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Design at the Edges - UX Design for Developing Countries

by Interaction Designer for Mobile & Devices at Small Surfaces on Aug 30, 2013

  • 61,444 views

Imagine spending one month’s income on your next mobile phone. Or having to courier it to another town to recharge the battery. Or not being able to read what is written on its screen. These are ...

Imagine spending one month’s income on your next mobile phone. Or having to courier it to another town to recharge the battery. Or not being able to read what is written on its screen. These are everyday realities for people living in poor, developing countries. But mobile usage is exploding throughout the developing world. How should you think differently about design in this context? What does it mean to create appropriate design?

This presentation will explore the challenges and approaches to designing for mobile in developing countries, and will use case studies to help bring these insights to life:

- Bridge International Academies is building hundreds of schools throughout the slums of Kenya that cost $5 per month to attend, and wanted to use technology help the schools run better. But how do you design a complete enterprise management system to run on a $50 phone?

- Refugees United uses mobile technology to help bring together families separated by war and natural disasters. But how do you design a mobile online networking platform for people who have only occasional access to a shared mobile phone?

- Motorola wanted to create a phone for poor illiterate people. How do design a handset user interface so that people who cannot read are able to use it?

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110 of 18 previous next Post a comment

  • jasenc jasenc Gabriel White: I agree. Humans are similiar. They just have different focus/need at different stages of development. I wasn't referring to motivation. Instead, if we believe the medium is the message, then our (big co) message/channel is mostly wrong when it comes to developing countries. I don't see it as superficial differences. Btw, nice presentation and I'm not hoping start anything other than having a simple discussion. Thanks for sharing slides.

    Jeff Stevens: I wasn't thinking about audio but perhaps this missing bit could the difference. Cheers.
    6 months ago
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  • gabrielwhite Gabriel White, Interaction Designer for Mobile & Devices at Small Surfaces @jasenc The needs are often very much the same in most societies - people have practical needs and aspirational needs. Poor people are still consumers in the same way people in developed countries are, it's just that consumption is focused on different things. Long story short: never think of people living in developing countries as focused only on practical survival, and design is working within a different set of constraints / opportunities. 7 months ago
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  • gabrielwhite Gabriel White, Interaction Designer for Mobile & Devices at Small Surfaces There will be audio available at www.uxaustralia.com some time in the coming weeks. 7 months ago
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  • kuratowa Jeff Stevens, Web Content Optimizer at Academic Health Center, University of Florida @jasenc I think you're hitting on the basic limitation of SlideShare. Based on the author's comments, I think what you're wanting to see was in the content of his speech, which the slides was used to reinforce. 7 months ago
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  • mikedias96592 Mike Dias well done. great job but quite depressing in some areas. But thatwas necessary ! 7 months ago
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  • BMADE Barbara Motley, President at BMADE Some nice photo's 7 months ago
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  • jasenc jasenc Nice feel-good slides. I'm not sure anyone reviewing these slides will learn anything other than: 'Wow, these guys really don't have much (i.e. infrastructure, literacy, variety, etc)'. How about getting to the real issue of designing for developing societies? I wonder what, in your opinion, are the needs of users in such societies? 7 months ago
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  • gregmarsh Greg Marsh, Bus & System Integration (Finance/Power/Waste/SmartGrid) at Private Company Canada Beautiful pictures - took a while to get to the points but once you started adding content I loved it. Core ideas shown have to be stated over and over - one of the biggest surprises for me was the need to use pictures of actual people versus drawings to get people to accept concepts and the practical issues you mention are valuable to those who have not visited these situations. Hard to walk in someones shoes when you don't get the concept of 'No Power' 7 months ago
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  • mtumyotun Myo Tun, General Manager at Forestry Nice n meaningful. Thanks. 7 months ago
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  • gabrielwhite Gabriel White, Interaction Designer for Mobile & Devices at Small Surfaces @Chrishi1 I was talking about the success of QR codes in places like China - that in developed countries these have been unsuccessful, but that in developing countries people are more willing to try new things out. 7 months ago
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Design at the Edges - UX Design for Developing Countries Design at the Edges - UX Design for Developing Countries Presentation Transcript