Design Led
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Design Led

Kerala Sadhya and Design

I was brought up in a very famous temple town called Guruvayur, Kerala. Many devotees get married at this temple. Due to this, there are many marriage halls and auditoriums nearby the temple. When I was studying, I used to go for catering ,and for the SADHYA on weekends and holidays.

One day, while we were serving the Sadhya, an old uncle got angry with one of our teammates. I asked him, what happened? He said the dish which he was serving was not in the right place. Yes. Sadhya has a structure on how it is to be served. Like our design has an information architecture, how content should be structured and presented to a user when they are interacting with your design. Let me explain the structure of the Sadhya. It may vary in different parts of Kerala. But this is more of a Thrissur style.

The tip of the banana leaf should be on the left side. See the picture below to follow. Please excuse my limited translation of dish names to English.

On the extreme left Pickle, Upperi, Pulinji (inji puli), Thoran, Pachadi, Olan, Avial, Kaalan, Kichadi, Koottucurry. Below the line of leaf, Rice in the centre, Sambar on top of the rice, Right side Ghee and Parippu(toordal) . On the left Pappadam. It’s a well-thought structure which is organised salty, sour and spicy on the left, centre dishes are neutral, on the right, it’s a more sweet curry.

While having the food with the right hand you need to take an extra effort to go to the left and touch the pickle. The items like pickles and puli inchi normally eaten in smaller quantities. So these items are on the left a bit far. At the same time, the dishes like Avial , kaalan, Kichadi , which we eat more are placed on the right side, are easily accessible. When we are designing the UI elements, we need to keep in mind that the accessibility for important action elements and frequently used elements should be really in an easy place to aid quick interaction. The time to complete a task is an important KPI in user experience design.

Even the number of servings is different for different dishes. We have some rice with curd or rasam after having the sweet payasam with papadam to balance. Overdose of certain elements in design could lead to inconsistencies and potential user retraction. Whereas as certain aspects like simplicity should lead in abundance to ensure easy adoption. The user experience should give satisfaction to the users like how we have that feeling after SADHYA with all the tasty dishes which are properly served in the place with the right quantity.

There are so many inspirations from our daily lives. Do you have any observations like this? I would love to hear from you.

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