8 January 2010

Experientia article on emerging markets research in Interfaces Magazine

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Interfaces
The latest issue of Interfaces Magazine, a quarterly magazine published by Interaction, the specialist HCI group of the British Computer Society (BCS), contains a lengthy article on an emerging market research project Experientia conducted for Vodafone Global. Many, many thanks to Anxo Cereijo-Roibas of Vodafone, and Erin O’Loughlin and Laura Polazzi of Experientia.

Engaging developing markets
Anxo Cereijo-Roibás, Mark Vanderbeeken, Neil Clavin & Jan-Christoph Zoels
Developing markets are one of the fastest growing areas of mobile phone use in the world. Pictures abound online of the intrigu- ing juxtaposition between traditional social practices and latest communications tech- nology – a hennaed Indian hand holding a mobile phone, an Egyptian man engaged in a lively cellular conversation standing near his camel. But in reality, these iconic scenes that say so much about the ubiquity of useful technology provide little information about the people behind the handset – who are they? What does having a phone mean for them? How does it change their daily life and how could we make it even more useful for them?

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Progress in the social mobile field will come only when we think more about best design practices rather than obsessing over details on the ground. Social mobile tools are those built specifically for use by organisations working for positive social and environmental change, often in the developing world. Over years of creating some of the most widely used mobile appli- cations in the public space, we’ve made a lot of mistakes, and we’ve learned a lot. We think that successful mobile projects – those aimed at developing countries in particular – have a better chance of suc- ceeding if these [ten] points are considered from the outset.

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Last month I changed my electricity and gas supplier.Working through a web-based sign up form, automated credit refer- ence checking, electronic billing via email, direct-debit banking, and the fact that the gas & electricity will continue to arrive through the same ‘pipes’, I suspect that
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