counter

Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
Audience Business Culture Design Locations Media Methods Services Social Issues

Children


Disabled


Elderly


Gender


Teens


Advertising


Branding


Business


Innovation


Marketing


Mechatronics


Technology


Architecture


Art


Creativity


Culture


Identity


Mobility


Museum


Co-creation


Design


Experience design


Interaction design


Presence


Service design


Ubiquitous computing


Africa


Americas


Asia


Australia


Europe


Italy


Turin


Blogging


Book


Conference


Media


Mobile phone


Play


Virtual world


Ethnography


Foresight


Prototype


Scenarios


Usability


User experience


User research


Education


Financial services


Healthcare


Public services


Research


Tourism


Urban development


Communications


Digital divide


Emerging markets


Participation


Social change


Sustainability


Posts in category 'Asia'

7 June 2014

Sharing City Seoul: a model for the world

MayorParkEar

The Seoul city government has officially embraced the sharing economy by designating Seoul a Sharing City and is working in partnership with NGOs and private companies to make sharing an integral part of Seoul’s economy.

The city is now creating an official sharing ecosystem and, led by the Seoul Innovation Bureau within the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), they are seeing promising early results.

Using its IT and civic infrastructure, in addition to strong public-private partnerships, the Sharing City project is working to connect people to sharing services and each other, recover a sense of trust and community, reduce waste and over-consumption, and activate the local economy.

13 February 2014

Qualitative research in industry – videos from the Qualitative 360 Asia Pacific conference

qualitative360

Qualitative 360 Asia Pacific 2013 took place in Singapore in November 2013, and some videos are now available:

Winning with shoppers via qualitative research [23:57]
Michael Biscocho, Consumer and Market Knowledge Manager, Procter & Gamble
• Leveraging qualitative techniques to complement quantitative methods in consumer behavior
• Exploring FMCG consumer decision making through qualitative research engagement
• Harnessing different methodologies of qualitative research to gain better understanding of market trends
• Implementing qualitative methodologies as part of overall research to develop retail strategies

Taking qualitative research to the cloud [33:38]
Jasmeet Sethi, Regional Head of ConsumerLab, Ericsson
• Learning the art of how to transform qualitative research from a 12 year old kid.
• How could you build and run on-demand insight communities with zero investment?
• Case study from Ericsson on the first ever ‘Over the Top Qualitative Research’

Tapping into the informal economy to create new opportunities for innovation. A case study in recycling and push cart aunties [24:45]
Juliana Koh, Director, Consumer Faces
Manisha Dikshit, Managing Director, Consumer Faces
• Informal economy is a large contributor to the global economy and presents several opportunities/learning for the commercial world
• This paper presents a case study to understand the role of informal economy and how it can be applied in commercial businesses
• The paper further provides pointers on how the corporate/formal world can implement this

Achieving maximum insights from challenging consumers using ethnography for product development in China and Vietnam [27:38]
Christelle Michon, APAC Sensory and Consumer Insights Manager, Symrise
• Understanding the culinary habits of low income consumers in Vietnam through ethnography
• Observing the fun and excitement of kids related to foods in China
• Benefits and challenges of using ethnography: what were the lessons learned?
• How actionable insight were achieved and used for new product development in Symrise

Exploring the meaning of digital: a case of ethnographic research on mobile life in Singapore [26:33]
Masao Kakihara, Senior Research Manager, Google
• How Google does research globally and locally
• Making sense of the meaning of digital life in Asia
• Methodological challenges in the age of big data

Great Wall, Great Reward: finding design-actionable insights for medical devices in China [28:43]
Tico Blumenthal, Global Customer Insights Manager, Medtronic
• Learn how qualitative research is used to drive applied medical device innovations
• Hear a thought-leader introduce examples of how medical devices can be optimized for Chinese customers
• Understand the designer’s viewpoint when filtering observational data
• Hear about some of the unique challenges doing qual. in China
• Tips and tricks for getting better insights

Performance discovery project: emerging market update [25:31]
Ajay Mohan, Director of Partner & Web Marketing APAC, Intel
• Understanding what “performance” means to customers and how they respond to advertising and branding
• Using visualisation techniques to gain unarticulated emotional drivers and emotions behind “performance”
• Employing trained professionals to conduct “therapy” interviews across US, Brazil, China, Germany and India
• Discussing the outcome of the research: What have we learned and how new insights help answer business questions

Digital Qualitative: from add-on to core research [29:25]
Nehal Medh, Managing Director, Consumer Experiences, GfK
• Can online qual methods replace offline qual?
• What advantages do they offer?
• What are the pitfalls we should be aware of
• What are the best ways to engage and motivate the participants in an online qual research?
• Within online what potential does mobile qual research have?
• Going beyond the obvious online tools such as bulletin board, focus group?

