Adaptive Path have recently put up a project specific microsite sharing the results of their work on "Mobile Literacy:Designing Mobile Technology for Emerging Markets" including video interviews with specific users in rural western India. Also shared is their comprehensive framing of design principles for such a target audience, one that takes their contextual knowledge of communication technology, consumer electronics and literacy into account. Here's a noteworthy snippet,
Design for Cultural Relevance
Support existing needs, values, networks and experiences.
Cultivate Accurate Mental Models
Design interactions that do not rely on western conventions and metaphors. The system should rely on organization principles, communication methods and iconic representations that are relevant to local experience. Recognize the cultural norms of verbal communication and spatial memory.
Evolve a Known Technological Experience
Create a solution which builds on experience with culturally familiar objects: cars, radios, calculators, televisions and bicycles instead of computers, websites and video games. Explore direct feedback, single-button functions and mechanical clarity.
Emphasize Local Adoption Styles
Create technology and interfaces that can match how people live; India is not discreet or quiet so a solution should be vibrant and expressive of Indian society, culture, religion and way of life. It should also assume the mobile devices are shared and that conversations may involve many people speaking to many, rather than one to one conversations on a personal device.
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