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Field-tested interfaces for the next billion

Field-tested interfaces for the next billion

This talk was given at Front Trends in Warsaw, 24 May 2017. "The next billion” is a phrase bandied around a lot these days. Connected smart phones are bringing computing and the internet to many people who are now learning to use digital interfaces for the first time – people all over the globe; from West Africa to India to Brazil. Serving these users is both an economic opportunity and an ethical imperative.

So what does this actually mean in practice? How does someone who’s been introduced to technology through a second-hand cheap Blackberry knock-off powered by a car battery respond to these new and shiny ways of interacting with machines? What effects do unreliable power and intermittent internet have on the user experience? How can we make sure that keeping up with the cutting edge won’t alienate the people in these fast-growing emerging economies who are just starting to get into the web?

In this talk we’ll go through examples from working with novice tech users in resource-constrained environments, and discover how they navigate apps, comprehend interfaces, input data, and understand screen flows. You’ll learn how certain UI patterns, animations, and navigation conventions hinder or help, and leave with an understanding of how to include these millions of new users in your product thinking.

Ally Long

May 24, 2017

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  1. Anxid → Huawei → Lenovo → LG → Samsung (if

    you're fancy) ! → Apple (if you're reeeeeally fancy)
  2. Connectivity → remote and rural areas have very little cellular

    coverage → even in built-up areas and cities, network coverage is often poor → broadband internet / wifi very uncommon → data is still expensive
  3. Optimise for responsive UIs → Don't tie UI elements to

    long-running operations such as network requests → Don’t block navigation → Loading indicators (spinners, progress bars) should be inline
  4. Charging is slow → A diesel generator takes around two

    hours to charge a smartphone → Solar power takes 4-5 hours to charge a smartphone
  5. Proper affordance → make the buttons and actions bigger, clickier,

    more obvious → clear labelling → combine icons with labels
  6. Adjust your design / dev processes to include in- person

    usability testing in these markets.