Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Erica Naone

Why Mobile Devices Are Used Differently in Asia

IDEO’s Moggridge shows that design always comes down to human behavior.

  • September 23, 2009

I’ve often heard makers of mobile applications and devices at conferences in the United States talk about all that’s done in Asia, but efforts to port similar technologies to the States never seem to work. For example, Sky Dayton’s company, Helio, had a cool device and a partnership with powerful Asian operator Docomo, yet their technology could not take off.

In a talk today at EmTech@MIT 2009, Bill Moggridge, founder of IDEO, outlined some of the difficult considerations that go into designing for a connected world. As always, user behavior proves to be king. In Asia, he noted, many people have long commutes in situations where it would be rude to talk or make noise. The commutes, however, are perfect for fiddling with buttons and learning complex mobile apps. Moggridge attributes the popularity of certain types of text-heavy mobile apps to this ultimately behavioral condition.

In the United States, Moggridge sees nearly the opposite situation. People in the U.S. are likely to have long car commutes, where fiddling with buttons would be dangerous, but they can talk to their hearts’ content.

He concludes that developers who want to transfer technologies between cultures need to consider behavioral differences, and they need to be sure to test with users.

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look: exclusive early access to important stories, before they’re available to anyone else

    Insider Conversations: listen in on in-depth calls between our editors and today’s thought leaders

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.