A design lead at Adobe Manisha Gupta crafts the future vision of digital products with some stellar ideas on how to provide the best experience to our new-age users. she’s also a type-enthusiast and the co-founder of 47-Days-of-Devanagari type challenge to advocate the aesthetic quotient of the Devanagari script across the globe. When strolling on the streets, she’s always photographing people, places & life, and has travelled to 30+ cities in India to learn about its cultural diversity.
How are you planning to celebrate Women’s Day this year?
I am and have always been a believer that womanhood is a lifelong celebration and not restricted to a day. So, even for the upcoming Women’s Day I shall continue to champion other women to tap into their interests and pursue their passions, take time to learn and be proud of themselves.
Would you say there is an under-representation of women in UI and UX design?
Yes, but like other creative fields, the number of women in UX/UI design fields are also increasing.
Many organisations and design teams have started carefully structuring their teams with a multi-cultural mix of minds, thinking and approaches.
I strongly believe this diversity makes for much better results in the work we do.
What are some personality traits of women that make them better (or worse) UX designers?
Ability to deal with ambiguity and explore new ideas, being details-oriented, diligent and empathetic are the qualities that help women outshine as UX designers.
However, irrespective of the gender, being forceful and not able to learn from mistakes can create setbacks for any designer.
Who are some design leaders (male or female) you look up to?
I deeply admire Jonathan Ive for working in depth on subjects, Ian Spalter’s strive for perfection and Elizabeth Churchill for her mature approach towards diversity and inclusion.
As a woman, what’s the greatest challenge you’ve had to face as a designer?
As a woman, we all tend to face multiple challenges in juggling between professional and personal commitments, especially when you are also a mother of a 6-year old.
After the maternity break, I had to quickly ramp up considering the very dynamic nature of the design industry and the fact that there is something new to learn almost everyday.
What, in your opinion, could we designers do, as a relatively young and collaborative fraternity, to solve the problem of gender inequality?
As a leader, we should build diversified teams with equal representation of both genders to bring in equality. This is one of the important ways to design experiences which are more holistic and not just driven by one gender mindset.
Even in our day to day work, we need to change mindset towards using gender neutral pronouns like they/them/their instead of he/him/his for our users. It could be small, yet impactful steps to begin removing the biases.
Unlike other streams, design being a young and collaborative fraternity can create mediums to bring diverse voices together and highlight their stories, challenges, motivation to help people get support and opportunities to flourish. This can help to create a gender neutral society and environment.
Your message to young women looking to make their careers in UI and UX Design?
My honest piece of advice is to not just think about women and men necessarily, but improve skills such as listening, empathy and collaboration which are growing in importance in the design industry due to the need to work across disciplines.
This article was last updated on November 26, 2023; Originally published on March 8, 2021