As part of a high school statistics project, our teacher gave us a form to collect data about customer automobile preferences. We had to analyse the data collected, and present it as a report.
While some were honest enough to actually go and get the forms filled, there were quite a few students who were getting dummy data filled by other classmates.
A few years later
I was walking near a market when a lady holding a bunch of papers asked me if I could spare a few minutes to answer questions about potato chips. She filled the fields of the survey form with my answers at great speed — a great time-saving skill, no doubt.
However, when one of my answers seemed unfavourable, she said ‘Oh no! I can’t record that.’ And then, she changed my answer!
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Statistics form the core of almost every article we read. But behind numbers like 83.7% and 4.8 million, there is data collected by field staff.
While statistical reports talk of error margins, how reliable is the data on which they are based? It is hard to tell. Can we improve their quality? Definitely.
One of the projects we have had the opportunity to work on in the recent past, addresses this very issue.
Before we jump to the solution, here’s a look at the problem in a little detail.
Data typically goes through several stages before becoming a meaningful number — capture, display, interaction and analysis.
Data capture, more often than not, involves paper forms. And paper forms have several inherent problems.
The first is the time lag between when the data is captured, and when it is available for analysis. The second problem is that of data integrity. Forms filled in manually are susceptible to errors during data capture, as well as during data transfer, as illustrated in the two real scenarios mentioned earlier. The third, and perhaps the most critical problem, is that of data authenticity. Paper forms can very easily be used to generate false information.
Raw aggregated data – typically tabulated – is not user friendly. It requires filtering in order to be useful for decision and policy making.
All this seems a lot like a game of Chinese Whispers. By the time the data can actually be analysed, it may lose its value.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could skip a few steps? As it happens, that is how technology can help. This was the subject on which our CEO, Mr. Sunil Malhotra recently spoke about at the 124A Bilateral Training Programme of International Centre for Information Systems and Audit (organised by Comptroller and Auditor General of India). While interacting with the delegates of FBSA, Republic of Iraq, during the session on Disease Surveillance and the Role of Technology, Mr. Malhotra emphasized the need to shorten the data collection timeline, as well as ensure integrity of data, through the use of mobile technology.
Here’s an excerpt from the companion presentation, explaining the common challenges involved in data collection, as well as how mobile technology can help solve them.
Desktops, laptops, tablets, televisions, mobile phones, phablets and now even watches. There are more internet enabled devices in the market today, than ever before. And a gag these days is:
So you want to be a web designer? This is what you will be dealing with:
From 300 pixels to a whopping 2000 pixels — that’s the range over which web content can be viewed today. Making sure all users get an optimum experience on their devices is by far the biggest challenge designers and developers face. And if there is one buzzword that has been floating around to combat this challenge, it is ‘Responsive Web Design’.
A single site that magically adjusts to whatever device screen is used to hit it.
Ever since Ethan Marcotte first coined the term Responsive Web Design in his now very famous article, a plethora of tools have sprung up, to make the process of creating a responsive website less painful.
But do we really understand what is responsive design, and why we are talking about it? All too often web designers & developers have tended to look at a responsive website as a chore, or worse — an afterthought. Define a few break-points and apply a few readily available tools to make sure everything looks okay.
The fundamental purpose of a website has always been about communication and interaction. But somewhere along the way, reusable code has killed the craft of true designers. This is not to say that reusable code is bad. What matters is that content is accessible, and interfaces are usable. That is what web design has always been about.
Make pages which are accessible, regardless of the browser, platform or screen that your reader chooses or must use to access your pages. This means pages which are legible regardless of screen resolution or size, or number of colors (and remember too that pages may be printed, or read aloud by reading software, or read using braille browsers). This means pages which adapt to the needs of a reader, whose eyesight is less than perfect, and who wishes to read pages with a very large font size.
To call ourselves designers, it is imperative to internalize the why, and what of web design, before diving into the how aspect of it. To address this within our organisation, we organised a workshop with a live case study on the meaning of ‘Responsive Web Design’.
It was an interesting session, with lots of insights being shared. And we like to share our discussion with you. So here’s the accompanying presentation for our workshop. We hope you find as much value in it, as we did.
It’s that time of the year again — when we celebrate the completion of another year. A time to evaluate the year that was, and to look forward to the future.
Last year can be summed up simply as a couple of projects, and several challenges — perhaps more than we have faced in the past. But in hindsight, it is fair to say we have learnt more than ever from these tough times.
We started up under worse conditions… We’ve still not run out of passion or belief. And we never will.
We’ve put the past behind us, and we know in our hearts that there are bright times ahead for us. With HealthWatch — a location-based platform for disease surveillance, which we developed last year — we’re certainly headed in the right direction.
And so we set the table, to celebrate our thirteenth birthday — on a Friday. Is it a sign? Perhaps. And we consider that lucky.
