October 21, 2008 at 12:15 pm | Posted in design fun, interaction design | Leave a comment
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Recently i did a contextual inquiry in some rural areas of India, focusing on mobile phone usage of farmers, truck drivers and temp. help people like cook, carpenter etc.

Though not suppose to disclose everything, but sharing some interesting insights which i found during studies (specially in terms of phone book). Interesting different ways of saving contact numbers, different way of writing names, educational influence on writing name etc.

As above image, there are two different ways of saving contact numbers. Both of them are truck drivers. Both users do not save numbers by the name of a person, but uses truck number to save contact. In first image, it shows GJ.15.H.5573 and other image shows 2855 which is again a truck number. By looking at both numbers, first user looks more advanced, but the case is different here. The first user is illiterate and other people save his contact numbers which results in a sophisticated way of saving numbers, while other user saves contact numbers by himself.

Here, the first Image shows number saved as A7 (A=name of his girlfriend, 7=7). He is married person and to hide his girl friend from his wife, he writes her name as A7. He also uses A7 as a code, so if his girl friend calls him, girl friend will speak A7 and if reply comes as A7 then only conversation will start. In other image, user saves her first number as “A” as she calls someone when her mobile is in her pocket. There is no number in “A”, so she does not waste money and bother anyone by unnecessary call.

Here there is another interesting insight we got about using different language on the phone. Here, the user is illiterate and does not know to save contact number, so his friends and some educated people in his circle save contact numbers for him. The first number is of “Priya”, written in Hindi and another number is a combination of some weird combination of english letters which are “Wjlpga.di.nm.agp”. He does not know who’s number is this and also confirms that none other person has saved this number, but it is saved in his phonebook. According to him, it is saved by mistake, but stange thing is, the numbers are 10, which is exact. According to user, this is very uncomfortable when searching for some number, but does not know to delete. So, the question is, can not we make such system which recognizes that the number is saved by mistake, just a thought though !!

The above image is of a phonebook of one illiterate user, which shows all those numbers as saved numbers without any name. He does not know how it came in his phone book. He also didnt know that these numbers are in his phonebook, when i showed he recognized about it.

In addition to mobile phonebook, studies also included to looked into physical dairy/phonebook. This user uses a mobile phone since 10 years and lives in a small village of 2000 population. It is interesting to know that people use physical diary for several very interesting tasks. In above image, on the left page, user has written his relatives birth date as 10,12,62. Lets have a look further.

Here, user wanted to give importance to the “sureshbhai”, the number he has written. He wrote his name while he was on the phone, so wrote is horizontally and with sketch pen with big letters.

User is farmer, uses his dairy to make an estimate of mangoes he will grow the particular year (in tonnes). The number here shown (like 10,1,3,6 etc) shows the estimated tonnes of that particular brand of mango (estimated for one year)

Similar way, user made a new house few years back, he used his phone dairy to keep a record of “sand” he ordered to make his house.

User found full form of “friends” which he liked. He used the same dairy for noting down the full form. It is interesting to know that user has used the same dairy for several purpose. Interesting no??

Now it is no more illiterate or semi literate people. In the first image, user is graduate. She saves her number by putting “/” instead of using space between first and last name. She believes that the space in small screen phones are negligible, while using “/” increases the visibility between first and last name. Other image shows user using butterfly icon for one particular contact. Asking the reason, the insight came out is, he pleases other person by putting butterfly icon for that particular person.

Comments Please !!

strange way of writing contact numbers

August 19, 2008 at 12:46 pm | Posted in interaction design | 3 Comments
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I went home during “rakshabandan” in Anjar, Kutch, Gujarat. There I came across one interesting guy who had a very strange way of writing his contact numbers. I don’t know whether Nokia has come across these strange methods of writing contact numbers, but it is simply amazing. I think it’s a best example of “ how people find out convenient ways for themselves” Mobile phone owner is 7th fail.

1. Sorry for the unclear photographs. Above photograph shows the selected name as “AAA H.M.M”. H.M represents the name which is Hemant Mehta. Another “M” represents the city which is “Mundra” a small town in kutch, Gurjarat. Now the question comes is what is AAA. He has put AAA because he calls Hemant Mehta maximum number of times a day. So according to him, if he saves him like H.M.M then everytime if he wants to call him, he has to first type “H” in his phone book which is very long process for him. If you see the names after AAA.H.M.M then also there are names starting from AA. According to him, if I see the phone then I will not be able to understand any name written in his phonebook.

2. Here the title written is “M.ANLBE.S.M.207.3”. M stands for Mundra (small town of kutch), ANL=ANIL (name of the person), BE=BHAI, S=Sorathia (last name of the person), M=Mobile, 207.3= survey number of the land he owns. Mobile owner is a broker and he remembers lots of numbers through survey number.

3. Another interesting phone number. Here the tittle is “M.ASKBE.MASVR.MUR”. M=Mundra, ASK=ASHOK, BE=BHAI, MASVR= MAHESHWARI. last name and MUR=MAYUR. Here the number is not saved for Ashokbhai, but his son Mayur which he remembers as Ashokbhai’s son. If he wants to save the number for Ashokbhai, then he has written like “M.ASKBE.MASVR.M” here the last M stands for Mobile. (shown in the below image)

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