May 28, 2007
Designing mobiles for the world
"Jan Chipchase tours the world looking at how people use mobile phones in their everyday lives and, more broadly, how people live. "This is my office, my workspace," he says, pointing to a map of the world.
In the last 12 months he has visited 15 countries, carrying out eight full-scale research projects.
Mr Chipchase's focus is on the uses to which people put their phones; where they keep them, how they answer them, and a million other details about our relationships with these devices that have helped shape our world
His research has included looking at home battery charging services in rural Uganda, street charging in Kampala, how illiterate people use a mobile and more recently where we keep our phones.
"I specialise in human behavioural research. It often starts with a very simple question like 'what do people carry?'. This is interesting to Nokia because we want to put things in people's pockets - something of value. If you can understand one element of that value then you can understand people's motivation."
But why would Nokia pay someone like Mr Chipchase to travel the world and to have all of those experiences? Where is the value in that?
"We do this research work to inform and inspire the design stage. To bring designers into the field so they know whom they are designing for. Often designers are designing phones for markets they have little experience of - so we want to bring the world to them and them to the world."
N>Mr Chipchase works three to 15 years ahead of the market. His team carries out research using a method called convergent validity - it is not quantative scientific work but qualitative.
"We deal with informed opinion. If we do our jobs exceptionally well, then it is very informed opinion."
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