AdaptivePath conducted a study around the mobile phone usage habits of rural India users and has some interesting findings to share:
- many non-literate research participants ignored the screen when using mobile phone.
- Rural users would leverage their spatial memory and gestures by memorizing patterns (i.e., pressing a button three times, remembering the patterns of numbers) or ask for assistance in dialing a number from a family member.
In short, most of the mobile devices sold in India were actually made for Urban/Western users and pose a usability challenge for rural users.
Typical rural users rhyme with devices that have strong physical interfaces (for instance, trucks, jeeps, motorcycles etc) and hence, Adaptivepath came up with a design that makes a mobile look ‘hacked’ (and not sleek)
AdaptivePath researcher suggests following features/functionalities that are most needed:
- Texting (using voice to text or with assistance)
- Camera* (desired)
- Battery Level
Each function maps to a single button and contains buttons like start/stop/scroll wheel (inspiration from radio) and this is how the phone looks like (they call it steampunk owing to it’s physical interface):
What’s your opinion on this approach? Share your thoughts.
Read AdaptivePath’s blog entry.
Also watch this video on Adaptivepath’s suggestion to help illiterate save contact information (QR codes).