Face to Face in a Fair Game

Pretty 24 is a new cream on the block. Its advertisement takes a potshot at various narratives associated with fairness advertising in India; however, its communication is silent on the benefits of the product. The angry (or upset) young women vent their ire as they feel betrayed by the hordes of Fairness creams in the market. The advertisement ends with a product shot, claiming it as a cream for every skin tone. The brand targets women between 20 and 35 years of age, as reported in livemint.Pretty good… The fairness cream market in India is fairly mature. From general purpose Fairness creams to Men’s Fairness creams to dark spots reduction fairness creams to winter fairness creams; every conceivable sub-category promise has been exploited to grow the market, which is reportedly around INR 4500 crore, and growing! In such a scenario, category creation by careful segmentation holds the key to success for a new entrant in a crowded shelf as the `Anti’ position puts the new entrant in direct competition vis-à-vis the rest. Also, the ability to leverage existing distribution network adds to the muscle mass so critical for success. On all these counts, Pretty 24 sits pretty.


The dark side… Is Pretty 24 a little late? Is it being built on a carefully chosen plank or hunch? Or, is it a manifestation of confusion at the Marketer’s end? Is it an idea whose time peaked some 10, 15, 20 years ago?In India, the pride factor in one’s `own’ complexion has already gained ground; especially with girls-next-door winning the titles such as Ms India, Supermodel, etc. And to the buyer of very premium international brands, complexion has never been an issue. Over the years, most of the fairness cream brands have formulations that offer benefits beyond mild-bleaching to include skin moisturization at the very least.For the Fair’y Tales inspired buyers in Tier II and III, semi-urban centres; it is still `Fairness’ all the way to success. So who is the brand Pretty 24 targeting? And what’s the `reason to buy’, it is offering to the consumers (unless subsequent campaign reveals it).The leader in the `Fairness’ category i.e. Fair & Lovely has long gone beyond `Fairness’ to `Confidence’ and `Success’. There is more to the Brand Fair & Lovely as evident in the tales chronicled in the Fair & Lovely Foundation brochure done by this author. The foundation is doing yeoman service to nurture aspiring, young talented women.


It remains to be seen how the new entrant will affect it. Is Pretty 24 an attempt to cut an instant slice of fairness cream market in India? At mere 1% share translates into INR 40-50 crore!In all fairness… Pretty 24 has to its credit of being not just another offering. It takes immense guts to experiment, to be different. The communication and the proposition make one take cognizance of the brand. But will it make a dent? For a brand’s salience eventually is connect with (benefit offered to) the consumers; and not mere attempts at evoking resentment against other brands.

BIM Process Risks for MEP Design Service and How to Mitigate Them

Global construction practice has seen substantial changes over recent years, with the arrival of BIM being a key factor. Building Information Modelling, known as BIM, is a process that involves the creation of 3D models, which enables designers and engineers to create accurate construction scheduling, estimate costs and adapt intelligently to design changes. Accurate building information models and precise building designs are created from the outset, which benefits all stakeholders in the construction process, particularly MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) designers. MEP (M&E) designers or engineers design MEP services, while MEP contractors are then responsible for spatial coordination, detailed design, fabrication and installation. Though BIM drives an effective process for MEP (M&E) design services, there are some risks involved. We look at how these risks can be mitigated.

Firstly, it is useful to understand exactly what the BIM process contributes to MEP engineering design. A BIM model helps visualise spatial MEP requirements. Detailed views are created for analysis, and any clashes of spatial requirements are identified and can be resolved at an early stage. Designs can be altered to mitigate any clashes, and these changes can be seen in the model.

The progress of the MEP design and coordination workflow process has been supported and driven by technological advancements. BIM technology has played an important role in making this possible, especially the use of 3D models through Autodesk’s BIM 360 tool. BIM 360 is a cloud-based software platform developed primarily for construction, which employs checklists, equipment tracking and the monitoring of tasks to improve quality and on-site safety. Within BIM 360, models can be utilised for 2D construction documentation and the 3D coordination of trades. BIM 360 permits the control of processes by project managers, subcontractors, designers and architects at all design stages. It enables the sharing of vast amounts of information between stakeholders and easy communication.