Consumer understanding through unarticulated responses and points of expression [26:48]
Marilyne Chew, Head of Qualitative, Nielsen
• Understand how Neuroscience insights are working to make a discussion flow sharper and more precise
• Identifying ways Neuroscience and Qualitative works best together
• Overcoming the challenges of combining the two methodologies in a research study

11 February 2014

Tricia Wang’s PhD dissertation — Talking to Strangers: Chinese Youth and Social Media

twang_photo_BW

Talking to Strangers: Chinese Youth and Social Media
by Tricia Wang
Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology, University of California, San Diego, 2013
Professor Richard Madsen, Chair

Abstract

The sudden availability of social media and open-market capitalism is creating new spaces in China that are shifting norms and behaviors in unexpected ways. This research investigates and explains the phenomena of semi-anonymous interactions among Chinese youth in online communities by introducing a sociological framework called the Elastic Self, which is characterized by the feeling that one’s identity is malleable and involves the trying on of different identities that are beyond the realm of what would be considered normal displays of one’s prescribed self. In informal online spaces, Chinese youth have achieved greater freedom to express heterodox identities without shame or anxiety by forging social bonds with strangers and maintaining distance from people they know, who might seek to enforce conformity to a single identity prescribed by traditional social and political norms.

Through these informal interactions online, Chinese youth are laying the groundwork for a public sphere with social ties based more on friendship than on blood ties or guanxi; on trust, rather than fear; and on self-expression, rather than self-restraint. These changes have potentially transformative power for Chinese society as a whole by altering the way that people perceive and engage with each other on personal and social levels. Under semi-anonymous conditions, Chinese youth are able to overcome the low levels of trust that characterize authoritarian societies and adopt broader forms of social trust that characterize more participatory societies. This increased trust enables youth to enter what I call the Participatory Phase, which is defined by engagement in citizenship practices that expand the public sphere through online debate that can precipitate offline civic participation. To get to that stage, youth must first pass through two critical phases—Exploratory and Trusting—during which they learn how to share information with and socialize with strangers in a low-risk context.

My research reveals that by creating an Elastic Self, Chinese youth find ways to connect to each other and to establish a web of casual trust that extends beyond particularistic guanxi ties and authoritarian institutions. To be clear, this new form of sociality gives youth a way to navigate Chinese society, not to disconnect from or to rebel against it. In doing so, youth are building the infrastructure of a civil society by establishing relationships in which they start out as strangers, thereby bypassing potentially restrictive social labels and structures that could otherwise prevent connection. Through semi-anonymous informal interactions, Chinese youth are primarily seeking to discover their own social world and to create emotional connections—not grand political change. Rather than attempting to revolutionize politics, Chinese youth are using these new forms of social engagement to revolutionize their relationships with themselves and each other.

Even though Chinese youth do not feel that internet censorship is a hindrance in their everyday lives, real name identification policies that limit communication to formal interactions threatens the viability of crucial informal online spaces where Chinese youth have been able to freely explore their identities. The future of the Chinese internet and Chinese society at large rests in this very tension that Chinese youth are negotiating between finding informal spaces where they can present an Elastic Self and formal spaces where they feel compelled to present a prescribed identity. The social and emotional changes catalyzed by the Elastic Self can only persist if the circumstances that allow them to flourish remain unencumbered.

> Download full dissertation
> Tricia’s thank you

Tricia Wang describes herself as a “tech ethnographer“.

Note that Tricia will be giving a talk at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University on Tuesday, February 18 12:30pm EST. It will be live-streamed for those who can’t come and forever archived.

19 November 2013

Bringing sharing to Korea

aside-logo

Richard Heinberg, author of The End of Growth, gave the keynote address at the ‘Seoul Youth Hub Conference 2013, Reshaping the Way We Live’, held in Seoul, Korea from 6 to 8 November 2013.

The conference was co-hosted with 8 youth-led organizations working for transforming our lives into more sustainable way in various sectors.

