathy map for user capturing pain points and opportunities for design

2                                                                Brainstorming with sticky notes and sketches

3                                                     Low-fidelity wireframes/sketches in the form of a storyboard

4                                                      Hi-Fi Visual Designs made with IBM Design Language

What is the role of UX within your company?

UX has become very important at IBM within last two years since IBM Design came into existence. IBM has partnered with Apple and Twitter as well. IBM is opening design studios in all parts of world. Austin Design studio is a great example of how design spaces and collaboration should be like. IBM Bluemix (a platform for developers) and IBM Verse (the next generation email) are two new products out of Austin labs that follow IBM Design Language.5                                                                                          IBM Design Studios

What kinds of products do you work on?

As a part of B2B and Commerce, Software Group I work on B2B and Commerce enterprise products. I also work with Watson Group for various innovation projects. I love participating in hack days, idea day events held every quarter.

What are your favorite UX websites and blogs?

There are tons of good websites and blogs for UX. I like reading Smashing Magazine and use Flipboard app for referring good design articles. Internally we have IBM design community which itself is a huge resource of great design stuff. Other famous blogs are UX Booth, LinkedIn design posts, Dribbble, Hack Design etc. IBM has created a new design language which is a new addition to the list.

Any words of wisdom for UX designers who are just starting out?

Try Pursuing design education to gain in depth knowledge of what UX design is. Believe me, it is more than pretty UI and nice animations. Once you feel comfortable you can choose to work in depth in particular industry/domain so that you are aware of the best practices and know how to apply them.

Practice Design Thinking and work with users and their real pain points rather than assumptions. Remember that user is the center of design universe and you need to go to user for any design feedback time and again.

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