Experience at Udaan

My 6 Months as a Product Designer @ Udaan

15th of July, I joined as a product designer @ Udaan and it’s been 6 months now.

This blog post comprises of how my journey has been so far and what is it like to be working in one of India’s fastest growing startup.

In case if you don’t know, Udaan is a B2B e-commerce platform where we empower Small and medium scale businesses. You can know more about UDAAN here.

Now, that we are done with the introduction, let’s jump straight to what I have learned so far with respect to design.

Design @ Udaan

If ever I have to give you a bird’s eye view of design at Udaan, just keep in mind that we are playing at a huge scale.

Just to give you an idea, in 2019 itself, 1.4 Million+ retailers transacted on our platform with 29 Lakh+ Units shipping per day.

And that’s huge and it will grow even further.

So, keeping up with the pace, design also happens for scale.

We are extremely research driven and users are in the centre of the spectrum. Researches are done Pan India with our external Research team.

Designers are part of the end to end lifecycle of any problem statement along with the engineers and that’s the key highlight.

The Team

We are a small, tightly knit team of 4 product designers as of now and looking to expand even more.

We all have our respective work areas and work alongside engineers.

And we all share the same passion for design and come from varied backgrounds. Though, majority of us being Engineers first.

Overall, it’s a good bunch of people coming together and being an advocate of users.

What I have learned about design in the past 6 months?


– Designing with Constraints

So, this is my first design job and prior to that I have worked on some self initiated projects which were never meant for implementation and that’s where I never understood the notion of designing with constraints.

When you design for scale, you need to understand timelines, business constraints and technical constraints as well.

This is one area where I am still figuring out to find a balance between especially finding out the deadlines. (You don’t have infinite time)

– Design is a Responsibility

We design for small and medium scale businesses which in turn is a mean of livelihood for many. So, we can’t be irresponsibly designing for that.
It’s a huge responsibility.

– Lorem Ipsum doesn’t Work

I always used to work with dummy data until I realised that it’s not the right way to go about.

The design may work for the dummy content but what if the user
generated content structure differs from what you have imagined. So, always work with real data.

– Leave no room for Interpretation

Good communication skills is one hell of a skill that a designer must possess.

We as designers can go on loops talking about the objectives, problem statement or solutions in a very abstract manner which leaves a room for a hell lot of interpretations. And that’s where the problem starts.

Being clear, to the point and very objective in nature is a prominent skill that needs to be there.

– Documentation keeps everyone on the same page.

Documenting helps a lot. Especially when you want to backtrack how you went about solving a particular problem.

I try articulating my design decisions as a part of documentation for every problem statement that I pick.

It also helps in case where multiple stakeholders are there.

– Don’t just see, observe.

This helps a lot when you have to figure out the needs of the user. Mind you that there is a huge difference between needs and wants.

– Mapping designs to Research Insights, Again

Don’t let the research insights sit somewhere in a Google Doc. Whenever, you finish a design, map that to research to validate/cross-check that you have incorporated the insights.

Action Items basis the learning:

1. UI: Working on various aspects of screen designs and how to make aesthetically sound designs.

2. Soft skills: Communication in a crisp, clear and objective manner.

3. User Research: It’s a different skill in itself all-together. Learning how to extract information from the users, probing them in a non-intrusive manner and framing open ended questions is a skill that I look forward to.

What am I looking next?

  1. Looking forward to more collaboration.
  2. A design space where we can dedicatedly work, away from any sort of distractions.
  3. Our own Design System.

Yeah, that was my 6 months experience so far. It’s been an amazing journey and looking forward for more.

Thank you.

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