June 3, 2016 9:25 pm

Engineering Quality vs UX Quality (Knowledge vs Understanding)

Quite an interesting concept about what and how our mind perceives learning into the muscle memory and the effort it takes to unlearn and re-adapt based on the newly learned information. The important thing to note is, it is doable. Adapting to change is what creates the engine going. In this video, the designer talks about the understanding and the tacit knowledge with an example of riding a bicycle.  The knowledge could have possibly come from the previous understanding. Just because we understood some concept doesn’t mean it gets into our DNA right away, it takes enough practice and re-emphasis to make it happen. The take away from this talk is – Understanding, Knowledge and Adapting to the change with the newly found information.


Looking at this video at first, I used part of my “fixed mindset” to conclude, why should we design bicycle differently. I later changed it to an “open mindset” and applied the thoughts to other areas. I would suggest you to watch this with an open mind and look for the implicit concept and areas it can be applied to.
(Picture : from the video)



On one of the products I worked few years ago, though we Engineering wanted to upgrade to a better UI, a better performance, on a better and improved technology – the users weren’t ready to accept. Given a mission critical revenue generating application, the business wasn’t ready to accept a new proposed changes. We met with business team to understand the rationale and realized – One of the key resistance points was, the users were so much used to the product, including the tab order (note: the tab order was incorrect at that time), and such a change (though corrective) would derail their productivity with unlearning and learning process. We negotiated differently and found alternate ways to upgrade eventually.


Looking around, I see several products that we use fall under this category.

  • Do you see similar examples around?
  • Are there any products that you use for yourself, and you wouldn’t appreciate if it was changed?  🙂



February 15, 2010 1:42 am

You do know one song daddy!

It is often great to learn that we learn from toddlers. We had been to a local community celebration – Kannada sangha’s sanranti gathering – this afternoon. One of our neighbors sang a couple of songs. I had one of those songs several times before in my childhood and also later years. We were driving and starting humming that song. Being sheepish for yet not knowing the lyrics, I said – to my wife on passenger seat, “although I seem to know several songs – one or two liners – I wish I had known complete lyrics of at least one song. I need to learn the lyrics so i can hum a complete song.”

Now, from the back – on a child seat – our daughter chimed in – i thought she had fallen asleep, but looks like she was still alert thought about to fall asleep. we couldn’t here at the front and asked her to repeat – says: you know one song completely daddy – mudaakaraatha modakam [youtube video]. Well, we had both learned this song together a few months ago.

My wife chimed in – “look: she wants to encourage and uplift you to the best of her knowledge”

Certainly, it is interesting. When I thought about how and what most adults would have responded when I said, i didn’t know a single song completely, it would probably have been (a ) accept what i said (b) console in a different way (c ) some words that might make me feel much sorry about myself 🙂

On the other hand she didn’t want me to feel sorry for not knowing other songs, and rather uplift or encourage for knowing one so keep up learning others – not a big deal.

It is the matter of Attitude and how others centric that we get to in helping others grow.

To an extent it also follows (in terms of awareness and learn) what I just learned on Alan Page’s blog – about 5 orders of Ignorance – in the context of software development  – Links here – article about 5OI ; 5 orders of Ignorance

January 20, 2010 12:37 am

I don’t like your <fill in>

Filed under: Attitude,Children,Learn/Teach,Q&A — ramsblog @ 12:37 am

It is interesting to know that 4 or 5 year olds are being taught on “how to handle rejections”, “how to handle ridicules”, “how to handle talks” etc… Although it is amazing what kids “Pre-School” pick up during the conversations. I have heard them fighting or making negative comments. What i thought was it was just natural for kids to fight one moment and the same kids being best of the best friends the next moment. It happens with siblings too.

This week, I have noticed a different approach my daughter has learned. She is practicing it in a way, and wants us to tell her that we don’t like her clothes. I was surprised. My wife checked with school teacher about it and realized, the kids are being trained on how to handle such comments. That’s nice.

