Designing for Next Billion Users

Kumar Ahir
Sep 18 · 3 min read

Google Banglaore team organised a talk on what it takes to Design for the Next Billion Users. The talk was in two parts where Ayush Chauhan, Founder Quicksand and Asif Baki, Google Research team shared their experiences from a practitioner and an organisation perspective respectively.

Below are excerpts. Some of them are my own interpreter and my humble apologies if they got tweaked in presenting here.


Ayush Chauhan, Quicksand founder

Non tech experience have impact on the overall journey

  • Lack of system defined rules
  • Relation based negotiations
  • UX for NBU, there are technology created experiences. and non tech that needs attention

5 lessons in UX for emerging markets

  • UX for digital confidence. Help first time users who overcome their hesitance. Eg Amazon e-reader. Create meaningful on boarding journeys
  • UX for perception. UX for ppl to ppl vs ppl to system. Clarify the black box UX for new users. Eg NREGA last mile payment. Leaving room for human interaction
  • UX for productivity. Overcome infrastructure deficit. Eg digitise last mile supply chain. Extending the trade benefits by bringing the last mile activities in system. To get to scale design for offline to online
  • UX for participation. Create mechanism do that more ppl can participate in digital economy. Assisted models of service delivery
  • UX for communities. Allow communities to share and collaborate and learn from each other. Building communities of practice

Asif Baki, Google Research

Taking the Research insights and work on it in the company

Internet growth in India is at 70%

Internet users in India 650M in 2020

India is at 2nd highest user base

  • Build for India and scale globally. Check Files app
  • When building for NBU, realise if you are one among them
  • Don’t stop at being successful
  • Zoom out. Look for patterns ad themes. Make the problem bigger
  • Difference between pushing the content and UX for query building. Instead of giving upfront options help in how to build queries
  • Work with ppl who care for users and understand the users.
  • Build community and invest in research, team dynamics,academic institutions

It’s important to build relations with different stakeholders within the organization and outside and below is how you do it

  1. The revolution starts with you. Need to have personal conviction
  2. Seek out experts and work together
  3. Are you trusted? Building trust is a process.
  4. Celebrate success and failure.
  5. Marathon not a sprint. Changing culture is not easy. Give yourself space to learn and grow

Tools for research

  • Storytelling
  • Communication and conversation

There will be points were technology will have its limitations and researching on UX aspects at those points.


And we got some nice pin badges and warm snacks as part of the talk. Hope to attend more of these.

Kumar Ahir

Written by

successful exit in first startup oobi.in, AR VR enthusiast, ex CISCO, SYMANTEC, interaction designer, entrepreneur. More at www.kumarahir.com

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