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Samsung Electronics

Designing phones for challenging contexts

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Designing phones for challenging contexts

Samsung Electronics

As an under-represented market player in Africa, Samsung tasked Experientia with the challenge of inspiring their medium-term strategy for developing mobile phones tailored to this region.

3 things to know

  1. Samsung wanted to understand socio-cultural trends and user requirements to develop a mobile device strategy for African markets.

  2. Our researchers spent two weeks in South Africa and Senegal conducting contextual interviews to understand local culture and observe mobile user activities.

  3. Based on our insights, Samsung created two new mobile phones for the African market with features that enhance personal and mobile security.

Samsung asked Experientia to conduct research in South Africa and Senegal, to assess socio-cultural trends and user requirements to inspire future design directions for mobile technology and Samsung’s mobile device strategy in developing markets.

We sent a team of researchers to South Africa and Senegal to carry out two weeks of ethnographic research and contextual observations in the field. In-depth interviews and extended observations were conducted with 18 people, who matched 6 identified profiles of interest. The research objectives were to understand local culture and mobile culture, observe user activities and situations, and help influence design strategy for mobile handsets.

We identified a number of lifestyle and communication trends that were particular to the countries studied, and analyzed the ways how the African market differs from a European market, and the ways the two countries differed from each other. Using this analysis, opportunity spaces for Samsung in developing markets were identified.

We also identified a number of key challenges faced by Samsung in entering developing markets, and devised a range of solutions to overcome these challenges in the short term, as well as more detailed mid- to long-term strategies to capture the potential of the African market.

Back at the office, we analyzed our research findings and devised a number of initial concepts for mobile phones that aimed to satisfy the unique needs of people living in Africa’s emerging markets. The concepts were visualized in series of scenarios of use, showing possible user experiences.

Based on insights from Experientia’s ethnographic research, Samsung created two new mobile phones for the African market with features that enhance personal and mobile security.

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