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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. Field-tested interfaces for THE NEXT BILLION ! @allyelle

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  4. Europe 80% connected

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  6. USA 75% connected

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  8. Australia 85% connected

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  10. Canada 88% connected

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  12. Mexico & Brazil 50% connected

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  14. South Asia 24% connected

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  16. Sub-Saharan Africa 22% connected

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  19. Serving these users is the right thing to do

  20. 1 billion new users = 1 billion potential new customers

  21. It benefits everyone

  22. Empathy

  23. Empathy is bullshit !

  24. It’s hard to know what you don’t know

  25. Who am I anyway?

  26. I'm Ally Long @allyelle

  27. I’m a product designer and front-end developer

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  38. Practical tips

  39. The typical user...

  40. There isn't one ¯\(ϑ)/¯

  41. Typical devices

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

    you're fancy) ! → Apple (if you're reeeeeally fancy)
  45. Condition → scratched up screens → glare protection films →

    big rugged cases
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  47. Make sure Opera Mini is part of your testing process

  48. Connectivity

  49. 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
  50. Latency

  51. 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
  52. Difficult to charge Finding a working power source is not

    always easy
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  55. Charging is slow → A diesel generator takes around two

    hours to charge a smartphone → Solar power takes 4-5 hours to charge a smartphone
  56. Phones off

  57. Touch screens are easier to use than laptops

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  59. Gestures...

  60. ¯\(ϑ)/¯

  61. Where's it at? If elements are offscreen, they're not discoverable.

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  64. Avoid concealed elements in general

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  68. Proper affordance → make the buttons and actions bigger, clickier,

    more obvious → clear labelling → combine icons with labels
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  70. What does this do?

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  72. Animations

  73. Animations in form elements = !

  74. Animations to describe spatial model = ❤

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  78. Consistency

  79. A consistent UI helps people learn and memorise

  80. Make it fun

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  82. Steal!

  83. Ok fine. Borrow. → Facebook → Whatsapp → Gmail

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  85. Process

  86. Adjust your design / dev processes to include in- person

    usability testing in these markets.
  87. Assemble a diverse team with local partners

  88. Keep calm and just shut up

  89. Give up control of the situation

  90. Document everything, and quickly

  91. To summarise...

  92. Be curious, have empathy.

  93. But do the research.

  94. African tech consumers are demanding and informed

  95. They want clear and reliable mobile solutions

  96. The same things matter

  97. Communication, connection, economic opportunity.

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  103. Strip everything back to the essentials

  104. Know your users

  105. Be Curious

  106. “The Next Billion” is the future of the internet

  107. Thank you ! @allyelle