V: Dad, tell me that my dress is not good; tell me that you don’t like my dress; tell me you don’t like my hair band, etc….
me: why?
V: tell me any of these.. ok, what if I say, I don’t like your shirt?
me: hmm… why? what happened?
[if this was not the context, I don’t know how I would have responded (or reacted) to this question, depending on my mind set at that point of time. How about you?] and I ended up saying “No worries”

Now, it was my turn to rehearse this with her.
me: V- I don’t like your hair band, I don’t talk to you.
V: [with all the same energy and great attitude, with a big smile on her face, says] that’s ok, never mind you don’t have to talk to me for now. We will get better. thank you.
me: [I was like .. speechless for a moment, and then realized, hmm.. this might get into either defensive (ego?) or fade away into another direction, but said] ok

And i think I had this conversation continued for another minute or so and then diverted the conversation. But it is great to know that kids are trained on such little aspects. Keeping the right attitude, taking things professionally and turning heated comments into humors, is certainly a talent one must possess, and cool thing is “it can be learned”. It helps not only in school days, but in other phases for the rest of the life.

Listened to Pranesh on youtube yesterday – http ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e1HTQAr_XE – kannada comedy show. He has shared several instances where a serious situation could be turned into humorous one by keeping the awareness, a great attitude and being optimistic in life. 

hope she keeps that great attitude going forward and handle life graciously…

August 11, 2009 12:06 am

I am writing daddy, is it ok if I….

Filed under: Children,Learn/Teach,Parenting — ramsblog @ 12:06 am
Tags: ,

How would you respond if a kid is doing that he/she supposed to be but not at the right time. Our 4yr old daughter is very enthusiastic about writing words, drawing pictures, etc….. but at times it happens when she should be heading out for school. yes, she goes to preschool.

On mornings when I am in hurry to head out and she should be going to school. When we come down to kitchen and packing things to go. I ask her several favors. one of them being get ready and get the lunch bag. here is the conversation:

me: V- please get ready and take your lunch bag
v: ok
me: (after few mins), hellooo please get me the lunch bag and wear your shoes
V: I am writing something, how about a little later?
me: with some constraints, agree and then ask the same question again
V: ok daddy, i am writing something, is it ok with you if i leave this writing here?

i become speechless, how would you respond to this questions?
     1. say “ok you don’t need to write lets go” I wouldn’t want this to affect her mindset. 
     2. ok, finish your writing and then go – this wouldn’t be helpful, while we are on toes to head out.

quite a challenging question sometimes… given the context … although I tried to explain her the actions, justifications, etc, but does it matter…

July 26, 2009 6:50 pm

Mental Mathematics – Abacus

Filed under: Finance,Learn/Teach,Math,People — ramsblog @ 6:50 pm
Tags: ,

We took our daughter to Brain Child Institute for an assessment of whether she is ready for a math class at this time. Her kindergarten starts next fall which is 14 months away, so we were curious to introduce some math and reading to her at this time.


(image source: http://managemyemissions.com/images/abacus.jpg)

At the center, we visited a class room of 5 kids, they were probably 1st graders I think, and noticed a teacher keeping saying bunch of numbers for addition & subtraction viz., 3 + 5 + 2 – 3 + 1 + 6 + 2 – 8 + 7 , whats the answer? to my surprise, one of the kids, who was probably not distracted with our entry there, did answer it right. wow! How did he do it.

I noticed a strategy they used with their fingers, not necessarily abacus, but the I was told, they had started with abacus initially and now through imagination. I have never used abacus in my life, although i have seen one during my childhood, but my assumption was it was used to teach count the numbers for kindergarteners. well, that’s the limit of abacus usage I knew about until today when I noticed it at school and recently someone had mentioned about it. 

Have you used Abacus in school or to learn mathematics? to what extent?

To add on to this in my experience, Mental Mathematics, once learned the strategy, it is pretty cool.