The Seoul Youth Hub is a project of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and its mandate is to help young people “design a future society” by providing a place where they can share and resolve their problems, experiment with a sharing economy, and “discuss specific policies regarding various agendas such as work-labor, housing, life safety net, business creation, youth politics,” and more. The Hub is also intended as a model and a networking center for similar projects throughout Asia.

Richard was quite impressed about it all, and wrote a report on his experience on Shareable.

Very funny was his meeting with the Mayor of Seoul:

“On the evening of the first day of the conference I met Mayor Park at his offices in City Hall, a twisty new steel-and-glass structure whose ground floor is devoted to citizen-led social innovation projects.

Copies of The End of Growth were on the mayor’s meeting room table. Using an interpreter, we got right to it: He had clearly read the book and asked intelligent questions about it. What would I recommend that he and the City of Seoul do to prepare for the end of economic growth? It was a stunning question, given the circumstances, and he appeared eager to consider whatever suggestions I might offer. I started rattling off a laundry list of ideas — supporting farmers’ markets, community gardens, and other staples of a local food system; discouraging cars while encouraging bicycling and public transport; raising energy building standards to the Passive House level; staging more cultural events to increase the happiness quotient among citizens. When I finished, he recited examples of how he and the city have already begun doing nearly every one of these things. He was saying, in effect, “Check, check, check. Come on, what else have you got? Please tell me, and I’ll see if we can do it!” I suggested he find a way for the city to help bring Transition to Seoul. (There are currently two official Transition Initiatives in Japan, none in Korea.) He promised to do just that.”

12 September 2013

Experientia workshop on strategic UX design for Taiwanese businesses

taipei

Taiwan meets Italy this week, in a series of workshops and company visits hosted by Experientia for Taiwanese business people.

The 15 participants are from a diverse range of roles, from secretary to CEO, and a wide range of industries, including IT, appliances, car accessories, B2B suppliers (sugar, saw blades, electronic components), a dental clinic and a law office. Their visit is a part of a China Productivity Centre (CPC) initiative to introduce Taiwan to the Italian business world, from a user experience perspective.

Experientia, in collaboration with Taiwan-based partner ScenarioLab, has prepared and organised a programme of workshops and company visits that will conclude on Friday 13th, focused on User Experience (UX) design for high-end lifestyles and for sustainability. Experientia has created the majority of the workshops and activities, which are designed to offer the participants both theoretical and practical knowledge of UX design.

In their time in Italy this week, the participants have attended workshops on the main principles and practices of strategic UX design, with successful case study examples. Hands-on sessions have focused on learning, applying and implementing UX methodologies. Other sessions focused on measuring the business impact of UX design, and differentiating company offerings.

The visit to Italy has also focused on introducing and promoting Italian businesses, thanks to meet and greet opportunities provided by the Piemonte Agency for Investments, Export and Tourism. The visitors have had the opportunity to visit some of Piemonte’s most successful businesses, with tours of Gessi, Officine Arduino, Italdesign Giugiaro, Eataly, Maserati, and BasicNet.

On Friday, the visit will conclude with a lecture on “Sustainability as a Strategic Vision” at the Polytechnic of Milan, and a final opportunity for the participants to share their insights and experiences from the week with the group.

Experientia looks forward to continuing its collaboration with ScenarioLab, CPC and the Taiwanese companies that are participating in this trip, and supports the City of Taipei in its ambitions to become World Design Capital in 2016.

20 August 2013

Exploring customer centricity in financial inclusion

1016739_10151517130198231_1065483935_n

CGAP (a World Bank affiliated but independent policy and research center dedicated to advancing financial access for the world’s poor) has partnered with Janalakshmi Financial Services, one of India’s largest urban microfinance institutions to implement customer centricity in providing financial services to the urban poor. As a first step, the team commissioned Innovation Labs (consulting division of IMRB International, India) to build innovation capability within Janalakshmi and use new approaches to understand customers.

A Facebook journal follows the project over the next several months as it goes through the different phases of understanding customers, designing effective delivery and making the economics work. Here are the three initial posts:

Entry 1 – Creating a Customer-Centric Culture
The project with Janalakshmi Financial Services kicked off in Bangalore on July 1, 2013 with a workshop ‘Customer Centric Innovation’ conducted by Innovation Labs team for over 20 stakeholders at Janalakshmi from various functions including product marketing, strategy, IT and service centers.

Entry 2 – The Inside-Out View: How does a provider think about its clients?
A deep dive into Janalakshmi’s perspective on the customer and how this understanding affects their financial services offering.