MEP designers can utilise architectural, structural and trade models to plan in detail from the onset of a project by designing in 3D. In general, the process involves MEP design and installation workflows that will streamline planning, designing, coordination, fabrication, installation and construction of a project. Following architectural design, the MEP design engineer develops building services design elements, such as lighting, cooling, heating, drainage, waste, fire prevention and protection services. In most cases, the design engineer is not involved with the detailed spatial design of building services. Usually, it is the MEP, or trade, contractor who carries out the detailed spatial design and installation. It falls to the MEP contractor to convert the consultant’s design into an installation-ready MEP format and provide MEP shop drawing services. At times, fabricators creating ductwork or pipework elements, electrical ladders or sprinklers in a module also contribute.

The BIM process brings all stakeholders on to the same platform at every design stage.

Therefore, an effective collaboration tool would be required to:

  • Enable access to MEP designers, architects, structural designers, MEP contractors
  • Host various formats for files and documents
  • Ease communication
  • Permit designers and shareholders to work on the same models and share design data

BIM 360 Team with Collaboration for Revit (C4R) offers this. It integrates stakeholders and project information into a single cloud-based platform and improves quality while reducing rework. Checklists can monitor safety on site, equipment can be tracked and asset data can be collated. Any problems can be resolved early in the design process, minimising delay, cost and rework.

BIM Process Risks for MEP

Communication

If architects, modellers and designers do not communicate properly, designs may not be properly integrated and the occurrence of errors in the MEP model will increase.

Building Code Understanding

Client needs and local code requirements are of paramount importance and must be clearly understood. If misunderstandings of building codes and client requirements occur the MEP design will be negatively impacted.

Coordination

Stakeholders must coordinate effectively. Any modification executed by any MEP service should be communicated to all other trades. Failure to do so can create hazards at the project implementation stage.

Cost Estimation

The BIM process can help determine overall costs and take off quantities. MEP resources, labour and prices are considered, but materials availability and costs may vary over the duration of the design and implementation, affecting cost estimation.

Technical Knowhow

Effective BIM usage requires in-depth knowledge of BIM technology and Revit, Navisworks, etc. to develop precise MEP designs. Errors could prove costly.

Incomplete BIM Use

In common practice, BIM is used for a specific MEP objective rather than for each and every part of the design process. These include:

  • Remodelling or renovation
  • Material takeoffs and estimation
  • Design models by contractors
  • Detailed models of MEP components

Unless the BIM scope and output are accurately defined, the intended use of the BIM model may not occur.

BIM Model Not Shared with Construction Team

When 2D documents are printed from the model, some of the 3D data may not be transferred. The construction team may need to design a new 3D model, leading to unexpected changes. Designers may not share models with contractors because they are incomplete or do not tally with the construction documents, creating errors and tensions.

Not Possible to Model Everything

Creating models is time consuming. Many details, such as size, shape, location, quantity, and orientation with detailing, fabrication, assembly and installation information, can be included. It may not be possible to create models for every portion of the design, resulting in an incomplete overall picture.

MEP Design Handoff

Contractors traditionally received 2D line diagrams, schedules and specifications of the design from MEP designers. Currently, an increasing number of MEP design engineers create models, raising confusion about who is responsible for duct placement, equipment placement and coordination responsibility – designers or contractors. Models created by MEP designers may not be spatially accurate enough during the early stages.

However, there are several ways to mitigate these shortfalls, such as:

  • Early BIM Adoption (During Design Stage)

All project stakeholders should be encouraged to use BIM from the design stage, with clear guidelines for its use. If BIM is adopted at a later stage without clear specification of its purpose, the results could be confusion, wastage of time and increasing costs.

  • Defined Roles within the BIM Process

Design and modelling roles must be clearly defined before beginning design. If MEP subcontractors need to provide MEP BIM, with accurate routing, attachment details and equipment connections, they must be clearly informed of this and it should be part of the contractual obligations. They will not be able to rely on MEP consultant models in such a case.

