Pakistan is home to a plethora of talented designers and young thinkers, with fantastic aesthetics and remarkable ideas. Sadly, often those ideas fail to come to fruition simply because the person in question didn’t have access to the right opportunities to connect with relevant audiences in a useful way. This young talent needs to be nurtured and guided by those with more knowledge and experience. Increasingly, this highlights the importance of having the right platforms to help us grow and flourish, and map out future steps on how to take these ephemeral thoughts and turn them into tangible, practical realities. Such platforms work best when conceptualised as communities bridging the gap between thinkers, creators, and users – in the case of designers, through human-centred design principles.
The UX Pakistan Design Conference was founded to provide attendees with a holistic experience of the design world, teaching the latest in UX (User Experience) trends and technologies, and how to create seamless digital and non-digital experiences during a day filled with interesting workshops in interaction design, AR/VR, design hackathons and competitions, and informative talks with a stellar line-up of industry and design leaders and professionals. Established in 2017, the Conference is essentially a platform for start-ups and UX designers to present their ideas and be evaluated by professionals. The previous two years saw 28 speakers, 11 hands-on workshops, and an overwhelming response and call to return bigger and better in 2019.
2018’s UX conference was a special accomplishment, as it had the inauguration of the country’s first User Experience Design awards. The National Design Awards held nationwide participation, with the award submission categories including Design for Social Impact, Fashion & Textile, and Product and Game Design. The winners were decided via a meticulously picked jury of design moguls.
Commenting on last year’s experience, the President of INDEX (The Design Society at LUMS), Numra Azhar (Student @LUMS) said, “The goal of UXPakistan is to innovate and bring awareness about the importance of ‘good design’ by bringing in people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to one platform. This event has opened a way for user experience design professionals to interact with beginners especially early career professionals and students. I, being from a biology background have excelled in this field, establishing the fact that everyone can learn how to be a good designer.”
This year’s agenda is to put the spotlight on innovative designs, and to turn these into real-life services and products that solve real world problems. This goal can only be achieved through the joint efforts of civil society and the continued support of industry leaders, experienced researchers and academics, and the culture at institutions like LUMS, which hold events such as UX Pakistan, numerous workshops, and even hosts the National Incubation Centre.
Concurrently to the UX Pakistan Design Conference, LUMS is also hosting the first Google Home Developers Summit. For the first time in Pakistan, a team from Google will come to speak on Home Automation; speakers include Faisal Feroz, Director Partner Engineering at Google, Ryo Ga, APAC Head of Technical Account Management at Google, Sean Cho, Head of Technical Account Management at Google, John Fieg, Head of the Home Automation Division at Google, Kevin Nilson, Head of the Technical Solutions Engineering at Google, and John Fieg, Head of the Home Automation Division at Google.
In 2019, participants will get a chance to showcase their talent and work through the UX Pakistan Design Challenge and Design Awards. Participants can also apply with their start-ups for the UX Pakistan Design Showcase. Not only this, all the speakers attending this year’s conference will share stories about their own journeys and projects, as well as what led them to come up with their ideas.
Keynote speakers for this year’s conference include Abbas Saleem Khan, CEO of Optera Digita, Asif Baki, Head of Research & Insights, Next Billion Users at Google, Usman Riaz, Founder of Mano Animation Studio, TED Senior Fellow, Burgan Shealy, who also is the Interaction Designer at Google, Shahzad Nawaz ( Chief Creative Officer and Advisor to CEO at AAP Media), Garen Checkley, Emerging Market Design Strategy at Google. In addition, the event will feature Sadia Khurram, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Jazz, Benedict Davies, UX Designer at Google, Suleman Shahid, Founder UXPakistan, who is also an Assistant Professor at LUMS, as well as Sadaan Ahmad, Founder/CEO at Vanilla Arcade, Jaffer Hussain, Founder at Offroad Studios, Creative Consultant at CricinGif and Design Educator at VCD-BNU. With all these amazingly talented names, the experience is bound to be full of diversified knowledge.
The founder of INDEX and UXPakistan, Dr. Suleman Shahid, Assistant Professor at LUMS, shared his views, saying, “Modern complex problems cannot be solved by a single discipline. We need a multidisciplinary approach for understanding and solving these problems and design, as a process and action, can help a lot in solving those wicked problems out there.
To spread design in its true essence in Pakistan, we need a grassroots movement starting from schools and going all the way up to businesses and the government. Events like UXPAKISTAN and UXCAMPS, which try to bring modern creatives (designers, business leaders, technologists, craftsmen, architect and artists) on one platform for spreading the real value of design, are just a starting point.”
This conference is a grand expedition of change and a vast experience of learning in the field of design. UX Pakistan 2019 is geared to provide opportunities, mentorships and a platform for connection to everyone within the industry, from established professionals to future entrepreneurs and UX unicorns.