Entry 3 – Ground Reality: Finance Management Skills of the Financially Underserved
The project team visited six households in Bangalore to gain a nuanced understanding of the lives of current and prospective customers. The purpose was to see how the customer-view of financial services matches up with that of Janalakshmi’s.

6 July 2013

Seoul, the Sharing City

seoulsharing

On 20 September 2012, the Seoul Metropolitan Government disclosed its plan for promoting the “Sharing City, Seoul” project, which includes 20 sharing programs and policies for generating or diffusing “sharing city” infrastructure after declaring the “Seoul as a Sharing City” vision.

The Metropolitan Government regards “sharing city” as a new alternative for social reform that can resolve many economic, social, and environmental issues of the city simultaneously by creating new business opportunities, recovering trust-based relationships, and minimizing wastage of resources.

In particular, the city plans to deploy secondary sharing infrastructure from now on to enhance the usefulness of idle resources such as space, objects, and talents since its urban policies have concentrated on constructing primary sharing infrastructure to date, such as roads, parking lots, schools, and libraries. Parallel to the above, the Metropolitan Government plans to implement policies of opening public resources to the citizens by having the public sector take the initiative while focusing on the implementation of policies that respect and promote private sector capabilities.

18 May 2013

Chatting in code on walkie-talkies in Pakistan’s tribal areas

Pakistan FATA banner

Reboot principal Panthea Lee discusses on The Atlantic how people communicate in one of the most dangerous places on earth.

“Barbers, for example, are seen as well-informed about local news because they converse with a wide range of people daily. Despite the mobility constraints in many parts of the region, all men — rich and poor, educated and uneducated — still go to the barbershop. Sultan, a barber in Khyber, thinks of himself as “a computer where people feed and receive information.”

Similarly, diaspora populations are increasingly important providers of information to FATA’s residents. Living outside of the region, migrants often learn about local events before their families and call home when they do.”

10 February 2013

Interview with Michael Griffiths, Director of Ethnographic Research, Ogilvy & Mather China

griffiths-book

Michael B Griffiths is Director of Ethnography at Ogilvy & Mather, Greater China, Associate Research Fellow, White Rose East Asia Centre, and External Research Associate, Centre for International Business, University of Leeds, UK. He is also the author of the recent book Consumers and Individuals in China: Standing Out, Fitting In.

Book abstract:

Breaking new ground in the study of Chinese urban society, this book applies critical discourse analysis to ethnographic data gathered in Anshan, a third-tier city and market in northeast China. The book confronts the – still widespread – notion that Chinese consumers are not “real” individuals, and in doing so represents an ambitious attempt to give a new twist to the structure versus agency debates in social theory. To this end, Michael B. Griffiths shows how claims to virtues such as authenticity, knowledge, civility, sociable character, moral proprietary and self-cultivation emerge from and give shape to social interaction. Data material for this path-breaking analysis is drawn from informants as diverse as consumerist youths, dissident intellectuals, enterprising farmers, retired Party cadres, the rural migrant staff of an inner-city restaurant, the urban families dependent on a machine-repair workshop, and a range of white-collar professionals.

Consumers and Individuals in China: Standing out, fitting in, will appeal to sociologists, anthropologists, and cultural studies scholars, China Studies generalists, and professionals working at the intersection of culture and business in China. The vivid descriptions of living and doing fieldwork in China also mean that those travelling there will find the book stimulating and useful

Shanghaiist interviewed Michael Griffiths (part one | part two) about his book and insights:

Chinese people – and this is what my research seeks to show – like people everywhere, take up positions in relation to dominant cultural narratives or discourses.

This doesn’t mean that all those things about Confucianism (for example) are not true or relevant, it just means that – in terms of what individual people do on the ground in an everyday way – it’s intensely more complicated than that.
So that’s the sort of broader background to my book. The real value of the research is the way I set out to show that. It’s a systematic analysis; basically its structural anthropology though in a postmodern way. It’s about looking at the different ways that people position themselves through their speaking and acting, and disaggregating that into, let’s say, the most reducible … I’m tempted to say elements but that’s not right… discourses. Discourses are simply systems of meaning that have a certain internal integrity whilst also being connected to everything else.”

The first part of the interview is more general, while the second part strongly focused on cultural context of the advertising industry in China.

