Cultural Differences

Can Design Change the World?

Tanneeru, M. (2009). “Can Design Change the World?” CNN online. Retrieved June 23, 2010. Summary: CNN talks to Warren Berger, who wrote the book “Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your Life and Maybe Even the World” about how greater communication through design can change the world. He shies away from speaking of this change in grandiose terms, seeking to differentiate his idea as one that stems from design’s problem-solving capabilities on a case-by-case basis. Berger asserts that design, at its core, is more than making products or spaces look good, but rather, it seeks to identify a problem or an unaddressed need and solve it through a trial-and-error process.  It involves studying people and the way that they live to pinpoint ways in which their lives could be made better.  This is done through much brainstorming, prototyping, and audience testing. The Internet has drastically changed the ways in which designers work, collaborate, and even identify themselves as designers.  Widespread access to information has meant that knowledge can be passed on from one person to another at a quicker rate—meaning that one person’s mistakes can be learned from and not repeated.  Social networking groups allow designers to connect to share…

Globalization and Cultural Errors

Jew's Ear Juice

There was a time when a product designed for a specific geopolitical region would have stayed there for the duration of its existence. With few exceptions, products didn’t travel the world to areas where they would be considered a fopaux. These products were cultural curiosities displayed by adventurous tourists for the pleasure and laughs of their friends and family. But things change. Product design and usability protocols now have to include culture experts. What works well in one place, for one group of users, at a particular time won’t do so under other circumstances.

Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global

Article: Tabuchi, H. (2009). “Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global” The New York Times Company. Retrieved 20 July, 2009. As the title suggests the article talks about how the Japanese-made cell phones have not made themselves into a global market. The article refers this to as Galapagos Syndrome, where the Japanese develop a product that evolves isolated from world markets. Despite the fact that Japan has been introducing new innovations almost every year since 1999, with new features such as email capabilities, camera phone, and digital TV, many of these innovations however turned out to be too advanced for most markets overseas. The second generation network standard introduced in the 90s was rejected everywhere else in the world and has contributed to the isolation from the global markets. In addition, many analyze that the issue is in the Japanese phone makers focusing more on hardware design rather than on software, and as a result, the development of handset models becomes time-consuming and expensive. The emphasis on hardware also makes the design to be more bulky and not something that is appealing to the overseas market. The introduction of the iPhone to the Japanese market has not yet proven to…

On “Who’s Driving Twitter’s Popularity? Not Teens”

Article | Miller, C. (2009). “Who’s Driving Twitter’s Popularity? Not Teens.” The New York Times. Retrieved 22 Octover, 2009. Summary | Traditional early-adopter models assume that the youth – teens, tweens, and children – are core to the success of new technologies. However, recent products (e.g., iPhone, GPS devices, Kindle) have proven this to be largely myth. The notable example chosen by Claire Cain Miller is the exponential growth of Twitter over the last couple years. While many factors have contributed to the success of twitter among adults, core among them are the nature of the different groups’ social structures/interactions, existing application ecosystem, and (not discussed) Twitter’s design. Whereas a child’s (and even young adults’) main interactions occur within their core social group, an adult’s interactions often include a much wider and more loosely defined sphere of individuals. Twitter, with its “one-to many network”, is much more suited to this collective experience. Additionally, the nature of their online social interactions is not dictated by “the music [they] listen to and the quizzes [they] take”, but participation in an ongoing social dialogue. Twitter’s ability to facilitate diverse conversation on many topics with an audience far beyond one’s social circle differentiates…