ZEUX, one of the fastest growing holistic UX solutions companies in the country

ZEUX, one of the fastest growing holistic UX solutions companies in the country

IMG_2554Exclusive interview with Hemal Gathani, Co-founder, Zeux

In the third year since inception, ZEUX has grown from two-member team to thirty. In the process, company has not only established themselves as one of the fastest growing holistic UX solutions companies in the country but also executed multiple innovative projects for marquee clients including reputed banks, telecom companies, and travel and tech companies. About 80 per cent of their business comprise of repeat and referral clients. More importantly, the company has managed to take the discussion around UX into the boardrooms of their clients through the thought leadership and advisory services.

ZEUX was established because of a strong market need to have design solutions focused on achieving business goals rather than making something visually appealing or just following a cookie cutter process driven approach. ZEUX approach is clear i.e Empathize with the clients, understand their core pain point areas and design the process and solution that helps them move the bottom-line- increase online sales, conversions, engagement, decrease costs, errors and improve satisfaction. Our tagline says it all “Outcome Driven UX”.

There is a lot of buzz about UX which leads to a lot of confusion. ZEUX’s core UX experience and thought leadership makes it perfectly positioned to ensure that UX is done in a more systematic and scientific way. ZEUX aim is to solve the big UX problems with big ideas and create compelling success stories.

How would you describe the character or personality of ZEUX as an organization?

5 brand pillars of ZEUX:

    1. Innovation: Solution-oriented organization focused on solving big real-world problems with big ideas
    2. Excellence:Committed to creating exceptional experiences and delivering the highest value to all our stakeholders
    3. Simplicity:Zero tolerance for clutter and laser like focus on crafting experiences that reflect clarity and cleanliness
    4. Patient impatience: Patient in pursuing our long-term goals as an organization, in nurturing the relationships we need, in creating value before attempting to claim any, and in being professionally persistent. But impatient in adapting to rapid changes in the technology ecosystem, in the creation of new opportunities and in bringing our innovations to life.
    5. Outcome orientation: Committed to delivering measurable business success.

Can you explain what UX/UI design is?

UX is officially a buzzword. The increasing interest in UX has also created many misconceptions. You will get a different definition of UX depending on who you ask. So, it’s equally important to clarify what UX is not…

1)UX and UI is not interchangeable.UX design is about engineering an experience that a user has with the company, its services and/or its products. To achieve this, UX designers do extensive stakeholder visioning exercise, user research, navigation structure design, information architecture, task architecture etc. UI refers to the graphical layout of an application. Use of graphics, Right color schemes, buttons, fonts, content, spacing, margins etc all form a part of UI designer’s role.

2) It is not UX design if it doesn’t involve users in the design process. There are many so called UX designers and companies who claim to do UX design but simply do not involve users in the design process.

3) It is not UX design, if the design is not a confluence between business goals, user needs and what technology can enable.

What are the key trends that will shape up the UX/UI in future?

The key technological trends that are starting to shape the digital and UX landscape in India are IOT, block chain and AI. About 6 months back, we partnered with a global Fortune 500 company to design an IOT based solution for solar water pumps aimed at providing Indian farmers a reliable, affordable, abundant and sustainable source of electricity. We are also working with a top bank in India to innovate on a block chain based trade finance platform that will help eliminate fraud from complex financial transactions and bring in much required efficiency and transparency in that sector.

How ML, AI impacting UX/UI process?

With the advent of smart personalization, AI, VR, IOT, Block chain, digital solutions are becoming more intelligent and personalized. Digital interfaces are rapidly evolving from navigational containers & content boxes to conversations. Users are now craving a new, seamless, on-demand, digital experience: one clad in a conversational interface, ready to serve, and capable of complex actions. At ZEUX, we have always believed in pushing the boundaries of user experience towards the ultimate goal of completely humanizing technology. To that end, we keep a very close watch on technology advancements and trends and ensure that our solutions and processes are constantly aligned and adapted to the evolving digital landscape. As a thought leader, ZEUX often takes the lead in defining UX standards and putting frameworks in place for new technological paradigms. Most importantly, ZEUX understands that creating exceptional user experiences often requires cutting through the hype of the latest technological trend and distilling down to relevant use cases that will ultimately make life better for the user.

How colors impact on UX/UI design process?

Most people think that use of colors is largely subjective and as per one’s personal choice. However,colors are known to impact the user experience as it affects humans psychologically, physiologically and emotionally. The right user of colors can help augment and highlight certain elements on your website or app and thereby help increase conversions. Also, there is enough research available that helps you avoid use of certain colors in a certain context. E.g. Never use red or blue color together (showing red text on blue background) as it is difficult to read because of an effect called chromostereopsis (visual illusion caused by using highly saturated colors together). Great user experience is an outcome of applying art and science of colorsin combination.

What are the design trends you foresee in next five years?

1) Focus on outcome orientation: Gone are the days when businesses think of UX as designing something which is merely aesthetically pleasing. That is just one piece in a big puzzle. UX ultimately needs to impact the bottom line. Most digital focussed organizations track metrics like conversion rate of engagement time and tie these metrics back to design decisions.

2) Hyper simplicity: The ‘less is more’ design philosophy is a bed rock of good UX design. Apple & Google are best in class examples of using whitespace (empty space) to hyper-simplify a digital experience. However, whitespace is still a hard sell in India. Some India businesses (especially large incumbents), still believe in the ‘Let’s just fill the empty space with banner ads’ approach.

