We can’t wait to welcome Rachel Simpson to the stage at Mobile UX London. In the run-up to the conference, we chatted with Rachel about her UX story, as well as what you can expect when you come to Mobile UX London.
Hi Rachel. Thanks for talking to us today. Can you start by introducing yourself and talking briefly about your experience in UX?
Rachel: Sure. I’m a Senior UX Designer and I’ve spent the last six years working on products at Google (Chrome, Search, and Duo).
A year ago, I moved from the Chrome team to Google Go, a Search and Internet app specifically focused on these users. This has allowed us to create a more tailored experience. It’s also been fascinating to switch from a very mature product (Chrome) to a startup within the company (Google Go). We use a rapid research process to innovate quickly and pass on our insights within the company.
A major focus of my work has been to bring our next billion users online, many of whom are coming from countries like India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, and Mexico.
That sounds really interesting. How do you see the future of UX playing out as a result of these changes?
Rachel: In 2016, India overtook the US in internet users. Globally, we’re seeing flattening growth in the number of internet users, but in the markets I mentioned, we’re seeing rapid growth.
What’s different about many of these users is that they’re mobile-first and mobile-only, meaning that they have come online without using a Desktop computer before. This means they tend to have different mental models for interacting with technology, compounded with the constraints of the local infrastructure. Cost, connectivity, relevance, and literacy are key themes.
In addition, different aesthetic preferences mean that products we see as beautifully minimal might be read as boring and empty. Without understanding the needs of these users, there is a very real risk that companies will miss the window to offer them services.
Simultaneously, we’re seeing a rise in products that harness AI to drive behaviour and content. When the data we build on is skewed (by country, for example, or by gender), then that affects the relevance of the products we create.
John Maeda made mention of this in his Design In Tech Report this year, saying “Computational Design makes big data. And that makes it need thick data to combat scaled biases.” I think this is something that companies who work at a global scale are just starting to come to grips with.
Thanks Rachel. As someone with so much expertise and knowledge about everything UX, what one piece of advice would you give to the UK community?
Rachel: The Design community has made excellent progress in the past decades, to play an integral role in strategy and product development. I’d like to see us continue pushing the bar of the practice, by deepening our user-centric practice.
What will be new is the stronger need to triangulate quantitative and qualitative data as AI plays an increasing role. I think building closer collaboration with Engineers around the ‘technical stuff’ will help us ensure that that progress isn’t lost during this change.
OK, finally, what’s the best thing about your job?
Rachel: I get to work with smart, humble people who are always willing to go the distance in the name of the best solution for our users.
We travel together to meet our users directly, to build a deep understanding of their needs and wants, and we integrate that understanding into what we make.
I’m really proud of the practice we’ve built. We’re very lucky to be able to push for this type of deeper understanding at a place like Google.
I’m also really looking forward to speaking at Mobile UX London 2019!
Thanks Rachel. We can’t wait to see you there!
So, make sure you don’t miss Rachel Simpson at the Mobile UX London 2019 Conference. Rachel will be on the Main Stage at 1430, with a talk titled ‘Designing for Google’s Next Billion Users: From Chrome to Google Go, the next internet app’.
Rachel will speak about designing for these users on Google Chrome. She’ll also tell the story of Google Go: a startup Internet App within the company, launched specifically for these markets.
She’ll discuss the unique constraints users in these markets face, sharing the compelling solutions they have catalysed within Chrome, Google Go and other startup products within the company.
Make sure you don’t miss it.