UX Design in the Age of Digital Bharat: The Top 7 Challenges

UX design is becoming increasingly important in India as the country becomes more digitalized. This article explores the importance and challenges of UX design in Digital Bharat.

Dr. Arindam Ballav
Dr. Arindam Ballav
12 min read | August 18, 2023

Imagine yourself as a 7-year-old kid going to a candy store. You see the bright colors and the iconic logo of the "Candy Man". Your eyes bulge out, and your tongue starts to imagine the taste of your favorite candy. You enter the store, and all of your favorite candies are separated individually, with one color for each section and one distinct style for each brand.

Then you meet the storekeeper. Your guardian purchases one candy for you, but you wanted two. You make a "lonely face" on your way to the storekeeper. And then the keeper presents you with another candy, exactly the one you wanted, beside the other. What an experience that would have been if it were real!

Let us understand the difference between UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) with this fairy tale.

User Interface (UI) is the visual design of a digital product or website. It includes the colors, fonts, icons, layout, and other elements that users see and interact with. User experience (UX) on the other hand is the overall experience of using a digital product or website. It includes factors such as usability, navigability, and satisfaction.

In short, everything special about the candy store was the user interface in the digital world, and the experience that the kid (which you can be as well) had can be referred to as user experience. This is an oversimplified explanation, but you will eventually catch up as we proceed.

Image of two colorful lollipops on a blue background. The lollipops are positioned in the center of the image, and they are the main focus.

Overview of the UX design landscape in India

According to Simplilearn, “The UX/UI design market stands at a chance of getting valued at 1346 million USD by 2028.”

User experience (UX) is connected with user interface (UI) with a single thread.

UX is about transforming a well-planned blueprint into the digital hemisphere where a user's can find what they are looking for BUT without any roadblocks.

Nobody wants to get lost, and everyone wants to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. It might not be possible in reality but in the digital space, it is. UX makes it a possibility for the user.

India is a country of opportunities. As per reports, “A total of 1.10 billion cellular mobile connections were active in India in early 2023, with this figure equivalent to 77.0 percent of the total population.”

You can understand the scope for digital products or websites selling tangible products and here comes the scope for UI/UX.

So why do we know so little about the importance of UX/UI?

The answer is 'LACK OF AWARENESS'.

We will discuss the challenges facing UX/UI design after we have a better understanding of its importance.

Importance of UX design in the digital age

Functionality (user interface) and the ability to enjoy (user experience) a website are the synonyms for UX/UI. If the user does not get used to the UI/UX, then their chances of becoming a buyer or someone who will be buying a product from you can be critical.

How can a bad UX/UI can be so important from the point of view of selling a product or services?

Let us take a few real-life examples from the rural India:

Two real-life examples from rural India that demonstrate bad UX/UI problems

1. Testament to the power of technology: With the 'JIO internet boom', consuming 1GB data in an hour is neither a fantasy nor a sport for the elite. It is a reality and every part of India is having a piece of it. The story is however a little different in rural India because Internet might be cheap but a 3G smart-phone is distant dream.

A country where the average daily wage lies is below 300 INR, procuring a smart-phone can be a hard sport.

This brings us to a real-life story of Arpita from a small village located in Alipurduar, West Bengal. During the pandemic, Arpita realized the value of internet connectivity and her father bought her a smart phone. Her school education was entirely dependent on the smart-phone and its applications. Initially she had a lot of difficulties using a few applications due to which she had to resort to other applications.

The main problems she faced were:

  • The applications were not designed for slow internet connectivity.
  • The features were too complex for her to understand.
  • The language used in the applications was not familiar to her.

This story helps us understand that there is an untouched market in rural India which is still waiting for a more user-friendly application. The story of Arpita is a clear-cut indication about the importance of User design.

2. Usability is not a luxury, it's a necessity: Anita is a 35-year-old woman from Mandawa, Rajasthan. She is a homemaker and has two young children. She recently started using a financial application to manage her finances. However, she is concerned about clicking the wrong button on the application. She is worried that she might accidentally make a payment or transfer money that she does not intend to.

Anita is not alone in her concerns. Many people are hesitant to use financial applications because they are afraid of making mistakes. This is especially true for people who are not familiar with technology.

UX/UI designers can help to address these concerns by making financial applications more user-friendly. This includes using clear and concise language, providing clear instructions, and making sure that the website is easy to navigate.

By taking these steps, UX/UI designers can help to make financial applications more accessible and user-friendly. This will help to put people's minds at ease and make them more likely to use these applications.

Now that you can have a faint idea about the after-effects of a bad UX design, let us discuss its importance.

