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Mobile for Development

By Julia Burchell

Meet the UX Champion: Gabriel White on the benefits of good user experience design

Gabriel White on the benefits of good user experience design

As we build to the announcement of the winners of the Design Challenge next Tuesday 26 February 2013 and in the next of a series of interviews with our selection panelists, Gabriel White, User Experience Designer, Small Surfaces, discusses the benefits of good user experience design.

1.       Why is user experience design so important?

User experience design helps ensure that your products and services meet the real needs of your users or customers, and do so in a way that is meaningful and useful. In practical terms, this means that your products and services are more fit for their purpose: they both make sense (are more usable) and solve people’s real problems (are more useful).

2.       What characterizes a successful design?

Design does not need to be completely novel to be successful (in fact, most great designs are not). Often what is most important is what is left out rather that what is left in; and to do this it’s vitally important to remain focused on solving a clearly defined problem, and resist the temptation of trying to be all things to all people. Good design is about doing a few things really well, not doing many things “just fine.”

3.      How can UX design improve women’s lives?

Women living in developing countries, like many groups, often face challenges in their everyday lives. Applying user experience methods to create relevant products for women living in developing countries is one more way that this group can be enabled to lead better lives.

4.       What is the role of research in UX design?

To design a great product or service you must understand who you’re designing for. Research is one of the best ways to help make sure you stay on track as you’re creating something new: from understanding the opportunity through to testing the final product, it’s always useful to get the perspective of the end users. It helps keep everyone on a project team focused and on-track.

5.       What are some examples of innovative UX design in emerging markets?

Nokia recently launched an accounting application for micro-businesses called myShop. It gives people who run very small businesses the ability to understand their business cash-flow, profits and make better stocking decisions, all in a way that’s appropriate for very small businesses. The application shows how applying some solid design thinking to a new problem space can make a real difference.

6.       Why should the mobile industry invest in women as customers?

Women living in developing countries represent a smaller proportion of mobile phone users than their male counterparts. Simply put, there’s more opportunity for market growth in the female segment. Serving women makes good business sense, and also represents a genuine opportunity to improve people’s lives.

7.       Why is the Design Challenge a worthwhile initiative?

The mWomen Design Challenge will hopefully both help create seeds for new ideas that will directly benefit women, but perhaps even more importantly it will remind the back-yard entrepreneurs through to large corporations that there’s a real commercial opportunity to be had in considering the needs of women living in developing countries.


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