If you were an engineer passing out in the Batch of 2021, your inbox probably looked a lot like mine.
Most companies put a pause on their hirings and stopped any and all campus placements programmes.
I’d sent dozens of applications on LinkedIn, 200+ cold emails to CEOs, Design Heads, and other tech leaders. I even got through to a few interviews and cleared some rounds.
A few rejections later, I finally joined Meesho as a Product Designer 👻
Around the same time, Meesho had turned into a unicorn. #BuildforBharat has a better ring to it when you’re part of a billion dollar company ;)
I joined a small 4 member team (which now is 15-strong, and growing 🚀). Your first job is always special. The fun part — in 6 months, I worked on 3 super cool projects, learning, researching, ideating and doing a whole world of work.
My first month: Enabling transactions on Meesho’s website
I was assigned my first project on my fourth day at work — I had to hit the ground running.
The project targeted scaling our product on the web. Earlier, a user could just view the products on a website. They couldn’t purchase the product, nor could they see additional information such as ratings and reviews.
After all, the real Bharat skipped the desktop revolution and went straight to mobile and on to our app. But given how much Meesho has grown, the website needed some love.
We had to enable transactions on web, while doing some streamlining and bringing it within reach of our mobile app.
Believe it or not, v1 of our ‘payments option’ was done in 3 weeks. Final rollout: 2 months.
Impact? We had 4x jump in orders 📈
I felt like Max Verstappen winning his first F1 world championship.
The ‘Vernac’ project
Keeping in line with our #BuildforBharat motto, my next project was titled Vernac. We focused on creating user-friendly copy in multiple languages — Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, among others.
One learning through our User Research: Users scan words, and only read words which they are familiar with.
We had to understand technical constraints by speaking to developers. This mostly revolved around understanding which words can be vernacularised provided they will keep changing over a period of time and those words which will remain same on the app over a period of time (These words being easily able to be vernacularised)
For example, प्रोडक्ट विवरण → प्रोडक्ट की जानकरी, समान प्रोडक्ट्स → मिलते - जुलते प्रोडक्ट्स
It took us a monumental amount of effort to finalise the copy for every bit of text on the screen. Each change was thought over at least 5 times to ensure the most simple language used.
Despite being from Delhi, I learnt Hindi all over again 📚
Documenting the Design System
To scale our design efforts in the future, we need to learn from the past.
And this won’t be possible if we don’t document our existing components, their use cases, Do’s and Don’ts of each component.
We did this using a Figma file, titled: A Museum of Art 🖼
It took three weeks to finish the documentation. Here are some snippets from our Museum:
Research on visual comms: Giving new perspective to users
My next project had me doing research. Benchmarking is crucial to improve our users’ experience — we can’t get better if we don’t pay attention to what our competitors are doing.
We divided our benchmarking into 2 buckets: e-commerce and non-e-commerce (which were targeting the same user base in Tier 2+ cities)
In 10 days, we tried to understand the visual language of these apps by diving deep into icon structure, stroke and emoji constructs, and illustrations guidelines.
Additionally, we also developed insights into how our competitors use realism vs abstract approach, brand communication, animations, use of colours to build cohesive, and consistent themes while designing an app.
My current project involves working on this research and improving our app — more on that soon 😉
What’s it like working at Meesho?
A standard practice we have at Meesho involves white-boarding sessions in pods.
Sometimes, these go on for 6 hours straight.
Solving can be tiring — you can’t fire on all your cylinders every day, especially while working remotely.
One way we solved for this:
Our team decided to have virtual meetups called, ‘Happy Hours’. We meet every fortnight to catch up on our lives, gossip, discuss stocks (which means eventually buying crypto 😛). This has helped us build a bond and work closely.
Some learnings 🙇
Get Feedback ASAP and iterate: I used to believe in showing the end result for feedback only when they were perfectly designed. But Meesho’s mantra of Speed over Perfection is very important here — the sooner you get feedback, the better your end result will be.
Don’t limit your creativity: It’s easy to get trapped in an echo chamber — in my case, constantly only thinking about features from a scalability point of view. However, solutions exist everywhere, and benchmarking helps immensely.
It’s a game of management: Product design can sometimes feel like a Takeshi’s Castle game: you get smashed and fall down, but you can’t give up.
Managing your projects in a timely manner is paramount. Once you get the hang of understanding requirements, exploring solutions, and delivering them before deadlines, it becomes easier.
What’s the journey ahead?
My 6 months at Meesho have been a lot of learning, and some bits of unlearning. Building for Bharat isn’t just a tagline — as designers, we have to constantly imbibe that philosophy as we continue to make our app more intuitive for our users.
If you want to join me and my kickass team in the great work that we do, head to meesho.io to apply!