During our time in South Africa we have been involved in various usability research projects for multiple companies across Southern Africa and as far as Kenya. Consolidation of our mobile research studies. We have picked up some key behavioural trends coming through that may not be as prevalent in a developed market. Let start with an overview of SA
Population is a serious estimation currently as illegal immigrants are generally unmonitored. Lets gets started with some insights on usage…
58.8 million subscribers on the mobile network 17% are smart phones. Many access the internet using their mobile on a daily basis. Lets investigate the phone first…
For the past 7 years customers in Africa has been using their phone as the only means to access the internet, what do they do? Exciting times for the smartphone market as smartphones were designed for this market that love features and apps is inline with their expectation we are waiting for the $69 smartphone to see the tipping point into conversion.
Facebook and Twitter are increasing at a rapid rate, with every test we see significant increases.They are very interested in being up-to-date with the latest news, weather and sport results and use their phone to read and get updates. Many customers have the latest ringtones, games and other content on their phone. Let’s investigate mxit & banking as this is pretty unique…
Mxit:Current registered users = over 28 million, userbase grows by 40,000 per day.10 mil active mxit users in SA alone. Lovedoc 400 000 registered users and 20 000 unique daily.
Stats from Worldbank2010, The African Executive By GautamBandyopadhyay,Principal Consultant at Infosys Technologies, December 2008
When the mobile phone is the first interaction with digital content we need to investigate where and on what they learnt first as this may impact how they use content on apps and mobile internet when they migrate and may even lead to how they use computer-based internet.
Sales stats:WAP 37%, USSD 32%, WIG 30%, WEB 1%. When the mobile phone is the first interaction with digital content there are learnt-behaviours, mental-models and paradigms which is pretty unique as they have never seen or used a computer I will show you 5 key differences in this market this may come in handy for the future designs of the web as your market is migrating to this scenario as well. Firstly the MB…
60% of users tested believed they were paying per minute, however they did believe the cost was low. The rest believed they were paying per page view or per MB, next categorisation of content…
If you look at USSD and WIG this is what they have learnt to do from other channels. Next up web paradigm that does not quite fit…
Large images on top deflect from scrolling the site, moving onto images…
UPA 2012 - Mobile user experience Southern Africa
Designing Mobile User ExperiencesInsights & paradigms from Southern Africa By Helga Letowt-Vorbek June 2012
Mantaray is a User Experience Consultancy based in Johannesburg. Our team: 8 consultants Key services: Product strategy Product visualisation User experience design Usability research Key specialisation: Mobile content channelsOur company focus on the creation of digital products that meet thecustomers needs and objectives for the African market.
South Africa at a glance Population 50.6 million Illegal immigrants 5 million Tax payers 6 million Official languages 11 Unofficial 8 Most of the population speak more than one language. Many speak more than 2 languages. Gauteng contribute 33.9% of the South African GDP and 10% of Africa’s GDP.
The computer is not the 1st learnt-behaviour when browsing the internet. 5 million 23 million The 1st learnt-behaviour with internet browsing is on the mobile phone.
The mobile phone has become essential not only for making and receivingcalls, but also for texting and gaining internet access with most users beingfeature-orientated.
The adoption and consumption of content via mobile is prolific. Email Entertainment Music Games Radio Twitter Mxit Facebook News Banking MMS Sport Reference Fun YoutubeSocial networking sites has seen a significant increase throughout Africa inthe last year.
Mxit has enabled customers to be in touch constantly with friends and familysharing and chatting in a very inexpensive manner.
Africa as a whole has 230 million unbanked households, roughly 75% of theadult population. In South Africa 60% of the population is unbanked. This had led to various methods to enable banking with a very strong focus on the mobile platform: • Mobile money wallets: sending money to other mobiles (MTN Mobile Money, M-pesa Kenya) – unbanked to unbanked • Sending money via the mobile to various vendors: ATMs, Kiosks, shops and agents (Absa CashSend, M-pesa South Africa, FNB Send Money) – banked to unbanked Mobile banking takes place on various channels not just Mobile Internet with USSD and WIG playing a significant role.
We have 4 content channels on the mobile phone: WIG - menu on USSD –short Mobile internet *123# the phone code menu & Apps
Most customers have learnt to consume content on one of the lesser channels firstbefore migrating to Mobile Internet.USSD: 4 years or moreWIG: 4 years or moreMobile internet: 0-4 years Mobile Internet USSD WIG WEB Currently they use combination of platforms 2% to perform functions: 23% Mobile Internet & USSD 46% Mobile Internet & WIG Mobile Internet & WEB combinations plays 29% a insignificant role within the mass market sector.
Many customers believe they are paying per minute and do not understand the concept of paying per MB. $$$ MB Page size is very important to ensure pages load faster.Competitor with quicker site could win over customers as they are saving their customers money.
Customers are very navigation-orientated they tend to read only copy thatis underlined and selectable. A site’s relevance and offering is judged by navigation offered.If the navigation is limited or the names are ambiguous they may believe you do not offer enough choice, similarly if you offer too much it may not be read at all and may be too busy.
Most customers skim-read a page performing word-form recognition onlinks. Customers tend to move up and down the page very quickly and may go up and down twice or three times before selecting an option. Some customers scroll down to the bottom of the page very fast and then move up the page performing word-form recognition on the up motion only. If they find words that meet their need they will investigate the page and site in more detail. The paradigm of being above the fold is not that important on Mobile Internet. You do however need to entice them to scroll, so use the top of the pages wisely!
Images are seen as images something to make the site pretty, evenbanner ads are seen as images and not a link or something to click on. Only when banner ads have a “click here” within the image, users noted that it was a promotion. All customers only wanted to see imagery that’s relevant to the area they were investigating. Well placed imagery that aid recognition has been found very effective. The use of text within images must be kept to a minimum as rendering of these images may impact the legibility of the text. The banner blindness paradigm is not prevalent on Mobile Internet. Careful with banner placement; if you sell unrelated info on a page, not only will they not click on it the info on the page becomes questionable.
Most customers prefer to use the navigation options instead of the search field. This is down to mobiles being such small devices and the keypads requiring the customer to be quite dexterous. Literacy also plays a part; they may speak and read English easily enough, writing is still a hurdle they avoid. Rendering of entry fields on some phones is an issue as the field is much smaller than the content required. We find many use txt language in entry fields or enter word that look similar to what they looking for.It is imperative that you default the keypad to alpha or numeric to ease entry, else they will avoid entering.
All of the above mentioned paradigms and insights were gained from performing usability tests on customers using their own phone By testing in the location where site will be launched you gain an understanding of the cultural preferences and customer needs. You will gain a deeper understanding of word- form recognition. You will gain a deeper insight into learnt-behaviours; what they have learnt from the previous channel they have used and may still be using. You will gain insight on what and how customers consume content on their phones. All of which will enable you to design a better product that your customer will need and love.