We’ve completed the baker’s dozen. Bakers arrange their loaves on a tray in a hexagonal pattern in batches of thirteen, arranged in a 4-5-4 formation (here’s an example). This is done so that the maximum number of loaves can be baked in one batch — corners are avoided because loaves don’t get cooked evenly on the corners. (Next time you enter a bakery, take a moment to appreciate their efficiency.)
Speaking of bakers, here’s what our cake looked like:
Our first dozen is complete. And we’re well on course for the next batch of thirteen.
And on that note, we dug into our cake. Year number fourteen, here we come!
This is not one of those existential Thought Catalog kind of post. Its just a quick 12 points summary of why we were happily grinning like monkeys on 17 April 2014.
Reason 1 – Ideafarms came into being in 2002.
Reason 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 … we continued rocking and doing kickass work.
Reason 12 – WE TURNED 12 THIS year!! And yes just like any discerning on-the-brink teenager, we enter our adolescent years kicking, screaming and very unaware of what the future has in store for us (well not quite. We’re smarter than that 😉 ). If the year so far is anything to go by, we are already on our way to having a lot of fun. This year we got the opportunity to make our very first game on Android, in affiliation with a upcoming movie called Yeh Hai Bakrapur. The game is called “Kaun Banega PM?” and you can read about it here. More on that in another post and lets bring back the focus to more mundane things like a party etc. :-D. Have a look at how we had a small celebration at work to usher in the big Thirteen in Fourteen.
This was just the trailer of the celebration that is in store, a big party is under wraps and you are already invited! Watch this space for more action!!
Earlier this year, Amit Gulati, who runs Incubis Consultants, invited me to participate in an interactive session to think through design ideas for a low-cost washing machine. The workshop brought out some very interesting and fascinating ‘ways of seeing’ that completely overturned the engineering / tech / product way of approaching design problems. Did we need to redesign the washing machine (Product) under stricter constraints [this is the way most people think – start with an existing product, strip it of features, use cheaper materials and processes, reduce quality and make it low-cost], or did we need to go up a level and reframe the problem itself.
Image Courtesy: Incubis Consultants 2013.
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In the old days — as recently as the dying years of the last century — technology was trying to keep up with our needs. But instead of playing catch up, its pace overtook our needs. In the end, technology, especially those products that were powered by the silicon chip, won the race. Today we have more technology than we need and yet, rather than using what already exists to solve societal problems, we still go after creating more and more technology for the narrowest part of the pyramid — the top. Continue reading Become rich by designing products for the poor?
Yes exactly that’s how people will be greeting you in few days! Nothing can ever beat the enthusiasm of Holi. Holi is a festival of fun, craziness, gujiyas, bhaang and above all COLORS. We all love taking pictures that capture our craziness and fun of holi. So building up on this enthusiasm our baby DealChaat has started a Photo Contest named #PhotoKaari on its facebook pagewhere you can share your pictures with the world and who knows…..you might just win a prize in the process.
So have pictures capturing your most awesome memories from Holi? Played with mud, got your dog colored all pink and blue, got your grandfather to play with you too, your kid’s first holi or that with your neighborhood gang … whatever triggers your Holi memory and that your friends will like. Submit them to the DealChaat #PhotoKaari contest.
(Don’t have any Holi pics? Well its a good thing then that Holi is just around the corner. Time to get that camera ready! Because you don’t wanna miss out on the awesome prizes!)
The picture that gets the most number of votes will win!
Don’t like playing Holi at all? Worry not my friend. We won’t hold it against you if you submit any other pic with a lot of color in it. Hey, Holi means color and anything with colors will fly (especially a colorful parrot?).
Twitter and Instagram users can caption their picture with “#photokaari“ to enter the contest [and then email your contact details to us at email@example.com – ie only if you want to claim your prize ]
2. Submit your colorful pictures with an equally colorful caption
3. Pictures with the maximum number of votes wins amazing prizes. (Psssttt…We allow you to cheat. Invite your friends to vote for your pictures)
Bonus Entry: Every person gets to submit just one picture. But we will give you a bonus entry for each friend of yours who likes our page. This may just increase your chances of winning. So spread the word and get your friends to participate too! (Only on the condition that they take you to Rishikesh if they win 😉 )
The awesome prizes we keep talking about? Read on below!
So splash your colors and share them on #PhotoKaari Contest
The year 2012 ended on a sober note for all Indians. Looked at another way, it brings hope for change. As the decade enters its teens, our New Year Greeting urges everybody to keep the youthful passion and energy alive to bring about a meaningful change for the future.
We were prepared for it but so not expecting this. The Mayans were right! The world did end on 21 December 2012. Well almost. We had to save the day. Don’t tell us you didn’t hear The Big BANG because we sure did have a BLAST!!! (Have a look)