February 12, 2020
The UX design field is quite new in Myanmar, many people have a different understanding of what it entails. Many still refer to UX as the simple visual layout of an app or website, without delving into and understanding the layers of research, conceptualization and iterations underlying it.
Around 33% of the population now has access to the internet, with the number steadily rising as owning a smartphone and mobile data gets cheaper. This means designing the UI/UX keeping these first-time users in mind.
Given these situations, how does one go about convincing businesses about investing in UX design processes, and developing for local first-time users?
When building a product for a business, it’s important to understand their goals and constraints around it. When explaining the UX design process, speak in their terms and explain it as learning what they might not know or have missed in terms of business strategy and product experience.
Let them know that in order to conceptualize and build a good product, you need to conduct user research, market research, and competitive analysis to build the foundations of the app.
Help them understand that through User Experience Design, you can identify the right metrics they can follow to grow their business rather than designing something for a few metrics.
Being an emerging market, Myanmar has a huge non-urban population and many first-time mobile-only internet users. This leads to a big problem when trying to adapt established design patterns and practices from western or developed countries. Because what works there doesn’t mean it’ll work in Myanmar.
Doing a lot of primary research is important to understand the motivations, needs of users, and the context in which your app will be used.
For example: Interactions on your app such as swiping might seem intuitive, but it only works for urban users. It might not work for users in rural areas, not because they don’t yet know how to use a smartphone, but because their phone phones may not have that facility.
It’s also important to keep in mind things such as availability or speed of internet in the user’s area. If you’re designing for a demographic that’s older, you will need to keep your color contrast high, interactions simple and fonts readable.
Remember not to get caught up in trying out the latest UI pattern you’ve seen online. Always keep your users in mind and design for them first.
Last but not least, it's important you design for localization. As most apps are translated into Burmese, be careful about the length of words used. Post translation, it may be an issue that the words don’t fit the UI anymore.
Some words may also be difficult to translate, so it’s important to understand the product, target audience and context again. If it’s for simple user actions such as “Sign up”, not translating it may be okay. But it may not always be the case everywhere.
For urban areas, it may not always be necessary to translate as you can get away with a bilingual interface. But if it’s for rural areas, avoid verbiage and help the users get around using more visuals.