IA for the rest of the world


Published on

One of the challenges facing designers today is how to engage with emerging markets and rapidly developing economies. Well over half of the global population lives and works in these countries and technology is rapidly diffusing into their everyday lives.

Mobile devices, in particular, are becoming the first experience of the online world. Mobile telephones have more worldwide users than any other digital technology - and often provide the first experience with information architecture in a digital sense. The challenge of providing accessible IA for illiterate and innumerate people is starting to be addressed through projects like the One Laptop Per Child
(OLPC) initiative.

Information architects have always had an essential role in providing access to information and services. Emerging markets have an enormous need for this access - but also a range of constraints that make it hard for designers to deliver effective IA.

Why has the rest of the world missed out on IA? What makes us fail to understand the needs of most of the global population? What opportunities have we missed by avoiding emerging markets? How can information architecture help the illiterate or innumerate? Is it even possible to design for
‘everyone’? Why should information architects care about the rest of the world? How and why should we use persuasive design to help emerging markets succeed?

This presentation will help information architects understand the opportunities presented by emerging markets, and the role IA can play in development and growth. It will also discuss tools and techniques for creating globally relevant IA, alongside real-world examples of IA in emerging markets.

Published in: Design, Technology, Education
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Never competed with ducks for a timeslot.
    Apologies for move from yesterday - the room wasn’t set up and I didn’t want everyone to have to stand for 45 minutes. :)
  • Explorer, conquistador from Spain to the New World; this room named after him
    Died 435 years to the day before I was born, only 150 miles from here
    Historic example of a failed strategy to engage with emerging markets (Spanish, then British, in the US)

  • About me (IxD from way back - this is my third bubble), in a team specalising in Service & UI Design (my job is almost entirely about understanding people – focus for last few years)

    ND is 350 people from 34 different countries speaking 15 languages
  • 22nd October - 4 of us are on ‘immersions’ - ethnographic research (with local researchers and translators)

    Me in India
    Manu in Brazil
    Eddie in Nigeria
    Miles in Egypt
  • Emerging market service focus in most of last year – India, Egypt, also Nigeria, Indonesia, Brazil, China
    Creating services around agriculture, education and entertainment
    Genuinely excited about opportunity to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives

  • Presented work on National Public Toilet Map in Australia, easily my largest IA job (every place and public toilet in Australia!)
    Highlight was tour of Shanghai’s finest public conveniences

  • To put RMB 1.00 into perspective, that’s more than a subway fare, and in many parts of China is well over what people are earning in a day.

    Ultimately IA (ok, A) has been used here to structure according to class.

    I found this really interesting, and that’s what triggered my interest in IA and emerging markets.

  • There are plenty of references out there on these general topics, and I’m not going into the specifics of how to internationalize or localize.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/autograt/224510093/

  • Cairo, Egypt. Mosque in centre holds up to 5,000 people.
  • Epe, Nigeria. Fishing village.
  • Outskirts of Mumbai, India. Slums being demolished to make way for housing projects. Area featured in Slumdog Millionaire.
  • Village in Nile Delta, Egypt. Rice harvesting.
  • Shanghai, China. Note the grain carrying barges on the Yangtze River.
    Emerging markets coined by Antoine van Agtmael, then working for the World Bank’s International Financial Corporation in early 1980s.
    Advanced, emerging, least developed
    Many competing definitions
  • Fast. Not as fast as last year, but still fast.
    Adopting the useful bits for trade (technology, language, contract law).
  • Billions of people. India and China are each bigger than North America and Europe combined.
    Impact on peoples’ lives very quickly.
    Change is happening very quickly - economic, social etc - open to new things
  • Power and telecommunications infrastructure a major issue. Our office in Delhi only gets power for half the day. In Nigeria, people phone ahead to see if work has power
    100 million children out of school in India. Literacy and numeracy big issues in rural areas.
    Sustainability, health challenges with environment.
  • cellphone cost 485 hours work in 1984, now costs 4 hours
    I met people in India and Egypt that saved for 3 months to buy a cellphone, and bought the most basic model from 3 years ago second-hand
    1.2 billion people still live on less than $1 a day.

  • Knew I’d get a wireframe in my presentation somehow. ;)
    Two love related tales from emerging markets.
    1. Dating sites - rather than take western sites and rebadge them, dating sites that meet the needs of local cultures are emerging - so in India this means managing the process for parents of dating couples, as well as for the couple themselves.
    2. Entrepreneurship - in Egypt, many stalls sell phone calls (on mobiles) by the minute for about twice the rate you would pay yourself. Most of the customers are teenagers who are trying to have relationships without their family knowing (fathers routinely check mobile phones for evidence!). After school, they are packed with students.

  • OK, they aren’t rules, they are really just observations.
  • These are the key observations that I’ve made working in emerging markets, both from a physical device and service design perspective.

