Yellow Slice: Moving Machines with Human Experience

Kishor Fogla, Business Director & Co-founder, Sunny P., Design Director & Co-founder, and Urdhva Deshmukkh, Head of Visual Design, Yellow Slice
Kishor Fogla, Business Director & Co-founder, Sunny P., Design Director & Co-founder, and Urdhva Deshmukkh, Head of Visual Design, Yellow Slice

The twentieth century was known for humans inventing machines to do various tasks. Then came automation, where the machine began doing things automatically with pre-programmed commands.

Into the third decade of the twenty-first century and machines have started imitating human expressions. From here on, the human-machine interface will become more integrated so that machines will follow human wishes, desires, experiences, and thoughts.

Yellow Slice is an emerging innovator in this regard. Based in Mumbai and led by a team of innovators like Kishor F., Business Director & Co-founder, Sunny P., Design Director & Co-founder, and Urdhva Deshmukkh, Head of Visual Design, Yellow Slice is moving the human-machine interface experience forward.

Urdhva started as a Junior Designer at Yellow Slice, her first job after graduation. She explains how Yellow Slice a productive workplace for her had been. It helped her learn a lot about her industry. As a junior designer, she worked designing illustrations for calendars, posters, and print branding. She also shares her experiences in creating websites. Urdhva says,

“We had designed a couple of websites then. But since the field of UI/UX was not developed much, we used to treat websites just like graphic projects. It was more about how the website looked.”

Urdhva was speaking with CIOLOOK INDIA for its edition of “India’s Most Innovative UI UX Solution Providers.”

Below are excerpts of the interview.

Please brief our audience about Yellow Slice, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as a leading player in the UI UX space.

We are a UI/UX design company that emotes and innovates user experience by incorporating research and user-centric innovations. As a thought leader in UI/UX industry, We go literal with the word UX design. For us, the letter U means User, and the letter X means Experience design which equals problem-solving.

In a given project, we look at first knowing the user and really understanding them well to remove any biases. We then look after identifying the problem and thereby working on innovating experiences which means very natural for the user. Some of our focus areas are:

  • Data-Driven Decisions
  • Mapping User Emotions
  • Empathy
  • Affordance
  • UX Research
  • UX Audit
  • UXTesting

What other products/solutions does Yellow Slice offer, and how are these impacting the UI UX Space?

  • Branding –

Branding adds a sense of familiarity and belongingness. Brand Experience and User Experience can together help to engage and delight customers. Product experiences also help create a certain brand perception.

The UI designer will synergise the colour palette, shapes, types and fonts, icons, and illustration with the general branding concept of the company. This is naturally flowing harmony across the brand’s various touchpoints is integral in building a brand.

  • User Experience –

Experiences are planned and strategized. Creating experience takes research in understanding user behaviour, competition, and mediums. Our process helps, and methods bring experience to a whole different level.

  • User Interface –

Interfaces are the face for all human interactions; at Yellow Slice, we strive towards making interactions, gestures, and experiences more usable. Visual language plays a key role to deliver human-centric designs.

  • Corporate Innovation Lab –

We build spaces for corporates that trigger design thinking and innovation. We seek to design a lab that meets the needs of each company and its heterogeneous body of employees. It is designed to fulfil the functional properties of the company.

These spaces, designed to boost imagination and innovation, are proven to deliver better results.

Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on the impact of adopting modern technologies such as AI on the UI UX niche and what more could be expected in the future?

In recent years UI design has come to gain prominence due to the ever-increasing importance of design thinking in product development teams.

The Future of UI Design

  • Huge Images and Type Designs Will Be a Mainstay
  • Voice User Interface (VUI) will Revolutionise Accessibility
  • 3D Designing will Witness an Unprecedented Rise
  • Gesture Recognition Will Take Lead
  • Inclusive Design Will Become Crucial
  • Micro-Interactions Will Rule the Game

There is no doubt that Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will rule the foreseeable future, and all of this simply will not be possible without the mastery of 3D Designing. Right from video games and mobile devices to manufacturing and travel, multiple industries will rely on the magic of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to lure end customers and enhance efficiency and decrease redundancies in the business processes.