  • Improved Coordination Skills

MEP design in BIM currently utilises improved spatial coordination skills during the design phase. This could be a result of employing more technically qualified professionals for these services, and as a consequence, contractors are presented with more accurate models to work with.

  • Accountability for Coordination

Internal coordination is necessary for a viable BIM model, much like a 2D drawing set used to be. Revisions, modifications and file versions must be coordinated as well. Since 3D models are complex, coordination must be monitored and controlled to prevent expensive and unnecessary rework. Even though files can be hosted in the cloud, it is advisable to maintain backups.

It is a certainty that precise, effective design with fewer errors is possible using BIM but there may be challenges in achieving those designs. Specifying the role of BIM, its usage, the stakeholders involved and the challenges to be expected can help optimise the benefits of using BIM and minimise its risks. The positive impact of building information modelling will be felt for some time. Analysing and mitigating the risks involved in its use can only benefit the industry and its players.

Designing Fast Food Retail Interiors

There was a time when fast food was all about being fast and cheap. It was a new enough concept and so convenient. So convenient in fact that fast food retailers built their entire outlet, buying experience, service levels and food standards to satisfy the ‘fast’ and ‘cheap’ needs of customers. And it worked! Fast forward a few years and improved education about nutrition, the need to eat healthy meals and also the vast amount of competition in the market has meant that fast food chains have to completely change their approach to adapt to the new needs of the 21st century consumer.

The focus is now on delivering a stronger brand to reach a broader base of customers that they want to linger around and make the outlet part of their weekly or daily routine. So, what does the new brand focus require? Well it needs to demonstrate freshness, good quality ingredients, an improved buying experience, a nicer seating ambience, better comfort, more visibility of food preparation areas and improved conveniences.

While the ingredients and the quality of food are obviously a key and vital component of the brand, this article focuses on the architectural and interior design of the outlet and how the various elements of the interior design impact the brand and therefore elevate the customer experience for modern fast food chains.

Before we consider the design of fast food chains, it is worth looking at how luxury goods retailers and vehicle showrooms have approached outlet or store design to deliver their brand. Luxury brands for example have always designed stores to captivate distinct segments of the market, yet maintained a sense of delivering individuality. Luxury stores almost distinctly appear to be lacking in the amount of merchandise that is displayed and in some cases maintain plain colours and simple soft furnishings to make customers feel at ease. Vehicle showrooms are an established example for retailing as they have mastered the buying and ongoing servicing needs of customers in a single outlet. The way that showrooms are designed, allows vehicle manufacturers to provide an environment which allows them to manage the flow or ‘journey’ from buying a new car, arranging finance, servicing and shopping for parts, while having pleasant and well stocked waiting areas. Both are examples of building outlets that manage distinct needs, encourage loyalty and provide a smooth journey from the initial desire to purchase to sealing the deal.

For architects and interior retail designers, fast food retail design poses a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to reinforce the new brand challenges that retailers are faced with.

The following provides a summary of some of those challenges:

Food Preparation – Providing more visibility of food preparation areas, including open plan kitchen areas. This requires a practical but also visibly more pleasant food area which is well lit, well organised and efficient. Specialist kitchen design that takes into account the food cooking and preparation process is called for, requiring designers and architects to work closely with a retailer to create kitchen layout plans that allow the food preparation process to remain efficient while remaining visibly pleasing and pleasant for customer to see.

The Eating in Experience – The need to provide an efficient seating arrangement, with comfortable seats, while also paying close attention to retail lighting plans and retail flooring plans is so important as it allows customers to feel that they can stay for while, this is in sharp contrast to early fast food restaurants where seating was designed to become uncomfortable after fifteen minutes, encouraging people to leave the outlet.

Fixture and Fitting Selection – Interior retail designers also need to focus on other consumer needs such as power points, interactive devices for children and adding artwork that reinforces the message about the ‘fresh food element’ – all important elements that the brand is trying to deliver.