    Remember that most of the time you are working away from ‘known knowns’ and you have to get a picture of what’s out there.
  • Leads to some strange distortions in space and time - what would be considered unacceptably slow in our world can be normal in emerging markets. Same with efficiency - more people with basic tools rather than labour-saving devices. Money poor a huge issue. IA reinforces these issues - Egyptian court system an example.
  • India: Find addresses based on landmarks and people in the area knowing streets/people
    Nigeria: Find addresses in village based on cellphone numbers instead of house numbers
    Rapidly changing reality means traditional IA is out of date before it is implemented
  • Sounds like newspeak from 1984! Opportunities arise for businesses to help manage the chaos (eg in Egypt photocopying services in courts).
    Sometimes order and structure can be confusing. Deep hierarchies are a problem - shallow and flat, even if a mile wide, is easier for people to understand (mental model).
  • Lack of personal space, both physical and virtual, in home and away from home. Create tools that support this structure - allowing you to share products/services without sharing personal stuff. Or allow you to enter a personal virtual space.
  • Everything you know is wrong. :) Different things can have different uses, depending on how people see them fitting into a particular context. Need to be prepared (alert, but not alarmed) for emerging behaviours and properties of your designs.
    Good example: mobile phone packaging as display cases in stores, and kept when reselling phone later.
  • Power and communications are always being interrupted. Social and religious activities are carried on throughout the day. Design for people to pause and resume - come back to something that they left part way through. Also design for partial attention.
  • ‘well worn paths’ are hard to compete with. You need to be considerably better than what people are doing now in order to succeed. Being quicker isn’t always enough; being cheaper isn’t always enough - have to be ‘better than a shortcut’
  • Build for people to fix things. Things break - emerging markets are hard on physical objects, and arguably on virtual ones too. Giving people the ability to customise to suit their own needs is an important part of design in emerging markets.
  • These are the key observations that I’ve made working in emerging markets, both from a physical device and service design perspective. Of course, testing and prototyping helps a LOT.

  • Wall in village in Egypt, showing where children had been doing math exercises in chalk.

    Note how literacy is also about understanding language. Here, a right-to-left language means different things.
  • Varies widely within countries, especially urban/rural (eg China, Egypt)
    Generally ability to read/write a simple sentence in a language (not necessarily an official language!)
    My original plan for the presentation was to use no words for the entire slideshow

  • Pictures with words to help learning. Using local metaphors that are meaningful to people.
    Memorability allows people to be ‘shown’ a path (often used when exploring English websites/computer applications).
  • How do you use a phone without knowing any numbers? I met someone in Egypt who could only receive calls, and was dependent on her husband for making social contact. At the same time, I met innumerate people who used the pictures on banknotes to recognise their value.
  • http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/42/XO-Beta1-mikemcgregor-2.jpg
  • Sugar UI from OLPC. Designed for use by children in emerging markets without requiring literacy. Not 100% convinced about the metaphors used in icons.
  • Music for the illiterate. The most interesting thing for me about the new iPod Shuffle is that it has a voice-based UI, which makes it one of the few consumer electronics products to have no requirement for literacy - at least in listening to music. Obviously purchasing and transferring music does, for now.

    Picture from apple.com/ipodshuffle/gallery

  • Not trying to be a comprehensive guide to these areas, just talking about how I’ve used some different tools and techniques.

    You might have spotted that I’ve used a ‘z’ here, and spoken of cellphones. That’s localization for you.
  • Even the idea of currency is different. Some places do not use coins at all (Nigeria). Some people elsewhere may not ever use notes (coins are high value). All have different symbols for currency.

    Example from some concept testing... we were using three-pane stories (problem>solution>outcome) to test concepts. Chose three panes because switch to RtL would not be a problem. Also used illustration style that would work everywhere (although had to remove culturally inappropriate content).
  • Applying requirements for a specific area. Cultural sensitivity and social context are big parts of this. Even though it is specific, you need to know the degrees of freedom you have to change things. Will the icons need to be different, or will you go for global ones? Colors? Labels? (in India, their postal code is known as the ‘PIN code’ - Postal Index Number)
  • Designing structures that will work everywhere (eg where right to left or no alphabetic sorting, like China). Example of stroke count ordering (either first character or entire word) as alternative to alphabetic order, but requires knowledge of English transliteration.
    Concepts that don’t translate - eg ‘subscription’ in rural India - noone has an equivalent service, they are used to paying for things as they need them
  • Research is VERY expensive in emerging markets. Even practical things are expensive for visitors (one night in a hotel in Nigeria cost as much as a local pig farmer made in 18 months).

    easy to judge and make assumptions - but good design is about throwing away assumptions
    (example of cousins married in Egypt, and shame shown by the researcher who said ‘mother’s sister’s daughter)

    Ethnography: for deep insights and understanding of life generally
    Fieldwork: for targeted insights and understanding of specific contexts
    Market research: for broad insights and coverage of broad contexts

    Refer to ‘Understanding Contexts of Use’ presentation from interaction09
  • Prototyping of various sorts is incredibly important, but cultural issues can come into play with criticism and fidelity. Some people will respond well to a block of wood substituting for a phone; others will not be able to provide useful feedback.

