And I’m back…

March 22, 2011

Been almost a year since I have posted to this blog. Oh boy, it’s been a hectic 2010 but 2011 is getting even better. Of course there is no excuse to have not posted. Social media seems to be taking its toll on me.

But it’s been an interesting and hectic year and a half working with one of the leading online travel startups in India helping them build some kickass products and working with an enthusiastic team. More updates on that and what I have learnt coming up soon. Life has changed and for the better it is!

To regular blogging! Cheers.

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All about Proto.in

January 15, 2009

As we get closer to the Bangalore edition of Proto and the excitement builds up for India’s premier startup event,  here’s an awesome conceptualization about Proto.in by the folks from Pictualize.

Date : Jan 23-24, 2009

Venue: Nimhans Convention Center

Btw, if you haven’t already registered, now’s a good time to do so, go ahead and register now.

Understanding spatial search

November 4, 2008

So what is spatial search ?

In today’s context, where the Internet is the starting point for finding any information you need about anything in the world, and of course most of us use Google. The problem with traditional search is that it does not support or have information about the geographical dimension.

Why is spatial search important ?

This becomes extremely important when searching for something like “Guest houses in Bangalore”. Although the geographical location, in this case ‘Bangalore’ can be used as a part of search query term, the search engine does not interpret it as a geographical location.

So results for the search query – “Guest houses in Bangalore” will turn up documents with “Guest houses” and “Bangalore” and might not show up results with guest houses koramangala or indiranagar which are localities in Bangalore and also hence very apt results. This is because, the search engine does not have a relationship between these terms.

The other issue with traditional search in entities like homes is that the geographical information of these locations are not known, and hence they cannot be visualized on a map – which would be the most intuitive way to visualize these results.

While planning and architecting my100floors, we understood the need for Spatial search and helping users visualize home searches on maps. Moreover we felt that that searching for properties on maps was the intuitive way to find properties. In fact, we are the first to provide a map based search in India, cracking the problem of non-availability of geo-coded data.

The next post will talk about our implementation of Spatial search in, challenges we faced and a walk through of the user experience.

property_mapsearchmy100floors.com is currently in closed beta, leave your email address on the site and drop me a line here or on twitter and I will make sure that you get the invite.

Google Chrome and Pranayama

October 14, 2008

Off topic, but couldn’t resist blogging about this.

Baba Ramdev’s (a yogic guru from India)  effort to connect with tech geeks and urge them to take up pranayama (meditation). Awesome marketing and product position I must say!

Google Chrome and Prananyama and Baba Ramdev

Google Chrome and Prananyama and Baba Ramdev

Image Source : Dead President

Security vs. Usability

September 23, 2008

I have been using my ICICI bank credit card for over thryears now. I encountered this weird error this morning while paying my bills on visabillpay. (Click image for a larger view)

ICICI credit card error

Alright let me set context.

This is a page which ICICI bank brought up while doing a credit card transaction on Visabillpay. This page asks me to register my credit card online with ICICI bank using a Internet banking pin number.

So I have seen this page multiple times on this site but always opted out as I don’t have my interent banking pin number. So today I did the same thing and opted out of registration by clicking on the “No, thanks Don’t activate my card now” link, but this is the message I got.

“You have exceeded the number of opt-outs for this card. If you decide to opt-out even now then bank will decline your transaction.”

I was astounded. I had no clue of what was happening. The bank never told me that I had a fixed number of opt-outs from registration. Now I can’t pay my electricity and water bills.

Here’s how this scenario could have been handled using better product design

  • ICICI bank should have told users the number of opt-outs they have. This could have been in the form of a counter which is very prominent on every registration request screen.
  • Educating the user about the advantages of registering their credit card. In fact ICICI bank is mandating this for higher security and to prevent online credit card fraud. Educate your users by telling them the benefits of doing a particular action and then lead them to this action.
  • Forgive your users which they don’t do something that’s needed, after all they are users!
  • Send users warning alerts as their opt-outs are nearing to zero. ICICI bank has my email address and my mobile number.
  • Get customer care to call users.

Forgive, educate and lead to action – simple but powerful.

What do you think ? What you faced this issue ?

Folks, I am covering the DCamp 2.0 event happening at ADITI in Bangalore over on Twitter and Friendfeed. To learn more about the event, check here.

No more live blogging 🙂 140 characters works much much better.

Follow me over on

Twitter – www.twitter.com/vinodhn

Friendfeed – www.friendfeed.com/vinodhn

and let’s get a discussion going.

Found this very interesting picture which I think explains user experience and the various elements involved in it in a powerful way.

Image courtesy

What do yout think ? Do all these apply to shaping web user experiences too ? Are there other factors ?