Thinking about this and tutoring and classes for mental mathematics for basic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, although we see a lot of hype and promotions with organizations/institutions like Kumon, Brain Child, etc, however, L’ and I were thinking about it, and looking at the corner store retailer in Bangalore, the roadside vegetable and fruit stall vendor, where they would not have even gone to the primary schooling, and they perform these math perfect. here is the picture:

A vendor with bunch of fruits and vegetables with a measuring weight at the front. There are 5 different people around the stall picking up things and having them weighed at random. PersonA gets egg plant, tomatoes, beans, – all are different quantity;  person B gets 5 different vegetables; and they all get ifferent items with different quantities. When each individual asks the shopkeeper for the amount they owe now, he gives the right answer for each individual, and mentally (no paper or computer or Retail Point of Sale machine involved – note he is selling on a roadside) he knows who picked what and how much. He computes the amount accordingly and gives the number.

amazing …

June 6, 2009 5:58 am

Where is my wrist band? I don’t know but I will look for it…

Filed under: Attitude,Children,Learn/Teach — ramsblog @ 5:58 am
Tags: ,

My 4yr old girl wore a wrist band that I had given her. One morning imageshe was playing with this and with few of her other toys. Later that afternoon, while we were out to one of the stores, she borrowed the one I had on my wrist. Later on in the evening, few hours after we were back home, we both went on a walk around the community. I remembered about the band, and I asked her for the band and the conversation goes:

me: “Sweety, where is my wrist band?”
V: are you asking about the one with purple, green color?
me: yes, the one you had taken from me this afternoon
V: remember that is with a bunch of my other toys put on a ring
me: which one?
V: the one you helped me this morning with.
me: well, that was your band that I had given you yesterday. but how about the one you had taken from me at the store this afternoon?
V: this afternoon?
me: yes, at the store, near the counter when we were about to pay for other things.
V: I don’t know
me: sure? try to recall.
V: I don’t know
me: (not satisfied with her answer), sweety, you had taken it from me, and I think you need to remember to return it.
V: but I don’t know where I have kept it, but I will look for it.
me: (with somewhat, guilt feeling in my mind, at at the same time, satisfied with her answer, although she said she didn’t know, but she was also willing to look for it), sure, I like your answer that you are willing to look for it. thank you
V: thank you, I don’t know where I kept it, but I will look for it. does it sound ok appa? (dad?)
me: sure buddy, thank you
(now, the conversation shifted and she started humming a kannada song for which she had danced several months ago, and we reached home a several minutes later)

After we were back, we were still playing around and then I came over to the Kitchen to take my tablets. She got disappeared for a few minutes. She came back to me and handed over a wrist band. I heartily took it and thanked her for that band. I didn’t question anything further and we both got into other games or conversations. Later, she and her mom did a nail coloring sessions for few minutes, and we both read a Kannada book (Aesop fables) and she slept. I came upstairs later that night to go to bed, and noticed her bunch of toys where I had tied her wrist band together with. Now, I am flattered, that she sacrificed her band for losing my band, I felt so guilty, went back to the car and noticed it was there on the floor carpet by her seat.

There are several things that we indeed learn from children. looks like, children are great teachers than our own experiences most of the time, especially with respect to attitude.

May 20, 2009 7:02 am

Toastmasters: speech #10

wow! 9 speeches under Competent Communicator series are complete and one more to go to complete the Competent Communicator program with Toastmasters. I have been with Toastmasters.org for several months, it is really awesome that you would tend to learn so much about public speaking and moreover it also helps to gain the confidence and overcome the stage fear that we often develop as we grow up. Agreed, there are handful of people who fly out without any fear, but majority of us have those little butterflies in the stomach soon after we get on to the podium. Anyways, tomorrow is my 10th speech, and this will be part of a speak-a-thon that we have organized at our club. Series of speeches in a two-hour slot. this will be fun…


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April 4, 2009 5:39 am

Daddy, no one played with me today….