3) Persuasion Design: Ease is no longer enough to acquire and retain customers. The dominance of mobile interfaces has ensured that ease of use is now a hygiene factor in UX. So, when all competing digital products offer the same amount of ease of use, how does a business differentiate and create loyalty? The answer lies in understanding that all decision making in human beings is a result of our subconscious beliefs and underlying emotional drives and blocks. Using persuasion design techniques to map the emotion landscape for a given context and using it to craft a digital experience can generate the desired amount of influence and nudge the user towards the desired behavior.

4) Vernacularized English: Today, users in the Indian digital ecosystem are most comfortable conversing in a hybrid mix of English, internet slangs and their local language. Vernacular or and vernacularised English (Hinglish for example) is increasingly becoming the dominant language of conversation on Indian digital platforms. Indian businesses that will be the first movers in addressing this user need and provide content that ‘speaks in the users language’ will reap huge benefits.

5) Chatbots for customer support: Over the last 3-4 years, Chatbots have gone past the ‘peak of inflated expectations’ phase on the hype cycle and are now slowly emerging out of the ‘trough of disillusionment’ and into the ‘slope of enlightenment’. Gone are the days when most digital focused businesses were in a mad rush to launch their Chatbot offerings and saw an intelligent conversational interface as the silver bullet to solving all their UX problems. Business have realized that a conversation is not always the best way to do something because conversational interfaces alone cannot make a digital experience easy, efficient and natural.

For common and frequent tasks users still prefer to point and click using graphical Interfaces instead of typing which requires more time and energy. But all is not lost for Chatbots. They are making a comeback as the weapon of choice for customer support especially for use cases which cannot be templatized into a canned service request. Thanks to improved artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, chatbots today are playing a major role in streamlining and optimizing customer service operations.

What are the turns-off to avoid in UX/UI?

1) Thinking that UX and UI are interchangeable. They are not. UX design is about engineering an experience that a user has with the company, its services and/or its products. To achieve this, UX designers do extensive stakeholder visioning exercise, user research, navigation structure design, information architecture, task architecture etc. UI refers to the graphical layout of an application. Use of graphics, Right color schemes, buttons, fonts, content, spacing, margins etc all form a part of UI designer’s role.

2) Adding more features = good UX. It is a natural tendency to want to pack in as many new features and functionalities into an interface. After all, your intention is to give the best value to your customers. But usually, adding more features and functionality is inversely proportional to simplicity and ease of use. In most cases, great UX is an outcome of asking “what should we remove?” instead of “What more can we add?”.

3) Not involving users in the design process. User input is typically required in two different ways as part of a UX project. One to conduct research before the design phase and the other to test the design. The objectives, methodology and outcomes of each type of data gathering is very different. Enough has been said about the importance of direct user involvement in UX literature over the years. Despite that, we still come across companies, UX teams & consultants who fail to include the crucial user research and validation steps in UX projects. (Sadly, we also come across so called “UX designers” who have never done user research or testing. They do not qualify to be called UX designers. Just thinking about users does not make the design user-centered. The UX field is in real danger from this type of “fake” UX work. But that’s a topic for a different article).

How gamification is impacting UX or UI?

Gamification is an extremely powerful technique to increase engagement on your site or application. It involves adding competition, challenges and rewards based on the tasks accomplished. Sites and apps like tripadvisor, duolingo have embedded gamification techniques to increase the usage of their site/app. The challenge, excitement and fun aspects motivate people to continue performing tasks and spend lot more time on the website or the app.

In today’s cut throat and competitive world, where seeking user engagement is one of the key metric, gamification is fast evolving as the most popular technique to build engagement and increase adoption.

Considering the other players in the field, do you face challenge in scaling up?

While there are several UX companies, only handfuls qualify for being a true UX company. Of the few ones, there are some premium UX companies and there are some, which provide routine and workable designs. However, scaling up in a country where the UX industry is still at a nascent stage, we are working on three key areas – Training, Talent Management, and UX Evangelism.

We have developed a robust in-house design-training program that mitigates our risk of hiring only trained UX designers with prior experience. This not only makes the hiring process more efficient but also helps to build an organization with diverse skill sets with standard quality. Training coupled with a culture that fosters creativity, harmony, and happiness and led to zero attrition in the company since the last two years.

We are equally focusing hard on building the right ecosystem in the industry. We evangelize UX by doing several speaking engagements in various conferences. We are helping reputed design schools to come up with a robust UX Design graduation programme. In addition, most important of all is improving customer experience and comprehension of UX design through innovation, knowledge exchange and delivering experiences to achieve client’s business objectives.

From a business perspective, where do you want to see ZEUX in coming years?

From a big picture standpoint, our goal is to continue to deliver award winning design solutions, deliver tremendous ROI to our clients and move the UX design and innovation discussion to the board level in organizations. In next five years, we want to be known as the world’s largest UX design & innovation firm and the most sought-after source for exceptional user experience design solutions and thought leadership.

Our vision is to be a world class UX Design firm by creating experiences that increases harmony, happiness and sustainability.

  • We are on course to be the best and leading UX company across the globe by 2022.
  • We plan to expand in regions where great UX will make substantial impact to the users and businesses.
  • We constantly invest in creating IP and thought leadership in the new and upcoming trends.
  • We will continue to evangelize UX and help uplift the overall UX ecosystem in India.