ileadfarmers: Where the Art of Design meets Science and Technology

CIOReview Team | Friday, 25 November 2016, 04:45 IST

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The world around us is caught up amidst the oncoming waves of digital transformation that seems to be sweeping us off our feet. More than anything else, this shift has compelled businesses to reinvent their image to match the pace of the market developments. The digital transformation has also provided enterprises with ample opportunities to rework on their approach to connect with end users. Many of these opportunities can be found in the UI-UX domain which aims at enhanced customer experience. UI/UX has been growing exponentially, globally as well as in the Indian market. The growth of this can be attributed to two significant factors. First, UI/UX has evolved to be a quintessential part of the new softwares that are being developed. Second, the pre-existing basic softwares including desktop and web based portals, which were initially created without much emphasis on the design aspect, are now increasingly being revamped with UI/UX. With customer expectations now on the rise, these softwares are getting redesigned at the front end to enhance overall user experience. Smartphones, iPhones are also playing a crucial role in driving UI/UX market with majority of applications and softwares being made to be mobile enabled. As new versions of these devices are being launched within short gaps and with new technologies, these are also enabling a boom in this segment.

Bridging the gap 
Addressing the burgeoning demands of this growing market is ileadfarmers, a Pune and SFO based digital agency. ileadfarmers works with companies at different levels of industrial hierarchy such as companies who are leaders in product development in the tech market leveraging their expertise in complex product development, as well with start-ups which strive on innovative ideas but usually lack in development teams to support them. These companies do not have skilled designers, specifically UX experts, which makes development a challenge. The common notion that prevails about UI/UX is that it is concerned merely with the creation of a visually rich design with the combination of a good colour palette and icons. However, UI/UX is a complex process of creating a balance with the right combination of technology, design, animation and more, that ultimately enhances user experience. Well equipped to cater to the varying demands across industry verticals, ileadfarmers is strategically positioned to deliver, striking right balance in UI/UX, neither going overboard nor being minimalistic. A major challenge in the UI/UX domain is the dearth of subject matter expertise. As seen in the market, most vendors do not have certified UI/UX specialist who understand the product requirement and development architecture, thus failing in the process of delivery. ileadfarmers, bridging this gap, brings in-depth industry knowledge whether it be B2B or B2C, the product domain, the context and more which easily differentiates them in the market as subject matter specialist. This enables them to lead the design thinking and development activities as a single unit and deliver beyond client expectations. It is at ileadfarmers where one can find the amalgamation of art and science. 

Providing an insight into the market expectations from UI/UX vendors, the CEO of ileadfarmers, Shashi Sudhanshu says, “What clients really want is innovation. They want their product to be different and unlike any other product in the market. To address this, almost every vendor emulate pre-existing apps in the same geography and market segment when designing”. He further delves into their approach delineating, “At ileadfarmers we do things differently. We research and analyse the global market and think from a cross functional perspective. We extensively research on new features and technologies that have been incorporated in products, even if that caters to a different market segment. Based on our research we experiment and we customise the product with the end user in mind. Be it tweaking the font, or focus on readability and usability, we incorporate relevant design and technical aspects ensuring innovation in design and technology. That is what enables us to meet client expectations.”

Exhibiting craftsmanship: 
ileadfarmers exerts great dexterity in designing user interfaces for apps as well as enterprise applications whose end users have totally different set of complexity, requirement and expectations. Shashi Sudhanshu explains that consequently the elements and factors considered during the design stage vary for these markets. In B2C, product will be used by large number of consumers where the product will be used by people without any prior knowledge and training. This requires high usability rate. However for B2B, proper trainings sessions are conducted. Herein lies the challenge of how to make the product efficient. This calls for the experience designer to think differently. Understanding this before designing any solution is very crucial for success. Leveraging on this knowledge ileadfarmers quite aptly delivers to both the industry segments.

Technology is seen as a means to the end of crafting better experiences at ileadfarmers. Thus their expertise in different technologies such as Angular JS, MVC JS framework, Canvas and SVG facilitates the team at ileadfarmers to regularly come up with out-of-the-box innovative features. Delineating on their approach to technology Shashi Sudhanshu says, “Learning is a continuous process at ileadfarmers and we constantly update ourselves and educate our co-workers regarding such technologies. Be it through training programs or secondary research, we ensure that we are up to speed with the rest of the industry. This enables us to frequent in such technologies applying them to our client projects”. 

A collaborative approach to client engagement: 
With a focus on collaboration of all team members, ileadfarmers empowers its employees by continuously incorporating and implementing series of activities to foster the virtues and intellect enabling them to grow as experienced consultant. Collective ideation and brainstorming activities enable the designers, content marketers, business experience consultants as well as the leadership team to drive the strategies for enhanced customer engagement activities.

Path to the future
With the vision to keep growing, ileadfarmers has been incorporated in San Francisco. Shashi Sudhanshu elaborates, “Through ileadfarmers Inc. we endeavour to bring our expertise in techno-marketing and experience consulting to the giants of SFO and Silicon Valley. With our roots in India and a firm foothold in SFO, we strive to change how businesses market themselves with a humanised approach. Our strategy, speed, consultative approach and personalisation combined with our three pillars - excellent designers, experienced marketeers and skilled developers enable us to be the trendsetters in this era of digitalisation.” He also envisions extending their UI/UX expertise in hardware and incorporating innovative product design. 

A more humane side to this technology driven agency is their aim to empower and support Snehwan, a non profit initiative lead by Ashok Deshmane which is a home and a ray of hope for 20 children belonging to the severe draught affected parts of Marathwada. ileadarmers built the website and social media pages for Snehwan with the same level of storytelling excellence as they do for client so that the voice of Snehwan reaches out to millions to support the cause. 

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