1. It improves ‘brand-image’ A brand gets identified only when it offers something unique. This can be a "great Diwali sale" or an "end-of-season sale," but this comes in the secondary stage. In the primary stage, when a consumer starts to use an application for the first time, it's the user experience that will decide if he or she is going to come back and shop happily ever after!

2. It catalyses product/service penetration In the secondary stage, after you have convinced your consumer to stay, comes the part where a viewer turns into a buyer. An interactive design, added with accessible icons, catalyses products and services into the minds of the consumer.

3. It converts ‘searchers’ into ‘buyers’ In the tertiary, but final stage, your consumer eventually turns into a buyer. It's no secret that a fancy restaurant brings curiosity in the mind of a new customer (primary and secondary stage). But it's their food and services (tertiary stage) that brings them back again and again.

Top 7 UX Design Challenges in Digital Bharat

Top 7 UX design challenges in Digital Bharat, represented by icons on a blue screen.

1. Visuals that audience can NOT identify:

‘Digital Bharat is a metaphor for a progressing Bharat. UX/UI designers or company owners need to understand that the audience is still evolving. Product penetration can only be possible if clarity is maintained through visuals.

"What are you selling?" should be on the mind when designing a user interface for a better user experience. It is very important to have clear visuals, such as icons, directions, and buttons, so that the audience does not hesitate to proceed further.

2. Diversification in languages:

According to Ministry of Education, “India is a home for 398 languages, including 387 living and 11 extinct languages.”

It is 2023, but in many parts of India, people are either limited to basic knowledge of the English language or do not know it at all. This is the reason why you will see billboards in tier 2 and tier 3 cities that advertise "Learn English in 30 days."

Most websites or digital applications focus on English language, which sidelines the ‘non-english speaking’ consumers. The language ‘Hindi’ is not among the top 30 languages preferred for web or application content. This is a gap that needs to be bridged in order to reach a larger audience.

Despite the challenges, bridging the language gap in India is an important goal. By taking steps to bridge the language gap, businesses can reach a wider audience, improve communication, and promote cultural understanding.

3. Economical hesitation due to lack of credible resources:

It is no mystery that India is economically evolving, yet a large chunk of the population still lives either on loans, easy instalments, or on a per-day basis. However, a large chunk of this group of people owns a smartphone, regardless of their economic status. Indian families of modest means are protective about three things: their family, the national cricket team, and their money.

User interface (UI) designs should be transparent and credible enough to not mislead an Indian consumer (or any consumer, for that matter) into believing that they might lose their money. This would be catastrophic for any website or application if there is even a slight misrepresentation by any icon or verbiage that creates a belief in the mind of a consumer that they might lose their money.

Lesson: Websites and applications should not use any deceptive tricks to usher in money from consumers on the pretext of providing any services. Indian audiences are emotional, and this can help any website develop a loyal fan base in the long term.

4. First impression is NOT the last impression:

The sign-up process for any application or website should have the following two characteristics:

  • No complex terminology or jargon
  • No tedious sign-up process

A smooth sign-up process is essential for any application or website. If the sign-up process is not smooth, it can irritate users and make them less likely to sign up. In the digital industry, it is no secret that every customer who signs up for an application remains with that platform. A customer-centric, easy, and transparent sign-up process increases your chances of customer acquisition.

5. Boundaries in payment modes:

According to a survey by Rakuten Insight on online shopping behavior in India conducted in June 2022, 62% of consumers preferred cash on delivery (COD) as a payment method for their online purchases.

Indian consumers are protective of their hard-earned money, and this is understandable. They have long been accustomed to receiving products in exchange for cash on delivery, and the concept of prepayment is still new to many people. This is especially true for digital products, where there is no physical product to inspect before making a purchase.

To win the trust of Indian consumers, digital product providers need to focus on UX/UI design that builds confidence. This includes providing clear and visible information about customer care services, as well as positive user experiences. By making these forums visible to consumers, digital product providers can help to overcome the hesitation that many people feel about making prepayments.

For example, it is because Indian consumers have been following the age-old barter system of receiving a product with the exchange of money right on the spot. This has led to a general distrust of prepayments, as people are not used to the idea of paying for something before, they have received it.

By focusing on UX/UI design, digital product providers can help to overcome the hesitation that many Indian consumers feel about making prepayments. This can lead to increased sales and a more successful business.

6. Voice MIS-interpretation:

Indians have their own unique accents when speaking English, just like any other non-English-speaking demographic. This is why it is important for websites and search engines to fully understand and interpret speech-to-text capabilities in an optimized manner. It is also equally important to make consumers aware of this feature.

For example, the search bar on YouTube is still not 100% capable of interpreting user commands into words when providing search results. This can be frustrating for Indian users who have different accents and pronunciations.