    Co-creation is a really important part of what we do, and it’s quite challenging to do well. How do you get people to design solutions for themselves? They do it all the time, but in the context of a 1-to-1 or group session it can be challenging (fear of failure/embarrassment).

    Literacy is a big issue, especially in understanding ethics clearance forms and so on. We’ve done some work using symbols and drawings to illustrate concepts and this worked well.

    Remote testing is hard, you need a lot of trust in local agency. Have done late night video chats with people testing in other locations, it can be painful. Much easier to be there, but cost is a big deterrent.

  • Why are there only 10% non-US attendees at the Summit? (although yes, we have EU, AU, DE, IT and BR Summits now)
  • Good design is a right, not a privilege.
    IAs are responsible for delivering good design.
    By engaging with emerging markets, we can support their livelihood and help them improve their lives.

  • IA for the rest of the world

    1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gaetanlee/298160434/ IA for the rest of the world IA Summit – Peabody Hotel, Memphis, United States 21 March 2009 Miles Rochford | miles.rochford@gmail.com All opinions expressed in this presentation are my own and do not necessarily represent the official view of Nokia.
    2. Hernando Desoto http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Hernando_de_Soto_1881.jpg
    3. About me All opinions expressed in this presentation are my own and do not necessarily represent the official view of Nokia. Miles Rochford
    4. Miles Rochford, Tom Jenkins, Eddie Shannon, Manu Zavattaro
    5. europe.nokia.com/lifetools
    6. Miles Rochford
    7. IA and toilets Miles Rochford
    8. Miles Rochford
    9. Miles Rochford
    10. Miles Rochford
    11. Miles Rochford
    12. Miles Rochford
    13. IA for the rest of the world
    14. The rest of the world IA in emerging markets Literacy and numeracy Tools and techniques
    15. i18n l8n internationalization localization
    16. The rest of the world IA in emerging markets Literacy and numeracy Tools and techniques
    17. Not this. http://www.flickr.com/photos/autograt/224510093/
    18. Not this. http://www.flickr.com/photos/eek/227352022/
    19. It’s this. Miles Rochford
    20. Or this. Eddie Shannon
    21. Or this. Miles Rochford
    22. Or this. Miles Rochford
    23. Or this. Miles Rochford
    24. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Developing_country
    25. What are they doing? Urbanising Growing Westernising
    26. Opportunities Scale Impact Change
    27. Challenges Infrastructure Education Environment
    28. wikipedia.org
    29. The rest of the world IA in emerging markets Literacy and numeracy Tools and techniques
    30. http://www.flickr.com/photos/fornal/404105617/
    31. 8 simple rules
    32. 8 simple observations
    33. 1 People rich, time rich, money poor
    34. 2 It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
    35. 3 Order through chaos
    36. 4 Everything is shared
    37. 5 Context is king
    38. 6 Expect the unexpected
    39. 7 Stay on the beaten path
    40. 8 Everyone is MacGyver
    41. 8 simple observations People rich, time rich, money poor It’s not what you know, it’s who you know Order through chaos Everything is shared Context is king Expect the unexpected Stay on the beaten path Everyone is MacGyver
    42. The rest of the world IA in emerging markets Literacy and numeracy Tools and techniques
    43. Miles Rochford
    44. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World_literacy_map_UNHD_2007_2008.png
    45. What can IA do? Pictures Metaphors Memorability
    46. Miles Rochford
    47. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/42/XO-Beta1-mikemcgregor-2.jpg
    48. wikipedia.org
    49. apple.com/ipodshuffle
    50. The rest of the world IA in emerging markets Literacy and numeracy Tools and techniques
    51. Tools and techniques Internationalization Localization Language Research Testing
    52. Internationalization Making stuff work everywhere. It’s hard.
    53. Localization Making stuff work somewhere. It’s hard too.
    54. Language Linguistics is central to IA. How do you deal with: • no alphabetic order? google.com • right-to-left reading? • concepts that don’t translate?
    55. Research There is nothing like being there. Range of tools available: • ethnography • fieldwork • market research
    56. Testing Can you test without being there? How can you test with illiterate or innumerate people? How do you co-create with people?
    57. The rest of the world IA in emerging markets Literacy and numeracy Tools and techniques
    58. IA for the rest of the world
    59. Role of IA Support development, growth and sustainability Maintain existing livelihoods Enable life improvement
    60. Good design is a right, not a privilege.
    61. Thank you. Kiitos. Eddie Shannon
    62. Questions? miles.rochford@gmail.com www.slideshare.net/rochford @21five Local photographer, paid by Miles Rochford