Design Dissonance in TataSky UPI Integration

Design Dissonance Tata Sky UPI

When we choose to pay via UPI, the payments section of TataSky (website) says the merchant says TATASKY.

Design Dissonance TataSky UPI Website

However, when we open the BHIM app (iOS, Android), the pending payment request is from IndiaIdeas.

Design Dissonance TataSky UPI Bhim

This made me think twice if this was same request. Creates suspicion & looks cheap jugaad. Guess the IndiaIdeas team is promoting its brand over TataSky’s User Experience expense.

Design Dissonance in Music and Podcast Apps on iPhone

Design Dissonance Podcast Music App Play Button Location iPhone

I am among the millions of Apple’s iOS Music App and Podcast App users. I am certainly not only one who struggles with the design dissonance in their app. Here are my top 2 rants:

Design Dissonance in Location of Play Button

Design Dissonance Podcast Music App Play Button Location iPhone

The Play buttons are in opposite positions. I always have to look and think where to click. This does not allow for muscle memory for someone using both apps very frequently. What happened to “Don’t Make Me Think“?

Feature Disparity

Design Dissonance Podcast App iPhone Sleep

Podcast app provides two extremely useful features:

  • Sleep
  • 15 second skip forward or skip back

None of these are there in the Music app. Folks often go to sleep listening to music (a la Podcast) and need this function. Everybody like to revisit that beat or the clever wordplay. So skip back is a cool and useful feature to have.

Product Management Failure

Both cases are symptoms of failure of Product Managers.

It is as if the Product Managers of Podcast App and Music App don’t talk to each other or don’t like each other enough not to learn from each other.

It is also the failure of the Product Manager of Apple’s App not to drive Design Cohesion across the app that Apple builds.

Design Dissonance in Google Ventures’ Website – My Opinions

Design Dissonance Google Ventures Bach

I often visit GV‘s (erstwhile Google Ventures) website. On a recent visit, I encountered a noticed some design dissonance. It was surprising as they say the website is “This site is hand-crafted by GV.”

Here is what I mean by design dissonance:

Setting The Tone

Design Dissonance Google Ventures 1

The tone of design, layout, navigation and content sorting is set in the home page of their library. Look good! On a site that has tons of content, they have decided that trending on Medium is the order in which they will show the content. Great.

GV is known for its contribution to Design and so that is the first collection I hit!

Design Dissonance Begins

Design Dissonance Google Ventures 5

Suddenly I am in your typical ‘Blog’ template. Didn’t expect that. Not much of a surprise, though. Why not use the power of blogging platform. Some things that jump out:

  • The awesome picture of a mountain range and nice green slash, and
  • Missing Home from the top menu

Anyway, I back and for the next section, Product Management.

And It Continues

Design Dissonance Google Ventures 6

Suddenly, the mountain is gone, but the Home has appeared!

However, the Home takes me to the Blog home rather than the GV’s home. Moving on to another section, Sprints.

Continues But Does Not Jar

When I reach the Design Sprint, I am taken to a whole new layout:

Design Dissonance Google Ventures 1

Given the content is a whole new thinking, the new layout does not jar. In fact, it is a good way to set the tone that Design Sprint is a world of its own.

But Then

As soon as we move to Research Sprint:

Design Dissonance Google Ventures 1

We are taken to a Blog post. The content deserves more than a Blog post link and given how Design Sprint was done, this feels like a letdown.

What’s Wrong?

So, here is the list of things that are not right and leading to the dissonance:

  1. Library home page has content sorted in some order. That order is not followed in rest of sections
  2. Rest of sections point to a blog unexpectedly
  3. As they point to various different layouts of blog, they layout between various sections changes unexpectedly
  4. Once you reach blog area, no navigation takes you to the website
  5. Given it is highlighted as a hand-crafted website, these things should have taken care of. Hand-crafted implies attention to details to make sure they are consistent and not dissonant due to underlying differences

Suggested Fixes

  1. Crux of issues are due to how the blog is mixed with the main website
  2. Navigation in blog need to be consistent and allow for moving to GV’s home
  3. When linking to blog, link to similar layouts/templates
  4. Avoid Library link on linking to an intermediate page and rather go directly to
Feature image: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Smart Cities – Every Adventure Requires A First Step

Smart Cities Every Adventure Requires First Step

A Product Manager opens up a bar but decided not to sell alcohol. “I noticed people come to bars and talk talk talk. Alcohol is just something they like to hold in their hand.”

All were shocked.

“Anyway, getting a liquor license is hard. And, I had to start somewhere.”


Remember when everything was ‘e-‘? Then everything was ‘i’? And, now we have ‘smart’.

However, they are all same. They use the technology of the day to bring in efficiency and effectiveness. How successful they were is a matter of debate. But with each iteration, the scope has increased. The scope of ‘smart’ is now being labeled as transformative.

In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a smart city contains a wish list of infrastructure and services that describes his or her level of aspiration. (

That is interesting. However, today conversations around Smart Cities are all about IoT, ICT, etc. We had to start somewhere. But this is not where we want the conversation to end.

“You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret all the best people are.” – Alice in Wonderland

Smart Cities in its current hyped-up form may be bonkers of an idea, but it has a great opportunity to be best of an idea. All we have to do is step out of the IoT/ICT box.

I have found the concepts of Canvas, Frameworks, Modifying Frameworks, etc a very useful way to force self to think in a certain structured way and not lose track of big pictures. So naturally, I proceeded to create a framework for a Smart City.

But first I wanted to have a definition to start with.

Smart City – Definition

A smart city is not necessarily a digital city. Nor is it applicable to mega-cities or metropolitan cities only. Any city can become a smart city. This can be accomplished via retrofitting, re-development or greenfield development.

An aspirational definitional is not what a smart city is. Rather, what a smart city does. It should aim for and work towards this 9-point balance:




Human Framework

Tech Framework

Institutional Framework

Smart City Grid – Examples

“Alice: This is impossible.
The Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is.”

– Alice in Wonderland

I tried filling this up based on Smart City conversations I encountered. Especially ones that were critical about something being ignored. This is what I have today:

Smart Cities 3x3 Grid

If this framework is followed to guide a Smart City, we will surely have a city that uses technology to serve the people.