Monthly Archives: January 2016

THEY DON’T SING HAPPY BIRTHDAY IN MEXICO

The Happy Birthday app is one simple and cute app I made (about 7 years ago) that uses the alternative interaction of blowing at the phone to put out birthday cake candles. One cool thing about this project was to actually use the “puffing” interaction for the first time. Also, I had the “joy” of noticing my first big ethnographic mistake: We published the “Feliz Cumpleãnos”, a Spanish version of this app for Latin America. I noticed download numbers in Mexico were not too great, as opposed to the ones in English and Portuguese. Months later I was in Mexico to talk in a developer conference and I heard people singing the song “Las Mañanitas” at a restaurant one night. My colleague (Ludwig Villareal) explained to me that people don’t sing happy
birthday in Mexico – they sing “Las Manãnitas”. A simple phone call to any Mexican person could have solved this. I started to take ethnography more seriously and it is actually *really* interesting. So many obvious mistakes can be easily avoided. Check out http://ethnographymatters.net/ for some inspiration.