7. Design that is unfamiliar to Indian consumers:

People use what they can relate to. This is the most basic formula for making a product a household name. The user experience is very important because it creates a sense of trust and comfort in the mind of your consumer. Most Indian consumers switch from one app to another because they can relate to the app or website. Discounts are important, but they are not as important as making sure that your consumer can easily find their way around your product.


Person using a smartphone with a blue background to scroll through a webpage. The image is meant to illustrate the importance of UX design.

With challenges come opportunities.

UX/UI designers are the backbone of user-centered design, which helps audiences relate to a product or service. They make sure that visitors become customers. Accessibility and usability are key to making a user relate to a particular digital platform. A UX/UI designer plays an important role in customer acquisition.

The sole intention of this article is not to present challenges as problems, but to showcase them as opportunities for UX/UI designers. The era of Digital Bharat has begun, and UX/UI designers in India have plenty of opportunities.

Events such as the internet boom, economic reform, and the inclination of foreign companies towards India have paved the way for Indian UX/UI designers to explore other domains of employment.

It is also important to understand that UX/UI designers are only responsible for getting the attention of customers. It is your products and services that will eventually decide the shelf-life of your website or application.

This is where we come in. We can help you build an obstacle-free platform because we are aware of the challenges, gaps, and the opportunities in India. We have tapped into untapped areas, turned over stones that were not turned before, and found solutions for those digital obstacles that were either ignored or masked from the eyes of businesses. Contact us and we can give you an idea about the existing possibilities of helping your business grow.

We are here to help you succeed.

Get a free consultation today, get in touch with us here.


Q. What is the difference between UI and UX?

UI (user interface) refers to the visual elements of a product or service that users interact with, such as the buttons, icons, and text. UX (user experience) refers to the overall experience that users have when using a product or service, such as whether it's easy to use, enjoyable, and meets their needs.

Q. What is the importance of UX design in the digital age?

UX design is the process of designing user interfaces that are easy to use, efficient, and enjoyable. In the digital age, where people are constantly interacting with digital products and services, UX design is more important than ever. By investing in UX design, businesses can improve user satisfaction, conversion rates, reduce costs, and improve brand reputation.

Q. What are some of the challenges of UX design in Digital Bharat?

UX design in Digital Bharat is challenging due to the diversity of the Indian population. Businesses need to design for a multilingual audience, create clear onboarding experiences, and make designs compatible with voice commands. They also need to use clear and compelling visuals, make it easy for users to discover new things, and create secure and easy-to-use designs for transactions. By understanding these challenges, businesses can create great user experiences for Indian users.

Q. What are the best practices for UX design in Digital Bharat?

Some of the best practices for UX design in Digital Bharat include:

  • Understand your users: This includes understanding their needs, wants, and expectations.
  • Use user research: This is a valuable tool for understanding your users. You can conduct surveys, interviews, and usability testing.
  • Design for accessibility: Make sure your digital products and services are accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Use local languages: If you are targeting Indian users, use local languages in your digital products and services.
  • Be culturally sensitive: Be aware of the different cultures and customs in India and design your products and services accordingly.

About the Author

Dr. Arindam Ballav
Dr. Arindam Ballav  Content Writer

Dr. Arindam Ballav is a dental surgeon turned healthcare IT consultant with a passion for creative content writing. He is inspired by the world around him and often draws on his own experiences in his writing. He is passionate about using his writing to explore complex themes and connect with readers on a personal level.

Who We Are?

UniKwan Innovations is a product design and innovation consulting company. We specialize in product strategy, user experience design, CX design, and research. From startups to Fortune 500 companies, we're your guide to success.

Related Insights
Juhi Chakravertty | September 17, 2020
7 min read
UniKwan Wins Prestigious UI/UX Design Agency Award 2020 from Clutch
UniKwan, a user experience design agency based in Bengaluru, India, has been awarded the prestigious UI/UX Design Award from Clutch ...
Samrat Sharma | July 20, 2023
4 min read
Why Snow White's Mother Is the Best UX Writer You Will Ever Meet
The tone and voice are essential to build a brand and engage users. Let us examine how Snow White's stepmother can help to define the brand's ...
Varna Madhukar | July 23, 2023
8 min read
The ROI of UX: How a UX Audit Can Boost Your Bottom Line
UX audit is essential for businesses in today's world. Good UX can boost customer satisfaction, conversion rates, and ...

What is UniKwan?

One of the most profound UI/UX design agencies in India, with an amazing 11-year track record in the design industry.

Design Awards
Years in Industry
We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. If you continue on this page, you accept the use of cookies.
Read more about our Privacy Policy here.