Building a Better Web
June 11–12, 2018: Training
June 12–14, 2018: Tutorials & Conference
San Jose, CA

Field-tested interfaces for the next billion

Ally Long (Field Intelligence)
9:50am–10:30am Thursday, June 14, 2018
Performance and UX
Location: 210 C/G Level: Intermediate
Secondary topics:  Best practice, Web Pillars Track: Performance, Security, Accessibility

Who is this presentation for?

Designers, front-end devs, people interested in performance, or applications of technology outside of the agency/start-up bubble

Prerequisite knowledge

The talk is aimed at a broad cross-section of people in the tech industry – mainly designers and front-end developers. It doesn't assume any particular base knowledge outside of that; it's a broad overview of the techniques and patterns that have worked well in my work designing/building for emerging markets.

What you'll learn

Practically: - what kind of UI patterns and navigation conventions work with novice tech users - a run-down of what the context is like and the constraints of a resource-poor environment - an overview of the technical challenges people are likely to run across in building products for emerging markets Inspirationally: - how tech can be a factor in positive (systemic) change - career directions outside of the usual Silicon Valley options


In the tech industry, we’re constantly chasing innovation – the new and the shiny, the slickest UI, the latest framework, an immersive user experience. We’re understandably excited about the possibilities inherent in a world of powerful hand-held devices, super-fast connections, and a user base with the means and the know-how to buy into whatever next big thing we put out there.

But there exists another kind of digital landscape – places where conditions are imperfect, where networks are flawed, where technical literacy is low, where kilobytes are precious; a world where our carefully-crafted digital experiences stutter and crawl and obfuscate and perplex, and ultimately fail. There are billions of people around the world that now have access to connected smart phones, but many can afford only a few megabytes of data here and there, have low-cost, low-specced smartphones, unreliable electricity sources to charge them, and are learning to use digital interfaces for the first time in their lives.

So how can we make sure that keeping up with the cutting edge won’t exclude people in these fast-growing emerging economies? In this talk we’ll go through examples from working with novice tech users in West Africa and discover how they navigate and comprehend interfaces, input data, and understand screen flows. You’ll gain some insight into the context and the constraints, learn how certain UI patterns and conventions hinder or help, and leave with an understanding of how to include these millions of new users in your product thinking.

Photo of Ally Long

Ally Long

Field Intelligence

Ally is a design lead at Field Intelligence. She’s worked on a broad array of projects – from public health software for NGOs and non-profits, to shiny brand experiences at agencies like Edenspiekermann and A Color Bright. She’d like to live in a place where sunscreen is a necessity, but makes do in Berlin. She travels as much as humanly possible and spends a lot of her time working in West Africa.

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