Experientia concluded an extensive research project on mobile phone use in the African emerging market for Samsung.
The project covered both qualitative ethnographic research and initial design concept development, as well as foresight recommendations to influence the company’s medium-term strategy. These covered the important considerations and values in designing for the African market, as well as strategic challenges.
In addition to identifying main opportunity spaces for design and innovation, Experientia articulated a number of design ideas for mobile devices and services.
Samsung asked Experientia to conduct research in South Africa and Senegal, to assess socio-cultural trends and user requirements to inspire future design directions for mobile technology and Samsung’s mobile device strategy in developing markets. Experientia was asked to highlight emerging lifestyles, design directions and preferences, and the value these have in terms of mobile phones.
Experientia identified a number of key challenges faced by Samsung in entering developing markets, and devised a range of solutions to overcome these challenges in the short term, as well as more detailed mid- to long-term strategies to capture the potential of the African market.
Experientia sent a team of researchers to two African countries to carry out two weeks of ethnographic research and contextual observations in the field. In-depth interviews and extended observations were conducted with 18 people, who matched 6 identified profiles of interest. The research objectives were to understand local culture, understand mobile culture, observe user activities and situations, and help influence design strategy for mobile handsets.
We identified a number of lifestyle and communication trends that were particular to the countries studied, and analysed the ways in which the African market differs from a European market, and the ways the two countries differed from each other. Using this analysis, opportunity spaces for Samsung in developing markets were identified.
Based on the findings of the ethnographic research, Experientia developed a number of initial concepts for mobile phones that aimed to satisfy the unique needs of people living in Africa’s emerging markets. The concepts were visualised in series of scenarios of use, showing possible user experiences.
Experientia provided Samsung with an in-depth look at trends, needs and behaviours in Africa’s emerging markets, together with an analysis of the best short and long-term ways to approach these markets. Design concepts provided initial ideas for ways to tap into the opportunity areas identified.
Based on insights from Experientia’s ethnographic research, Samsung has recently created two new mobile phones for the African market with features that enhance personal and mobile security.