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From Amy Humphries on Unsplash

Considering the accessibility of mobile phones, internet access and multilingual cultures in developing regions

The third and final installment of this series wraps up the full picture of designing international products and the considerations you, as the designer or client, should take into account. The first article reviewed the balance of Android and iOS operating systems, screen sizes as well as device storage size and cost. The second article builds on that foundation with looking at the cost of data around the world, privacy, and government censorship.

Now as a third chunk of information to build user empathy, I’ll break down how device usage changes around the world, and what that means within households…


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Kirkjufell

Land created and carved from wind, fire and ice.

It was day 10 of our 14 day vacation before I even realized that Iceland, the place we were currently in, was my 50th country. Whoops.

I’ve been traveling internationally since I was 18. My first country (because the Canadian side of Niagara Falls doesn’t count) was Ecuador on a 10 day spring break trip with a friend from college. It was my first real taste of what the world outside of the US was like and I was infatuated. Then study abroad came my final fall semester of college and I was in a new European place almost every…


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From Chuttersnap on Unsplash

Navigating the complex waters of data consumption, government policies and user privacy

2018 (and 2017, 2016, 2015, etc) has seen a sweep of privacy policy updates throughout Western countries. But part of designing globally means focusing not only on these policies, but also on on data usage and government censorship of digital products. Governments and companies handle not only your personal data, but your cellular data too, in very considered — and very unconsidered — ways.

If you’d like to take some steps back and get an understanding of the device landscape overall, you can check out the first article from July about devices and operating systems.

1. Not All Data Is Created Equal


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From Lena Bell on Unsplash

Choosing the right technology and international device for your user

As a designer who has spent a large portion of her career working mostly for American companies, I have, unsurprisingly, had a North American view of how products and services were used by users — also mostly American. But having recently spent 2 years working remotely and traveling, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering — what happens when you have to consider individuals who live overseas? Even more so, what if they’re your primary users? What happens when you have to consider digital product design for those that reside in China, but also watch as your product becomes popular…


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Somewhere over Chicago

One month of life back in the States.

One of the things that I never really saw about Remote Year, aside from a fair reflection of the pros and cons of an individual’s experience, was what life was like after those 12 months were up. Funnily enough, it never really occurred to me to wonder about that before joining the program. Only while in it did I really begin to care.

In all honesty, I’m not entirely sure how many “parts” these post-Remote Year entries will have. It could be 1, it could be 3, it could be 5. But I do know that I want to make…


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Ms. Minji during our final sunset on Easter Island.

Our grand finale.

Our final month, the month of May, brought my group to Santiago, Chile. It’s a city known for its earthquakes, being hugged by the Andes mountains to the east and of course for its wine. It was my first time to not only Santiago, but to the country itself. During any other month I would’ve explored so much, but as it turns out the city for month twelve of any RY group is pretty much just background noise. Santiago is lovely, but my head and heart have been preoccupied with so much else these last four weeks.

This transition back…


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Bridge in Paseo El Rosedal in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Six weeks of staying in one place.

This month has been pretty different from the last ten. If you read my last post, I’m pretty certain you’d understand why. After what happened in Brazil, my friend and I chose to leave that country and come to Argentina two weeks earlier than planned. So by the time I move to Chile next week, I’ll have been here for six weeks instead of the original four.

Our group has been living in the Palermo barrio of Buenos Aires, mostly split between Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Soho. My apartment is in the latter and the area feels quite a bit…


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The most difficult month. Full stop.

To be entirely honest, I’m not quite sure how to start this one. But I guess it should be by prefacing that I deviated from the rest of my group who went to Córdoba, Argentina from Peru. Instead I chose to spend March in Brazil; two weeks in Rio de Janeiro and two weeks in São Paulo. I’d be traveling with a previous Remote Year member and meeting up with her in Rio as she was flying from Colombia. Let’s name her Beth.

Perhaps the next thing that makes sense to say is that this post is being written the…


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A desert oasis in Peru named Huacachina, where sand boarding and dune buggies are an excellent thing.

The final leg on the final continent of my year abroad.

The month of February had our group based in Lima, Peru and gave us our continental transition from Asia. We’re all living in a district called Miraflores, which is big for the ex-pat, tourist, foreigner groups and has also gone through some serious growth in the last few decades.

Lima sits on the Peruvian coast and provides access to beaches and cliffs for the Pacific Ocean, but is also surrounded by desert and snowless mountains. It’s given us surfing each morning, workouts in parks, evenings in bars, clubs and raves, some of the best food in the world, the strongest…


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Milford Sound

Adventures around the South Island.

I’ve wanted to go to Australia and New Zealand for as long as I can remember. Before Remote Year even started, I planned to hit Australia for sure (life goals) but wasn’t sure just how much of New Zealand I’d be able to explore. Then in August, some friends and I made a plan to road trip the South Island of New Zealand for two weeks. I now had my answer.

After several months of planning, research, conversations and lots of excitement, we finally embarked on our road trip at the end of January. Beginning in Christchurch we picked up…

Cassie Matias

Digital product design consultant in NYC. Member of the Remote Year alumni crew. ±

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