3 December 2007

The mobile web is NOT helping the developing world… and what we can do about it

Be the first to share

Africa phone
According to Niti Bhan, Nathan Eagle‘s post on the limitations of the current perception of the mobile internet experience for the developing world are “spot on and the most insightful I have come across to date”.

Here is a quote from his article on the Nokia Developer’s blog:

“I attend an increasing number of keynotes where CEOs and EVPs of both major mobile handset manufacturers and mobile operators trumpet their role in bringing the internet to the bottom of the pyramid in the developing world. It’s a total fallacy.

The phones that are designed and marketed for the ‘developing world’ today aren’t data enabled, they have no browser or any ability to function as a traditional data device. We’re dumping hundreds of millions of devices into these regions that are essentially crippled – and their legacy (the average life span of a phone in Africa is many times that of it’s Western counterpart) will affect mobile internet usage in these regions throughout the next decade. […]

This is not to say that these billions of mobile phones do not have the potential to access content from the web – rather, the traditional browser-based paradigm of internet usage does not cater to them. The idea that the mobile web consists exclusively of mobile devices running web-browsers identical to the web experience we are used to with IE/Firefox is simply wrong. Throwing more and more resources towards creating devices for the developing world that can emulate the PC browsing experience is misguided. The 2 billion phones being used in the developing world are really great at making and receiving voice calls and text messages: Why not shape the internet experience to meet the specs of every phone’s inherent functionality (voice!) rather than requiring devices to have specs that quite frankly aren’t going to be realistic for many years to come?”

Read full story

By the way, make sure to check out the website of EPROM:

EPROM (Entrepreneurial Programming and Research On Mobiles), part of the Program for Developmental Entrepreneurship within the MIT Design Laboratory, aims to foster mobile phone-related research and entrepreneurship. Today’s mobile phones are designed to meet Western needs. Subscribers in developing countries, however, now represent the majority of mobile phone users worldwide. We believe the adoption of new technologies and services within this vast, emerging market will drive innovation and help shape the future of the mobile phone.

Be the first to share
1 May 2016
Report: User Experience and Usability in Complex Systems
User Experience and Usability in Complex Systems Final Report 1/2015 FIMECC (Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster) November 2015, 225 pages Five years ago, some of Finland’s metals and engineering industry companies were looking for new ways to tackle …
8 April 2016
Markus Giesler on customer experience design
At Experientia, we live the mantra that experience design is always contextual experience design. Understanding and designing for people within a culture, a context and how people evolve and change within these, is at the …
2 April 2016
A selection of Interaction 16 videos
In this post we highlight a number of Interaction 16 conference videos especially relevant to the Putting People First readers. They are grouped thematically. Algorithm-inspired design Crowds, algorithms and computations: The new materials of design - Matthew …
1 April 2016
Five cognitive biases to avoid in user research
Fabio Pereira of Australia's Digital Transformation Office (DTO) explains why we need to be aware of our own biases and how they can affect user research (or "Discovery" as DTO's Lisa Reichelt calls this initial …
21 March 2016
Ford’s quest to remake itself into a master of UX
Ford, bastion of the old-school American economy, is now trying to recast itself as a company built around user experience. It’s finally trying to see its cars through the customer’s eyes. It's designing for them. Ford …
17 March 2016
Let’s See What We Can Do: Designing Agency
In a Medium essay that we missed during the Christmas break, Dr Dan Lockton asks how we can invert ‘design for behaviour change’ and apply it from below, enabling people to understand, act within, and …
8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution
One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both …
6 March 2016
[Book] Small Data
Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends Hardcover by Martin Lindstrom February 23, 2016 St. Martin's Press, 256 pages Martin Lindstrom, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, harnesses the power of “small data” in his quest to discover the …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

1 March 2016
Singapore’s main newspaper on Experientia’s design with the elderly

Arti Mulchand reports in the Straits Times, Singapore’s main newspaper, on Experientia’s “Design for Ageing Gracefully” project: Putting faces to end-users early in the design process is changing the way designers and organisations are approaching products aimed at Singapore’s growing elderly demographic. Experientia’s ethnographic study, which was commissioned by DesignSingapore Council in a collaboration with […]

18 January 2016
Experientia website completely reshaped

Experientia is pleased to announce that we’ve started 2016 with a brand new website. Experientia’s now officially 10 years old, and we decided that the best way to celebrate is by building a new website that showcases our growth – with new projects, new people in the staff, and two new locations in Lausanne and […]

1 January 2016
For when things get personal…
13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

See all articles