9 January 2013

Ethnographic research on vehicular design in China

img_2597

Zach Hyman is based in Chongqing, China on a year long ethnographic dive into creative practices of vehicular design among resource-constrained users. After four months in the field, Zach shares with Ethnography Matters his first field update.

His observations on low-tech vehicles are incredibly relevant for the current global shifts in automative production. China is now the largest car market. But many Western companies are discovering that simply transferring a car designed for Western users does not appeal to Asian users. Point in case GM’s Cadillac, a car built for American consumers fails to connect to Chinese consumers. It’s no surprise to an audience of ethnographers that cultural values inform design decisions, but companies like GM are having to learn the hard way.

A deep understanding of workers’ current vehicle practices reveals new opportunities to develop vehicles that challenge the current domination of resource-intensive cars. One entrepreneur, Joel Jackson, created Mobius One in Kenya with local welders to overcome transport challenges. The result? A $6,000 low-tech car made for Africa. Like Joel, Zach’s research contributes to a growing group of designers and entrepreneurs who will create a new class of vehicles.

13 December 2012

The man looking to turn Samsung into a Silicon Valley trendsetter

samsung.qax299

Samsung is doubling down on technology investments in Apple’s backyard, including two new R&D buildings in Silicon Valley that will house 2,000 staff and a recently announced startup accelerator.

Leading this effort is Young Sohn, who started at Samsung in August as president and chief strategy officer. He has spent a long career leading several successful Silicon Valley semiconductor and storage companies after founding Intel’s PC chipset business and running its joint venture with Samsung in the 1980s.

MIT Technology Review business editor Jessica Leber sat down with Sohn in his office in Menlo Park, California, to talk about his new mandate, why he still uses Apple devices at home, and what his company needs to do to stay ahead.

“I think we have probably the largest platform in the world between the devices and displays and televisions we sell. We actually provide more devices that are interacting with consumers than anyone in the world. But if you think about our experiences, it’s device-centric. It’s experienced by itself. It’s not experienced in a connected way. So we think we can provide a lot more things than what we are doing today with an open ecosystem with our partners.”

12 July 2012

Field notes from global tech ethnographer Tricia Wang

tricia_wang

A sociologist, ethnographer, and corporate consultant who studies global technology use among migrants, low-income people, youth, and others on society’s fringes, Wang has worked for the past several years in China. Since 2005, she’s crisscrossed the country–often riding the rails–observing the impact of digital technology on the lives of rural workers migrating into the cities, and more recently, documenting the wildfire spread of new social-media platforms like Weibo and Renren. Recharging at her home base in Brooklyn after a year away, Wang spoke with Fast Company about her field of digital ethnography, the benefits of working outside of big institutions, and what U.S. tech entrepreneurs can learn from their peers in China.

(Make sure to check the slide show too)

6 July 2012

Digital devices as embodied experiences in remote Indian village

nishant.5.600

In arguing that digital technologies enable embodied experiences that reshape the very ways in which we conceptualize our everyday life, Nishant Shah, founder and Director of Research for the Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society, tells us a story from the village of Banni in the desert region of Kutch, located at the North-Western borders of India and Pakistan.

“In this small village that is about 80 kilometers from the biggest town with amenities like hospitals and schools, almost every household has a smart phone with access to the internet. In the absence of more popular forms like radio, which are disallowed because of the proximity to the turbulent India-Pakistan borders, the Chinese-made smart phones become the de facto interface of communication and cultural production. The phones become not only the life-line in times of crises, but also everyday objects through which the villages stay connected with the world of cultural production and entertainment. The internet services on the phones allow them to access Bollywood songs and movies, images and games, popular television programming and other popular cultural products in the country. In many ways, Banni is probably more digitally connected than many parts of the larger cities in the country.”

Read article

18 April 2012

Tricia Wang on the geography of trust in social networks (video)

triciawang

Tricia Wang is a cultural sociologist interested in understanding how people use digital tools in their day to day lives.

In her talk at the Lift 12 conference, she focuses on a story you may have heard of, concerning a student who ended up making international headlines for throwing shoes at the architect of China’s internet censorship infrastructure and then become the hero for information freedom worldwide.

Tricia tells us what happened to the student and how the outcomes were dependent on a variety of factors that tells us a lot about how we socialize and build trust online.

