The Home for Novice Users

Prototyping, Usability Testing
In 2020, my team was curious about novice users of mobile phones (that's right, the people who never used a mobile phone before). Comparing to a more modern launcher (home screen) that we currently deliver to the end-users, a straightforward UI became the spirit of the future launcher concept.
Goal-oriented UI
A regular smartphone is app-oriented. Users build their mental model based on their understanding and experiences toward the daily-used apps. However, beginners in developing countries don't have relevant experience with modern technologies. Therefore, we wanted to introduce the phone's capability to them right after they land themselves on the home page.
We ran the usability testings in Nigeria. The participants could easily pick up the concept design and complete the assigned tasks. The icons on the cards were helpful while they performed the tasks, although some of the icons were out of their expectations. For example, they didn't see the controller icon related to the "games" idea. Overall, they performed better on the concept design than on the current design.
The "press-to-speak" readout feature
Many of the participants were low-literate. We recruited them for a purpose: we wanted to know whether a readout feature can help them explore the phone or not. Whenever the participant press the readout button, a voice recording would be played to the participant.
Participants tended to explore the interface themselves without the help from the readout feature. They often guessed and tried out all the possibilities they could expect on the UI, no matter how well they understood the concept of each function.