Designing and building for Novice Internet Users (NIU) requires research based on immersion. We can’t afford to make assumptions or draw conclusions from a campus thousands of miles away. We need insights based on an intimate and learned consideration for nuances in culture and tradition, language and literacy, local economies, population density, socioeconomic stratification, infrastructure challenges, and even details like local climate and color aesthetics — all of it serves to ensure that we’re guiding these users into a digital experience that’s helpful, relevant, engaging, and valuable to them. There are no shortcuts to these insights. They need to be lived and experienced firsthand.
It’s crucial to remember that there’s no such thing as a typical user. It would be very easy to rely on everything we’ve learned about the earlier billion users to address the needs of the next billion. Instead, designing for the NBUs offers us new opportunities to expand our minds beyond what’s been done and improve our offering for the whole world.