Watch video

4 April 2012

Book: Cross-Cultural Technology Design

Screen Shot 2012-04-04 at 14.54.45

Cross-Cultural Technology Design
Creating Culture-Sensitive Technology for Local Users
by Huatong Sun
Hardback, 352 pages
Oxford University Press – Feb 2012
[Amazon link]

The demand and opportunity for cross-cultural technology design is rapidly rising due to globalization. However, all too often resulting technologies are technically usable, yet cannot be immediately put to meaningful use by users in their local, concrete contexts. Support for concrete user activities is frequently missing in design, as support for decontextualized actions is typically the focus of design. Sun examines this disconnect between action and meaning in cross-cultural technology design and presents an innovative framework, Culturally Localized User Experience (CLUE), to tackle this problem. Incorporating key concepts and methods from activity theory, British cultural studies, and rhetorical genre theory, the CLUE approach integrates action and meaning through a dialogical, cyclical design process to design technology that engages local users within culturally meaningful social practices.

Illustrated with five in-depth case studies of mobile text messaging use by college students and young professionals in American and Chinese contexts spanning years, Sun demonstrates that a technology created for culturally localized user experience mediates both instrumental practices and social meanings. She calls for a change in cross-cultural design practices from simply applying cultural conventions in design to engaging with social affordances based on a rich understanding of meaningful contextualized activity. Meanwhile, the vivid user stories at sites of technology-in-use show the power of “user localization” in connecting design and use, which Sun believes is essential for the success of an emerging technology like mobile messaging in an era of participatory culture.

This book will be of interest to researchers, students, practitioners, and anyone who wants to create culture-sensitive technology in this increasingly globalized world that requires advanced strategies and techniques for culturally localized, participatory design.

17 March 2012

Meet the 2020 Chinese consumer

chinese-consumers-2020

By 2020, Chinese consumers will join the ranks of the world’s choosiest and most sophisticated consumers. In the March 2012 report “Meet the 2020 Chinese Consumer” Yuval Atsmon, Max Magni, Lihua Li and Wenkan Liao of McKinsey China contemplate the profile of the Chinese consumer in 2020.

“Most large, consumer-facing companies have long realized that they will need China’s growth to power their own in the next decade. But to keep pace, they will also need to understand the economic, societal, and demographic changes that are shaping consumers’ profiles and the way they spend. This is no easy task, not only because of the fast pace of growth and subsequent changes being wrought on the Chinese way of life, but also because there are vast economic and demographic differences across China. These are set to become more marked, with significant implications for companies that fail to grasp them. In the next decade, we believe yawning gaps could open up between companies that have similar sales turnover today but display different levels of focus on the best growth opportunities for the future.

Since 2005, McKinsey has conducted annual consumer surveys in China, interviewing in total more than 60,000 people in over 60 cities. The surveys have tracked the growth of incomes, shifting spending patterns, rising expectations sometimes in line with the respondents’ western counterparts and sometimes not—and the development of many different consumer segments. Those surveys now provide insights to help us focus on the future. We cannot, of course, predict it with certainty. And external shocks might confound any forecast. But our understanding of consumer trends to date, coupled with our analysis of the economic and demographic factors that will further shape these trends in the next decade, serve as a useful lens through which to contemplate 2020. We do not claim to paint a complete picture of the 2020 consumer. Rather, this report points to those traits likely to influence the way companies ride the next wave of growth in China’s consumer market.

Article with key data (McKinsey Quarterly)
Full report

17 March 2012

“Doing the Internet” – BoP research with youngsters in India

 

Anthropology, Development and ICTs: Slums, Youth and the Mobile Internet in Urban India” is the title of a research paper by Nimmi Rangaswamy and Edward Cutrell of Microsoft Research India.

Abstract

In this paper we present results from an anthropological study of everyday mobile internet adoption among teenagers in a lowincome urban setting. We attempt to use this study to explore how information about everyday ICT use may be relevant for development research even if it is largely dominated by entertainment uses.

To understand how ICT tools are used, we need to study the spaces users inhabit, even if these spaces are dominated by mundane, non-instrumental and entertainment driven needs. The key here is for ICTD discourse to situate insights from anthropological studies (such as this one) within an understanding of what drives a specific user population to adopt technologies in particular ways. Clearly there is a link between context and use, and understanding this may be invaluable for development research. Adopting a narrow development lens of technology use may miss the actual engagements and ingenious strategies marginal populations use to instate technologies into their everyday.

Download paper
Key findings (synthesis by MobileActive)

10 March 2012

Striving and Surviving: exploring the lives of women at the Base of the Pyramid

6690892257_dc2b5d7f29

On International Women’s Day, the GSMA mWomen Programme released a study called “Striving and Surviving – Exploring the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid,” reports MobileActive.org.

