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Designer's Inside Out - Imran Shaikh

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

Designer's Inside Out is a series of interviews of the most interesting creators from the design and research field. Bringing forward their thoughts about good design, their way of thinking, and doing the work they love. We have also put their work to the test using the Dhiti tool. It predicts how and where users will focus their attention and distributed it in a given design.

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Imran Shaikh

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Introducing Imran Shaikh, a Certified Usability Analyst (HFI CUA™) that is passionate about Research and getting to the core of the user problem. He is based in Bangalore and works as a Sr. UX designer and researcher with TiLa (A modern lifestyle retail brand founded ‘in Saudi, for Saudi) since 2017.

He started his career as a web designer with in the year 2000. During this journey, he had been a part of many prestigious organizations as web designer, design team lead, lead UI & UX analyst to Sr. UX designer.

Let’s explore the genius designer and researcher within this very kind and humble guy. We’ll be talking about good design and enjoying the whole process of it.

“I guess I just don’t need any more inspiration or motivation…. there is only a confession to make… I eat, sleep, think, and dream about UX research :) …I am simply in love with it and trying to learn and get better at it.”

What defines you best?

UX Designer, aspiring to be a UX Researcher.

What made you go into the design field?

From school days I was quite good at art hence after completing school I did a multimedia and animation course from Edit Institute. After graduation in the year 2000, I was lucky enough to start my career as a web designer with an esteemed organization, which was extremely popular those days.

What defines a good design in your opinion?

For me, a good design is one that balances usability, visual appeal, and interaction design in a great manner. All these should work in unison to facilitate the user in completing the task and also contributing towards the business goal.

Achieving such a design is one of the biggest challenges as it also demands great teamwork between the designers that are specialists in these skill sets…. and also considering that a single designer being an expert in all these skill sets is extremely rare.

DESIGN SCORES ( tested by Dhiti)

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What’s your design process? Or what principles do you follow while creating a design?

Before starting a redesign or a new design I make sure I am well aware of the problem I am trying to solve, and also the metrics to measure the success of the design. That clearly helps me to understand and gauge the impact of my design effort.

For a change in an existing feature, I always ask for the available data to understand the current situation; the details of the type of users; and also the issues that need to be solved. This helps me in making informed design decisions. I also study the designs of the competitors and then come up with my version of the designs. Currently, there isn’t a proper process for user testing, but I am setting up an environment for UX research so we will also be able to test the prototypes with potential target users before making them live. And for designing a new feature or a product, I initially list down all the tasks that a user is supposed to carry out. Then I create user flows for all those tasks using the XMind tool and discuss them thoroughly with the product manager and developers. Any changes in the flow are done in that meeting without much effort.

ATTENTION HEATMAP ( tested by Dhiti)

Dhiti - predictive eye tracking AI tool - neuromarketing - attention heatmap - imran shaikh interview - blog - designer's inside out

Once those are finalized then I check the designs of the competitors for the similar flows and then create basic wireframes if I have enough time or directly start with the final designs, if the deadline is tight. After a feedback session with the design team, I then present the designs to the product manager and developers. After making any suggested changes, the final designs are handed over to the devs. For now, the critical step of user testing is missed but as mentioned earlier, I am taking the effort to set up the entire research and testing process.

What are the most common challenges you face while working in the design field?

The one that is most common with almost all UX guys… not enough time to do thorough research. But I take that as a challenge and try to convince the management for UX research by going out of the way to do some research on my own and then presenting that to the stakeholders to show the value it can add to the product. Accordingly, I have got a fair bit of success in getting support from management for doing more research. The second issue is, seeing a developed version of the screens that looks extremely different than what I designed :-( I have initiated the process to build a Design System for my organization that should solve this issue and also the inconsistencies that occur throughout the product in terms of the look and also the experience, as multiple designers unknowingly create various components and design styles for a similar use case.

GAZE PLOT ( tested by Dhiti)

Dhiti - predictive eye tracking AI tool - neuromarketing - gaze plot - imran shaikh interview - blog - designer's inside out

What is your favorite project you’ve ever done and why?

Frankly speaking, I am not quite satisfied with any of the live product design-related projects I have done so far, as they didn’t satisfy my research craving completely.

The case study that I am currently doing on the Clubhouse app is quite satisfying now as I am doing exploratory research. It should be completed soon. I’ll share it with you once it is done. Also, there are a few more ongoing research initiatives that I have taken up proactively in my organization.

How do you measure the success of your design?

Before starting a project I list down the main issue that I need to solve and also any data available around it. The success metrics are also decided after a discussion with the product manager. Accordingly, it becomes easier to conclude if the design was successful or a failure once we observe the data post the redesign.

What is your biggest challenge in the design creation process?

The biggest challenge is to make sure that we are fixing the real problem and not directly working based on the design requirement without validating the hypothesis. Unless we do thorough research, many times we would be fixing something that is not even broken…. and in the process, we might end up creating more problems for the users and the business.

What are your three biggest strengths?

  1. An insatiable desire to get better at UX research

  2. Being a keen observer

  3. A senior teammate who loves to unite the team and direct everyone’s focus and energy towards the betterment of the business and their career

OPACITY MAP ( tested by Dhiti)

Dhiti - predictive eye tracking AI tool - neuromarketing - perception map - imran shaikh interview - blog - designer's inside out

What kind of research methods do you use when starting a new project?

I assume a “new project” encompasses redesigns/improvements and also building new features/products from scratch.

For improving an existing feature or product:

  • Surveys

  • Data analysis (Qualitative and Quantitative)

  • Direct Observation

  • Competitive analysis

  • Task analysis

For creating a new feature/product:

  • Contextual interviews

  • Competitive analysis

  • Task analysis

What inspires or motivates you and why?

I guess I just don’t need any more inspiration or motivation…. there is only a confession to make… I eat, sleep, think, and dream about UX research :) …I am simply in love with it and trying to learn and get better at it.

Would you share habits/recommendations that you think are crucial for success in this field?

  • Always have at least one research project in hand on any given day. If there is no project on the job, then pick any dummy research project.

  • Always have a mentor, at whatever stage of your career you are at.

  • Inculcate the habit of being genuinely empathetic and helpful in life… the same is needed immensely at our job as well.

Find more Imran Shaikh’s works at his Linked in Profile and case study link

Case study:


Email :

LinkedIn Profile :

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