Bridge the cultural divide
As researchers and designers, we embody a certain social class, area, or background of privilege—bridging those differences needs to be top-of-mind in order to make our work successful. If someone isn’t comfortable talking about a technology, they probably won’t be comfortable using it.
Working on research for Google Station, we observed that many women were hesitant to use public WiFi. When we showed our first portal designs to local women, their reaction was, "Oh my God, how can I trust this service?" Indian law requires public WiFi-users to provide their phone numbers and get a code to access the portal. From interviews, we understood that there was a recent incident where a woman’s public profile photo was copied and applied onto an image of adult content. She suffered a lot of stigma from her family and ultimately committed suicide. Given that social context, it’s easy to understand these women’s fears about information security, and we clearly needed to first demonstrate our trustworthiness in the sign-on portal. Before they enter their phone number, we explicitly state "Your number is safe with us" and then link to an FAQ page addressing all of the questions we heard in our research.
It helps to have field researchers conducting user studies in the market to understand if your product is respecting social, cultural, political, and religious norms. Also consider the context of where and how your product will be used. For example, if train stations are considered risky places in Manila, does your app’s map show alternate modes of transport? If men are more likely to own devices, how can you design your app to be more democratic?