Neha Sharma had wanted to be a journalist. But her father was keen on her developing technical skills. As it turned out, she did not clear the admissions for journalism in three colleges, but cleared the one for BCA (Bachelor in Computer Applications).
Neha had a stint at HCL. Now, she’s a software development manager at UK retailer Tesco’s Bengaluru centre, leading a team of 10 developers and working very closely with the UX and product teams. She and her team have built an inhouse app for the stores in the UK. Before the intervention from Bengaluru, the entire process was manual. The store workers got the list of products over email every day and had to transport it to an Excel sheet to calculate prices after applying daily promotions. Now, through the app, the entire process is automated and the prices are updated regularly, saving a good number of hours.
“Coming from an UI/ UX background, I was mindful that the app is UI heavy and this would be used by colleagues in the UK for their daily activities. The experience had to be smooth, so that they understood the usage. To me, coding should be used to build something that is usable by non-tech folks easily,” Neha says.
Coders often expect users to be as technical as they are. Proper usability or user interface design, Neha says, should start with understanding the processes and needs of those using them. “So, whenever we conceptualise or build an application, I question myself – how will the user’s experience be? Can it be simplified further? As a team, we come together and discuss the complexity of the product or application in terms of usage and accessibility. This has always been one of our biggest priorities,” she says.
The good part of coding, Neha says, is that it is a never-ending learning process. “I do not like repetitive work and every day we go out to learn something new. My work is at the front-end, and when people say that the experience of using the app is nice, it gives me the greatest satisfaction,” she says.
She is also very enthusiastic about making websites accessible to the disabled through her coding. A big challenge in the Indian tech industry, she says, is the lack of awareness about accessibility. “It is the fundamental right of all users to be able to use that product. I keep doing audits of many products, and one of the constant problems I face is that the product is not readily accessible,” she says.
Neha has been using events, conferences, personal blog posts, and videos to communicate how to fix accessibility issues in a product. She has a dedicated blog site on accessibility – www.a11ytips.dev.
Neha Sharma, software development manager, Tesco Bengaluru