Interactive Ordering Solutions – Retailers are also incorporating electronic ordering stations into their layouts to allow customers to select and pay for their order without speaking to a member of staff. This requires less staff of course but it also calls for the need to design a retail layout that allows for interactive kiosks that are strategically located within the design of the outlet.

Improved Washroom Facilities – Retail designs and architects have to design washroom facilities that meet brand expectations. The facilities that they specify have to reinforce the brand while maintaining a high degree of cleanliness or even ‘self-cleaning’ facilities. The retail design drawings that they create for plumbing and waste have to take into account today’s environmentally.

Back of House and Waste – Customers are not happy enough with the experience that they can see and feel, they also want to know how fast food chains are managing their staff facilities, their food storage and their waste, including the customer’s own packaging waste. A store design is not complete without attention to how these aspects are added to the design of the outlet and how they are managed efficiently and fairly and therefore they are also an important part of the design team’s responsibilities.

The designers challenge is therefore vast and rather than allowing for the production of the design using traditional 2D plans and elevations. The only way to manage and communicate the design process as well as manage changes requested by stakeholders throughout the process, is to use modern design tools such as Revit Architecture to create retail BIM models so that they can create a design that is easily changeable and manageable. Retail BIM modelling also allows for the use and re-usability of Revit families and models that can be used for subsequent stores and therefore ensure some brand consistency as well as design efficiency. Once created, these retail BIM models will also allow the creation of 3d retail images and 3d rendered perspective for retail interiors as well as retail exteriors. These are an important and effective way of communicating the store or outlet design during the various design stages that a designer is responsible for.

Whilst the challenge for fast food retail is to provide food quicker and cheaper than other options, there is good reason to elevate the importance of the store design and how that will affect and ultimately promote the overall brand experience for fast food retail now and well into the future. Managing that design process and the multitude of design inputs is a collaborative and involved process and is one that is served by a designer that is prepared to use CAD and BIM technology as the backbone for delivering a design solution that is easy to create, manage, share and communicate.

 

What Is UX Design?

User Experience is a conglomeration of tasks focused on optimization of a product for effective and enjoyable use. User Experience Design is the process of development and improvement of quality interaction between a user and all facets of a company.U ser Experience Design is responsible for being hands-on with the process of research, testing, development, content, and prototyping to test for quality results. User Experience Design is, in theory, a non-digital (cognitive science) practice but used and defined predominantly by digital industries.

Introduction to UX Planning
The easiest way to approach the planning phase for UX projects is to determine the approach you think ought to be taken for a project, then examine the constraints and amend the approach based on these constraints. This should enable you to determine budgets and timescales if they weren’t given to you by your potential client beforehand. UX projects that are well planned are easier to execute and offer a higher chance of succeeding than those that are managed on an ad-hoc basis For designers working in the ever-changing field of user experience, it’s always important to consider the fundamental principles of design. At many levels, the nature of the work that we do constantly shifts and evolves-whether we’re designing for new technologies or different contexts, ranging from apps for personal use to cross-channel experiences. When we’re called upon to solve design problems that we haven’t solved before, design principles provide a sound basis for devising innovative solutions. All of these trends have required us to look at design afresh and come up with new interaction models, design patterns, and standards-many of which are still evolving.

Visual design trends shift as well-sometimes for the better; sometimes not. For example, in the recent past, we saw the prevalent use of small, light-gray fonts that were both too small and too low contrast for good readability-for almost anybody, not just those with serious visual deficits. Now we’re seeing bigger fonts-solving that readability problem. UX Design Principles course provides foundational level skills for those interested or working in user experience design. The workshop covers aspects of designing for web, apps, and mobile. This UX workshop is suitable for designers, business analysts, product managers, and developers. No UX or design previous experience is required. It serves as the foundation for the UX Classes as well as the UX Certificate program at American Graphics Institute.