While tech firms and UI/UX design agencies, and freelance designers are proactively working towards enhancing their collective skill set about 3D designs and related technology, the onus for introducing virtual reality and augmented reality as a part of the user experience still lies on the shoulders of business owners and brands managers.

GPT-3 is the new buzzword in artificial intelligence and more so in the world of the user interface. For the uninitiated, GPT-3 stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3, i.e., this is the 3rd version of the GPT released. It is widely known that OpenAI has created all three versions of GPT, a research institution co-founded by Elon Musk.

GPT-3 makes use of pre-trained algorithms to generate text. This version, for instance, has been fed with 570 GB of information text that was meticulously gathered via a publicly available dataset called CommonCrawl and a few other texts, as selected by OpenAI, complete with the text from Wikipedia. Using this large volume of data, GPT-3 can carry out a wide variety of tasks that might be demanded of it.

We have good reason to believe that when made accessible to the public, the GPT-3 will only enable designers to take inexplicable leaps by opening up a wider arena of unexplored avenues, not to mention the speed and efficiency it will bring to their work. Right from app designs to curated images, from high-end UI to unimpeachable codes, the scope of GPT-3 will be wide-ranging and hopefully extremely beneficial to the world of design!

Considering the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face, and how did you drive Yellow Slice to sustain operations while ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?

The biggest challenge which we faced was How to get the teamwork? The very first priority of our organisation during a pandemic was the safety and well-being of our workforce. Employees could not focus on work responsibilities when their well-being and family were in peril. So, we made sure everything was alright with them.

As work from home was just introduced, we were not habitual with this concept. There was a drop in the business for the initial months in lockdown. Employee morale was down, communication between employees and team was reduced, no face-to-face meetings with clients. But we decided to keep the spirit on as ‘Business is run by people and skillset.’

There were multiple decisions that we took to sustain operations.

Firstly, we did not fire any employees or cut any salaries. We invested in tools to enable personnel to work remotely by sending good machines to employees’ homes. We increased interconnectedness with third parties such as outsourced vendors, cloud service providers, data processors, software suppliers, payment processors. We bought all software through which we can ease employees’ life like Microsoft One Drive, designing software and many more.

To boost employees’ morale, we started with Yellow Insights wherein people come up with ideas they would like to present and aware each employee about it. Next, we created ‘Hack Days’ and trained our employees with updated software, Figma.

To check the workflow, we started with stand-up calls daily with employees.

Since our employees are working from Mumbai, Pune, and Bengaluru, we are planning for a few outings and zonal meetings.

Today, everything is at ease. Work from home is giving us benefits. Designers’ creativity has increased as they are working in their comfort zone. Zoom meetings have saved the time of travelling, resulting in faster conclusions and decisions.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the UI UX space?

Having a good idea is not enough to be a successful entrepreneur. In the world UI UX venture, one should always look forward to these skills

  • Keep Hiring and Hire Good candidates

The exemplary process of hiring is critical. If you do it right, you will find and hire high-quality candidates who stick around and represent your business the way you want. Always remember to hire suitable candidates.

  • Train your resources –

It is essential to upgrade our employee’s skills. Training resources improve employee performance by increasing their awareness of best practices and procedures. It also enhances the knowledge, and consistent training help reduce your team’s weak points.

  • Team Building –

This is where you play the leading role. When a sports team wins a championship, the players and coaches often cite playing together as a cohesive team as the key to their win. The equivalent is valid in the business world. Organisations with high-performing groups are more effective and see a significant lift in their primary concern. Team Building helps improve the company’s culture, team morale, and team spirit.

  • Evolving and Updating design process –

The foremost important thing is to evolve the design process and update it with time.

How do you envision scaling Yellow Slice’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?

Building a successful company is not just about growth – it is about scale. We are planning to scale our offices in India and abroad. Growing exponentially with our team in different cities and countries is our next target to achieve.