POST A: Design in Contexts

Too often design processes are separated from insights into the use of the designed artifact, and even designers themselves may use models and concepts that focus on the artifact without paying attention to the context in which the artifact is used. To address the issue, it’s important to understand the context and use complementary perspectives (Kyng & Mathiassen, 1997) to develop a better perception of the situation and come up with useful solutions.

With the rapid growth of technology, the smartphone has largely fulfilled most people’s needs for telephone, camera, media player, etc., and it has become indispensable in people’s lives. The iOS and Android are considered to be the most popular operating systems globally; together, they have created a duopoly and account for more than 99% (Moon Technolabs, 2017) in smartphone sales. However, Android has a more market share in developing nations like Asia and Africa while iOS leads the market in developed countries like US, Australia, Europe, etc.

Geography Distribution
Geography Distribution of Android and iOS (Moon Technolabs, 2017)

Thus, to build an app for an operating system, the designer needs to consider the context in which it will be used; and identify user needs and preference to deliver ‘native’ (Babentsov, 2017) user experience as users have a fixed understanding of the UX pattern on a particular platform.

The billboard project of ‘The Hidden Voices of Banjarmasin’ created by Group Durian that is designed in WhatsApp’s Android interface. The context of smartphones in Indonesia is dominated by the Android operating system, which shares 88.37% of the market (Statista, 2017). Designing billboard in Android interface would trigger audience’s emotional responses more effectively because people are more familiar with the system.


Billboard Project ‘The Hidden Voices of Banjarmasin’ (Group Durian, 2018)


Contrasty, in the US, Messenger is rated as one of the most popular social media as it conveniently connects with Facebook as well as local contacts. The billboard could be designed in Messenger’s iOS interface as a metaphor to communicate and resonate with audiences.

Design is making sense (of things). It can be read as design is a sense creating activity (Krippendorff, 1989) that is recognisable and understandable. Be aware of the local context, designer can effectively minimise the failures and straightforwardly convince audience. Various approaches and solutions are shaped by contexts to reduce conflicts and enhance user experience.


Babentsov, 2017, ANDROID VS. IOS: UI/UX DIFFERENCES, Luanapps, viewed 31 Jan 2018,

Group Durian, 2018, The Hidden Voices of Banjarmasin, WordPress, viewed 31 Jan 2018,

Krippendorff, 1989, On the Essential Contexts of Artifacts or on the Proposition That “Design Is Making Sense (Of Things)”, JSTOR, viewed 31 Jan 2018,

Kyng, M. & Mathiassen, L. 1997, Computers and Design in Context, GoogleBooks, viewed 31 Jan 2018,

Moon Technolabs, 2017, Apple Vs Android — A comparative study 2017, AndroidPub, viewed 31 Jan 2018,

Statista, 2017, Market share of mobile operating systems in Indonesia from January 2012 to December 2017, viewed 31 Jan 2018,


One thought on “POST A: Design in Contexts

  1. It is nice to read that my group’s design has helped you learn something! It was also extremely naive of my group and I to think that because iPhone was the most popular phone in Australia, surely it would be the most popular phone in Indonesia! Similarly, because all of our friends communicate via iMessage, surely the rest of the world do too?? How we were wrong it presuming this! I think it is important that you have raised this point about the different operating systems that are used worldwide because what is predominant for one country is not always predominant in another. For example, designing a WhatsApp screen billboard for an Indonesian context is going to be far more relatable there than it would be in an Australian context.

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