Bangla SMS

Back in 2005, unicode supported mobile phones were not widely available in my country- Bangladesh. Therefore people had to use English alphabet for texting in Bangla. However, being a nation that sacrificed lives for mother tongue, it was not an acceptable solution. To address that challenge, I formed a small startup called 3SM Systems with three other classmates. I led that startup in developing two technologies for texting in Bangla: one using picture SMS (server-side solution) and the other using J2ME (client-side solution).

The picture SMS solution was launched by CityCell in 2005. It transliterates an SMS from English to Bangla and then transforms it into a compatible picture message. The text SMS solution was launched by GrameenPhone in 2006. The main challenge was to design an input matrix for this ‘complex-script’ language. Our software made use of the memory-map through which local kids are usually taught this language at schools. Unfortunately, the launch of our most innnovative text SMS solution, which was developed for a third operator (BanglaLink), got postponed for an indefinite period. This was because at that time (circa April ’06) BanglaLink was yet to introduce their data service (GPRS, WAP, mobile internet), which was a core access mode for provisioning this software.

The unique features of this software included:


The details of Bangla SMS can be found here: (The design and information has not been updated since 2006. Kindly bear with the poor look and feel.)

My role

As the team leader of 3SM Systems, I played a key role in design, development and launching of our product. I conducted extensive research & proposed the most appropriate technologies for our target audience. In terms of novel and intuitive interactions, my interaction designs and collaborative implementations could easily have been accepted for at least 3 patents.

Team members of 3SM Systems

Implementation technologies

Design process


Our contribution to industry while being in academia earned nation-wide recognition in 2005. Here are some of those:

Artifacts and Screenshots

Figure: Steps for Bangla picture SMS

Figure: Bangla text SMS
The Daily Star Feature
Figure: The Daily Star feature highlighting the pioneers of Bangla SMS.

Video demo: Bangla SMS (BanglaLink Version)

Figure: System description for Citycell Bangla SMS

Figure: Information architecture and primary interaction for BanglaLink Bangla SMS

Figure: Information architecture and secondary interaction for BanglaLink Bangla SMS

Figure: Agreement signing ceremony between CityCell and 3SM Systems

Figure: Launch of GrameenPhone Bangla SMS Solution