Wednesday, May 07, 2008

How Nokia Users Drive Innovation

The site generates more than 1 million page views and about 200,000 downloads a month, according to Nokia. Thousands of users contribute comments. "We are having the positive problem of how to manage all the feedback," says Tommi Vilkamo, manager of Beta Labs, who also writes a blog in which he responds to reader comments.

Vilkamo's plan is to turn blogging responsibility over to software developers, so they have direct contact with customers. "Before, there were too many middlemen between developers and users," he says.

For Nokia, the benefit of free applications such as Sports Tracker is getting owners to take fuller advantage of the computing power of their handsets. Judging from the number of people who not only downloaded the program, but also uploaded routes and photos onto a sharing site, the strategy is a success.
Mapping Your Photo Diary

By monitoring the sharing site, Nokia developers have also been able to see how customers are actually using the software. One surprise is that some people used it just to record how they spent the day bumming around town, or skateboarding in the neighborhood. Recently, one user who identified himself as Ferdinandt shared live data of himself apparently traveling by boat off the coast of the Netherlands.

People are also taking advantage of the fact that the software records location information when users snap a photo with the handset camera. Users upload maps embedded with photos they took along their route to a sharing site Nokia established for the purpose, creating a multimedia diary of their day's voyage.

As a result, Nokia developers are realizing that aiming the application at amateur athletes was too narrow. They are thinking of rebranding the application as a kind of life-tracker. Based on the response to the software on Beta Labs, that may well help drive users to Nokia's Ovi Web portal (also in beta testing), which is the basis of Nokia's attempt to carve out a big piece of the evolving, mobile Internet. "It shows people they can do much more (with their handsets) than just make phone calls," says researcher Kaasinen."    (Continued via Business Week)    [Usability Resources]

Nokia Concept Phone - Usability, User Interface Design

Nokia Concept Phone

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