Korean UX from MobileUX Camp DC 2011

I attended and presented at MobileUX Camp DC last Saturday. I went to a number of sessions, the most interesting for me was a one on Mobile UX in Korea. A few items that particularly intrigued me:

  • Within 9 months of the introduction of the iPhone, 1/4 of all Koreans had a smart phone. Projected to be 1/2 within one year.
  • Naver provides 60-80% of all internet traffice. Daum provides another 20% and is focusing on mobile to take share from Naver.
  • Koreans always use the Naver and Daum portals as their entry to the web, rather than an open-ended search engine like Google. Apps and other items that appear on the portals are overwhelmingly adopted. Koreans adopt new technology and apps and throw away old very frequently.
  • Android smartphones support the 3×4 keyboard from feature phones which makes Korean very fast to enter (almost never need to double bink a button). The iPhone does not. This has driven adoption of Android smartphones to outstrip the iPhone.
  • Daum has a streetview-like capability in their mapping app, and link it to the history of photos of the same place. Thus far, they have 3 years of photos. Imagine being able to look back 10 or 20 years to see what was in a particular place at a particular time.
  • On Twitter, 140 characters of Korean allows around three full paragraphs. Twitter is used very conversationally, with long back-and-forths. Often, the form is paragraph 1 is context setting, paragraph 2 is making an argument, and paragraph 3 is asking a question.
  • Many cell phones receive broadcast TV. Most Koreans watch TV on their phones, but don’t use digital video as much.
  • It is common now to see couples sitting across from each other, each engrossed in their own smartphone. Is this really where we want things to end up?
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