In-depth video interview on emerging markets

We’ve been looking at the user experience challenges in emerging markets since the very first MEX conference back in 2005. With almost all new mobile subscriber growth now coming from developing economies, understanding the unique requirements of these markets has become one of the most significant challenges faced by the industry. This is one of our key focus areas at the 2008 MEX event in London on 27th – 28th May, featured on the agenda as Manifesto points #5: ‘The developing world is the new frontier for mobile user experience‘.

I sat down recently to explore this subject in detail with JD Moore, UI Designer at Nokia, who we introduced in last week’s ‘Meet the speaker‘ article. Moore will give a presentation at the conference to respond to this part of the MEX Manifesto.

You can watch our discussion below using LiveVideo (about 20 minutes).

JD Moore talks to Marek Pawlowski about mobile user experience in developing markets

Some of the key points which came out of the conversation were:

  • The importance of directly involving local populations in the development of mobile products and services.
  • Getting the basics right is absolutely crucial: fundamental issues remain unsolved, like access to power sources, the cost of mobile communications and offering products tailored to the local environment.
  • There is long-term potential for even the most early stage economies to produce talented engineers and designers who can eventually lead product development locally.
  • Global companies bring technology and scale advantages, but they must be sensitive to the local culture and invest in getting to know the reality of life in these markets.
  • The lessons learnt in developing countries often have cross-over relevance to mature mobile markets, where the same techniques can be used to solve different problems.

In addition to JD Moore, the MEX session on this topic will also feature a presentation by Paul Adams, User Experience Researcher at Google. After listening to their insights, we’ll be challenging the conference delegates to work together in small groups to look at user experience issues from a developing markets perspective and hosting an open debate where each group can share its ideas.

MEX 2008 is on 27th – 28th May in London. You can register on-line at (delegate passes are GBP 1499).

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  1. 1
    Marek Pawlowski

    Mobile devices could potentially connect billions of customers in emerging markets to a wealth of new information services and communications capabilities. What will their user experience look like? What happens once we’ve overcome fundamental issues like battery life and cultural localisation? How do we build services and applications that will bring real benefits to these customers? Post your comments below…

  2. 3
    Anuraj Gambhir

    It was fun hearing JD Moore on his findings in Africa, i can say S.E. Asia is not much different as certainly the emerging markets go thru a flattening world phenomena, all at various stages of evolution. I very much believe in the GLocal approach of thinking Global and acting Local.
    McDonalds and Nokia are both good examples of utilizing this.

    I hope to be able to make it for MEX and share some further thoughts, first hand from the hottest and fastest growing market on this planet – India where i am glad to have relocated to. With the buzz and exponential growth there is chaos and we strive to find the most compelling “Simplex solutions” and touch people’s lives with delightful user experiences.

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