D&T Special Edition #2

Designing for Different Realities

Hi there!
This is the second edition of D&T Special. Today’s topic – humans (including their conditions) are fluid and imperfect, and design should ideally follow through accordingly. We hope you enjoy this week’s read.

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✍️ From the Canvs Research & Editorial Desk

Designing for different realities

A misconception about design is that there is always going to be a general, global best practice. This can sometimes be very misleading from the truth considering there are almost no global realities. Cultures vary dramatically from one locale to the next, and even within different locales, individual realities across different ends of the socioeconomic spectrum can also have night-and-day differences.

Design is definitively something that considers the lateral context of a user. Only with a genuine effort at cracking into the reality of a user’s life, does design become profound and truly helpful. Anything else is hot air.

This week the Canvs R&E team has spent some time pondering this concept, let’s dive into some details.

It’s a general truth that digital products and services are designed for the richest 10% of our population. The other 90% would otherwise be overlooked.

However, with the new wave of mobile internet usage globally, paired with most services breaking into the digital realm, for the first time ever, there’s a much larger number of people with greater digital access. This means working at the digital product design problem statement with a more eclectic mindset, that takes into account plurality and context more seriously.

Key takeaways from this read:

1. Think local

Working with other countries’ design paradigms can sometimes be a bullet in the foot of a product in specific countries – trying to understand the culture from the perspective of physical products, lingual context and semiotics bring in a layer of pragmatism like no other best practice can bring in.

2. Restructure, don’t reinvent

With the previous point in mind, it also isn’t the smartest idea to completely uproot all known paradigms and standards in global product design. The objective becomes more about restructuring the finer details in design to fit more snugly with the idea of designing products of a certain culture or locale.

3. Accessibility benefits everyone, including your business

Designing for the lowest common denominator of usability is not just a feel-good topic, it can be something that besides obviously helping the differently-abled, can also be a huge benefit for the business. After all, designing for everyone means doing business with everyone.

Designers have a wonderful opportunity to change mindsets and habits, however, that begins with having to understand what the current matrix is within which people operate.

Unlike how humans generally like to strategise or cognise a thought, which is structured, human behaviour is generally not so. If anything, human behaviour, like the title of this article suggests, is imperfect and needs to be responded to accordingly.

Key takeaways from this read:

1. Data is crucial in pattern understanding

2. Habit changing involves first understanding the base level habits of a user in a specific context

3. Without being cynical, try and understand the limits of human cognition

📖 From the Canvs Reading List

Pertinent reads from design and technology this week

While it may seem that the litany of apps could potentially overwhelm a project or even stifle creativity, a handful of them have risen to the top of the design world’s list—for productivity, inspiration, and communication.

We need a new kind of approach to learning that shifts imagination from the periphery to the foundation of all knowledge.

Our excrement is a natural, renewable and sustainable resource – if only we can overcome our visceral disgust of it.


Tragedies converge, apocalypse colors the air, and digital realities no longer suffice. Eventually everything, and everyone, cracks.

How a crop of new platforms are rewriting the narrative that tech must always be hard, fast, and optimized.

In the past couple of years, news reports have alleged that JusPay, Pinelabs, MobiKwik have all witnessed data breaches and yet none of them has fully admitted as much.

Some highlights from the past month of D&T

And that’s the lot! Thanks for checking out what we had to share with you this week, we shall catch up with you next Wednesday. Incase you aren’t subscribed to the newsletter, you could subscribe here.

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