What is UI Design?
User Interface Design is its complement, the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product. But like UX, it is easily and often confused by the industries that employ UI Designers. User interface design (UID) or user interface engineering is the design of websites, computers, appliances, machines, mobile communication devices, and software applications with the focus on the user’s experience and interaction. UI Design is closer to what we refer to as graphic design, though the responsibilities are somewhat more complex. Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) integrates concepts and methods from computer science, design, and psychology to build interfaces that are accessible, easy to use, and efficient. There are three factors that should be considered for the design of a successful user interface; development factors, visibility factors and acceptance factors. Development factors help by improving visual communication. These include: platform constraints, toolkits and component libraries, support for rapid prototyping, and customizability. Visibility factors take into account human factors and express a strong visual identity. These include human abilities, product identity, clear conceptual model, and multiple representations. Included as acceptance factors are an installed base, corporate politics, international markets, and documentation and training. There are three fundamental principles involved in the use of the visible language.

Do’s and Don’ts of UI and UX Design
User experience online is very similar to the user experience you get when going to a grocery store. You want a pleasant time without any hassle. You want to be able to navigate the store quickly, get what you need right away, head to the checkout line without a wait, and get back home. You don’t want to deal with a slow cashier, items not where they should be or out of stock, hostile employees, or a crammed parking lot. You simply want what you came for (groceries) and be on your way. Stores understand this and have spent a considerable amount of time and money to help you navigate the store easier, make sure items you want are in stock, and to provide fast and friendly checkout lines. It may seem a bit corny to think of UX design in terms of going to your local grocery store, but the experiences are similar. Our customers are visitors to the sites we create, and the groceries are the content in which they came to the site for. For those of us who go to the store, it’s easy for us to pinpoint things that irritate us or think should be improved. However, when it comes to our own designs and user interfaces and the creation of them, we may not be able to point out these irritants ahead of time before users do. We can fix this by taking a step back and look for these weak points in our design, so that we don’t cause them unnecessary frustration and keep them on our site so they can get to the content they were looking for. To help us designers step back and look at our designs and user interfaces from the eyes of the visitor, let’s run through some do’s and don’ts to look out for so we can help them get exactly what they came for without irritation or a bad UX.

1. DO: Provide a similar experience regardless of the device Visitors are coming to your site using many different types of devices. They can visit your site on their desktop or laptop, tablet, phone, music player, game console, or even their watches. A big part of user experience design is ensuring that no matter how the visitor sees your site, they are getting the same experience they would if they were to visit from another device. This means that if a visitor is seeing your site on their phone, they should still be able to find everything they need without trouble just like they would if they were viewing your site on their desktop at home. A seamless experience across all of your devices helps keep your users on your site regardless of the device they are using.

2. DO: Provide instantly recognizable and easy-to-use navigation The key to providing a pleasant user experience for users is to understand that they are in search of content. They want information that you are providing on your site. The way they get there is by using your site’s navigation to quickly get to the content they are looking for. Provide a user-friendly navigation system that is easy to recognize and easy to use. Design your navigation in a way that gets visitors where they want to go with the least amount of clicks as possible while still being easy to scan and locate where they need to go.

3. DON’T: Letting the design of the site hinder the site’s readability The design of a site or user interface should never interfere with the user’s ability to consume the content on the screen. This includes having busy backgrounds behind content or poor color schemes that hinder the site’s readability. Busy backgrounds cause a distraction and take attention away from the content, even more so if the busy background is directly underneath the content. In addition, be careful not to use color schemes that decrease the contrast of the typography on the screen (i.e. light gray type of a white background). Focus on the typography of your site to ensure issues such as line length, line height, kerning, and font choice doesn’t pose issues for readability.

4. DON’T: Hindering a visitor’s ability to scan the screen As I mentioned above, users and visitors alike often scan the screen quickly before settling in to read any one particular thing with focus. Users often scan for visual cues such as headings, pictures, buttons, and blocks to know where they should focus their attention. If you start removing these items, it makes it hard for users to scan your content to find what they are looking for. Using appropriate headings that are easily seen, pictures to illustrate points, buttons for navigation, and blocks of content that are unique or important help users scan the screen to find what they need.