11 August 2007

Nokia design director on emerging markets

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Antti Kujala, a design director at Nokia’s headquarters in Espoo, Finland, spearheaded Nokia’s strategy and design development. He spoke to Nandini Lakshman of Business Week in New Delhi about the nuances of designing for emerging markets and about future mobile design trends.

An excerpt:

What role does ethnography play in Nokia’s design strategy across a wide variety of global markets?

Our process starts with a team of anthropologists and psychologists working in our design group. They spend time with specific types of people around the world to understand how they behave and communicate. This helps us to understand better and to spot early signals of new patterns of behavior that could be harnessed into mobile communication. Our designers often go out into the field to understand the world they are designing for. All of these observations are brought into the design process to inspire and inform our ideas.

We have an advanced design team that is looking 5 to 15 years out, working on spotting and predicting megatrends in society and coming up with thought-provoking ideas on what mobile design could do to influence and react to these.

We also have a large research group within Nokia design. It looks at long-term, macro, and societal trends as well as more short-term trends around colors, fashions, and textures. We identify local, country-specific trends, but we also look across countries to identify similarities in lifestyles and global trends. In practice, this means localized colors, surface textures, and user-interface content such as wallpaper, services, or ring tones. In our emerging-markets research, a key finding was that everybody wanted a range of options.

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