Monday, December 19, 2005

Design challenges, phones and roads

A few days back, as I made my way home in the company cab, I was handed over a phone by the driver. He wanted me to change its ringtone. Now, the phone, a Nokia 6600, was a sleek new phone, unlike mine which was a purely "talk only" phone. I tried fiddling with it for a while and while some of the controls were counter intuitive, I finally figured it out. But I was unable to locate the ringtone he had saved; perhaps he had not managed to save it at all. Thing is, he could not read English very well, the only familiar language in the menu of the phone. Wish there were some regional variants on Nokia phones (I am not aware if they are) and on some high end phones, please. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the English literate populace that aspires for a high end phone. So, as a designer, if you had to design a phone for illiterate people, how would you do it?

Drive along the highway and you are sure to see signs that direct you. So, how does a driver from Haryana find directions in Karnataka? They usually know Hindi. How does a driver from Kerala find his way in Punjab? I am not sure. They probably ask their way around. So, if you were to design roads for India with its diverse population, how would you show directions?

Symbols? Pictures? Anything that, over time, can be universally recognised for what they stand!


Kaps said...

i think some phones come with a Hindi option

stina jonsson said...
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