[Also published on Nextwala]
The approach to mobile design and information architecture here in India has been haphazard at best and atrocious at worst. Perhaps this is caused by consumers just being happy getting economic value out of digital services, far outweighing their need for great design. Perhaps the backend-oriented outsourcing culture has made developers less savvy about creating world-class UI/UX. Perhaps the featurephone- and carrier-orientation of mobile services hasn’t required good design. Who knows.
I don’t see this as the future of design in India. There is an early but growing sense of good design and information architecture emanating from India-based mobile application developers. Many of these are competing either on a global level or are targeting smartphone users who expect well designed apps, such as they see from Facebook, Whatsapp, Flipboard, Kindle, Spotify and Youtube.
I like to see a solid design orientation in consumer-facing companies that I look at. This is an absolute imperative for Web and mobile. At Lightspeed, we have some companies that are focusing on delivering great experiences, including Fashionara, LimeRoad and Dhingana. Users are responding well to their designs.
As a benchmark, I think India-based Cleartrip, Zomato, Hike and CloudMagic really deliver on superb design and value. Kudos to the developers at these companies. I have included some screenshots below – hopefully the developers won’t mind me making use of their app images.