Filed under: Attitude,Children,Learn/Teach,Parenting — ramsblog @ 5:39 am

I knew something like these would come up at some point but I wasn’t sure I had to deal with such a situation this early. on one night a few days ago, although i was on my computer, my 4yr old daughter was by my side and reading a book. She was quiet for few moments. I watched her and I often make sure to attend her and listen to her while she is telling me something. This moment, she was quiet and said, “Daddy, no one played with me at school today <pause>” …

Well, I realized, this was the moment I must take the computer aside, and listen to her and ask her what happened. Now, it is a learning moments for me to:

1. Ask the right questions
2. if making any suggestions, be cautious <i have heard it and read this from several sources, I think I would have to cover this in a different post>
3. should I just keep listening – while asking the right questions or wait for her to open up and tell me everything without me asking more questions?
4. How can I assure her about my support and let her know that I am with her?
5. What steps should I take for the story she narrates me about her experience at school today?

I had all these questions lingering in my mind and still tried to listen to what she had to say…

It was challenging for me to to think of a solution and help her how she can handle the situation at the school next time around…

Well, the conversation was not complete as she was also feeling asleep, I believe I need to read more and learn to respond before I react on her question and thoughts…

March 25, 2009 8:11 pm

Mommy can you please watch me color….

Filed under: Attitude,Children,Communication,Learn/Teach — ramsblog @ 8:11 pm

I am often amazed looking at the children that most grown-ups tend to be more self centered and so much self-conscious that we tend to hate others watching over our shoulders. If you are a software developer, you are most likely be self-conscious on who watches over your shoulder.

When we are home and my 4yr old is in the mood of activities, be it writing numbers, alphabets, some addition, or coloring or playing with toys etc., she always wants us to watch over her. She wants our attention to be on her all the time. She makes us to play roles, making us her teachers at school or making us her classmates, and so on.

She starts coloring and gets makes sure to set the checkpoints and ensures she has our attention. “mommy, can you please watch me coloring”, “mommy, can you please watch me writing a,b,c,d…” etc etc…

At the end of the task she brings her work for review . There is a lot that we can learn our forgotten lessons from children.

January 26, 2008 12:37 am

70mins wait for 10mins of dinner!

Filed under: Children,Customer Service,Food,Learn/Teach,Parenting — ramsblog @ 12:37 am

We went to a local cuisine with our 3yr old daugher for dinner tonight. I looked 3/4th full from outside. We still went in. We were at the entrance inside the door, it was about 30deg F outside, waiting for about 10+ minutes, but there didn’t seem to be anybody to offer us the table. We thought of deciding on our order while we were standing there, so picked up a menu to decided on that as well. A few minutes later, host came there and offered us a table. On the way to the table, we said, we are ready with our order so you do not need to give us a menu to look. He still insisted that there was going to be another person to take orders.

Well, we sat by the table. We got 2 copies of menu on the table. 5 minutes later somebody came there and took our order – 1 south indian thali and 1 mango lassi. We tried to keep our 3yr engaged asking lot of questions from her memory bank – about the time she got hurt last week and the activities around that; her activities at school since morning; about her birthday; etc etc. There was another table adjacent to us also had ordered 2 thalis for them. At a point, our daughter became a bit fussy, they tried making couple tricks with the cutlery on the table. 25 mins past, we received our 1 mango lassi.  We now had something else to keep our daughter engaged. She took few sips and she was done. 10 mins later a samosa – helped to engage her for 10 more minutes. 20 mins later, we received plates and a thali. Our daughter had a bit of naan and my wife a little bit after waiting that long there.

Eventually about 70 to 80 mins wait, and 10 mins of eating. It was about time for them to close, so the employees were quick to bring us the check and clear the payment, so that we could leave from there.

Food is usually good in that restaurant. We used to go early evening or for a buffet but it was around 7:45 that we went to the cuisine tonight. I often enjoyed the buffet in this restaurant.

Talk about customer service, it is usually hard to see a smile on employees there. They could have at least cautioned us about the approximate wait time. Or Perhaps, we should have asked them when we were directed to a table or when we placed an order. Well, a lesson learned for the next time in a similar situation 🙂

It was fun though spent quite some time there.

On another positive note, my wife said, “hmm… it is probably a prep for us to learn how to keep our 3yr old engaged on our upcoming (long) air travel in next few months.” yes – we are thinking about things we can do to keep her engaged for about 24 hours of air travel. 🙂

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