Perched on the edge of the twenty fifth floor balcony fence, I watched blankly as Aditya cupped his hands around a cigarette and lit it. It was my imagination break from the reading of a printed copy of WIRED magazine which Aditya was a subscriber to. The house smelt of roast chicken and fried onions.
I was at my ex-colleague’s place for dinner who now worked at Samsung as a UX researcher and lived a few blocks away. This was my first “outing” since the countrywide lockdown had been announced in India due to COVID-19.
“Blogs can’t hold my attention for long. I’m always distracted with multiple tabs open on my browser, constant IM pings in the background and endless notifications of social media. Reading this magazine, holding it in my hands catapulted me to a different world. I was lost as I read it all, just like childhood days..”
Aditya didn’t seem to pay any attention to what I said. He looked into the distance as he puffed at his cigarette.
I continued, “You know, when I was about thirteen years old, I was gifted a subscription to Down To Earth, a science magazine and I was ecstatic when they published my letter to the editor in one issue. It was a very silly letter that went, ‘I am a new reader of your magazine and would like to read more about space and the universe..’”
I watched Aditya look in my direction but without saying anything, he stubbed out the cigarette and got up and went into the kitchen. I followed.
“It’s the power of the covers and themes in these magazines that is fascinating. It stimulates imagination. I think there should be something of this sort for UI/UX. You know, with visually stunning covers, cartoons, and collections of themed articles. Maybe we could use the advantages of the digital medium as well, you know, like juxtapose these two or something..”
At this point, Aditya who had been stirring the onions put off the gas flame and went, “Stop whining and get the plates on the table. Dinner’s ready!”
DesignWhine is an experiment. As much as us UX designers would like to advocate user research before designing anything, I am a bit hesitant to say there has been none for this magazine. It is the result of empathizing with just a couple of users from our team, at best or an insane fancy of mine, at worst. With a relevant cover, the inaugural issue is themed around the widespread COVID-19 and its effect on the design world. We have feature articles from Sam, Manuel, Michal and Barkha who present their opinions on the pandemic. And then we have a few regular features that will attempt to amuse you or get you thinking.
As this is the debut issue, the only way we’ll know whether we should continue in this endeavour is via your feedback and participation. Please talk to us, write to us, write for us. You can give us a shout on social media channels, website comments or email us. Let us know your thoughts if this insane fancy is any good..