Drawn from 2,500 interviews with women (aged 16-64 in both rural and urban areas) living on less that $2 a day in Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea, and Uganda, the report looks at how mobile technology influences the way women approach health, economic development, and family relationships, and what mobile operators can do to reach more low-income women.

The report is divided into three parts; part one looks at the social, cultural, and economic factors that women at the base of the economic pyramid face in their daily lives, part two looks at the role of mobile technology in their lives, and part three looks at how technology can be used to further reach low-income women.

Some of the statistics pulled from the report show that when asked what the key benefits of mobile would be: [quoted from report]

  • 80% reported being connected to friends and family
  • 58% said it would be useful in an emergency
  • 40% said it would cut down on travel time
  • 15% believed it would help them feel secure
  • 93% reported that mobile phones made them feel safer, while the same proportion particularly valued being connected to friends and family.
  • 41% reported that owning a mobile had helped them increase their income or their professional prospects
  • 85% of mobile owners reported a greater feeling of independence

The study found that despite general positive feelings toward mobile technology, there are many challenges to getting mobile technology into the hands of low-income women. Gender imbalances were a major issue, as although some women had access to mobile phones through friends or family, few owned their own mobile phone. Another major issue was technical ability, as “while 77% of BoP women have made a mobile phone call, only 37% have sent an SMS, regardless of literacy levels.” Among women who were surveyed, 22% who reported not wanting a mobile phone said their reason was because they would not know how to use it.

Other concerns women listed for using mobile phones were a lack of regular access to electricity to keep the phone charged, concerns about theft, and concerns about ownership and usage costs. Furthermore, family pressure was a large influence on women’s view of technology as the report states: “In addition to doubts about the cost/benefit analysis of mobile ownership, 64% of married women who do not wish to own handsets cited the disapproval of their husbands as a principle reason for not wanting to own a phone.”

“Striving and Surviving” also examines how mobile operators can increase their outreach to women at the base of the pyramid by addressing women’s concerns. By developing family plans and reaching out to male and female customers by highlighting security and family connectivity available through mobile technology, mobile operators can broaden their customer base while getting technology into the hands of women who need it.

An interesting aspect of the report is the Portraits series, a fictionalized account of eight women from the base of the pyramid who use mobile technology and explain how that technology fits into their everyday lives. The stories are interspersed throughout the final report, but are also collected in a separate paper called “Portraits: A Glimpse into the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid.”

Although the accounts are fictionalized, they are drawn from the research that went into creating “Striving and Surviving – Exploring the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid.” The reports look at the lives of everyday women and how they use and view mobile technology.

Because the data for the report is drawn from only four countries, the GSMA mWomen Programme has made all of the research tools used to create this report publicly available at www.mwomen.org to inspire further research.

Executive summary
Report download
Portrait series
Research tools

2 March 2012

The landscape of UX design in Asia

uxhk

Daniel Szuc and Josephine Wong describe the current state of UX design in Asia:

“As businesses in Asia in various domains look to how they can mature, differentiate and compete globally in their respective products and services, User Experience (UX) is gaining significant momentum. Management are curious as to what UX means and how it can be applied to not just improve experiences but towards real customer delight. They are looking for people and professional communities to help them understand.”

Read article

16 February 2012

‘Right to be forgotten’ matters in Internet Age

120215_p02_right1

Increasing privacy infringement on the Internet has set off a campaign to uphold the “right to be forgotten,” which allows users to demand information about them be deleted by social networking websites. Si-Soo Park provides an Asian angle on the matter in the Korea Times, particularly looking at how upcoming EU regulation could have an impact on Korean legislative thinking as well.

“Many celebrities here [i.e. in South Korea] are haunted by articles and photos they posted on social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Some carelessly-written comments during wayward teenage years are reproduced and stir controversy, causing irrevocable damage to their hard-won reputations. Old photos unintentionally divulge their untold story of having perfect looks thanks to surgical help.

An increasing number of ordinary people have also been badly affected by the endless lifespan of online data.

But existing regulations give website operators the exclusive right to delete or modify reproduced content, leaving their customers helpless when it comes to self-control of their own privacy online.

This shortcoming has galvanized people to recognize the significance of the “right to be forgotten” in the Internet age. Promotional campaigns for the unheard-of rights are increasingly gaining momentum worldwide.”

Read article