Alongside all Google’s special projects, like self-driving cars and head-mounted computers, also lies one of its most important initiatives: the ‘Next Billion Users’ project, an effort to get more people online. Around 2.8 billion people of the roughly 7 billion people on the planet currently have access to the Internet. Not only will the rural regions of India, China, and Latin America be gradually connecting to the network, but so too the Russian hinterland. During her lecture, Google ‘Next Billion Users’ product designer Jess Myra will discuss how to stay ahead of the curve as the needs of the new billion users shape the growth of such new and existing global products as YouTube and GMail.
Emerging markets are varied but face universal challenges: low spec phones, connectivity, and localized content. Designing for the next billion users requires that creators reset their intuition, abandon the ‘hamburger menu’, carousels, and hover states, and begin to rely on the cultural considerations of new, non-technologically-savvy communities. Users in developing markets do not begin their acquaintance with the Internet through computers, as people used to do; often their first and only screen is a smartphone. Low tech literacy and tech familiarity mean perception is reality. This can easily be a limiting factor for experiences: new users will not search for hidden text by clicking or swipe photos horizontally; they may simply not know about these possibilities.
Jess Myra is a Product Designer designing for the next billion users at Google in San Francisco. Bringing a culturally empathetic perspective to the field of interaction design, Jess has lived and worked around the world and across languages in France, Japan, Sweden, and the Arctic. She believes the best experiences thrive in the space between insight and imagination.
The lecture is a part of the Digital August programme, curator of the programme is Liya Safina, the leading UX designer of New York agency Red Antler, a specialist in digital education, the co-author of the digital education manifesto, and one of the authors of the concept and methodology for the Vector online school for urban entrepreneurs.
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