In"Connectivity, Culture, and Credit" the importance of bridging a cultural divide is brought up: "As Western researchers and designers, we embody a certain social class, area, or background of privilege—bridging those differences needs to be top-of-mind in order to make our work successful."
As someone who designed products for farmers in rural Massachusetts and youth in Mississippi, I agree. I'd add that it's important to go beyond these differences being "top of mind." Thinking about differences too much can create distance. Instead, it's best to live in the environment of your users and codesign with them. Then you aren't so much designing for them as an external party, but you're designing with them as a participant in their world.
I'd also add that you need to make sure that when you're a part of their world, you don't disturb it. And when you ask to enter your users' world, you're asking them for their time, energy, and in some cases reputation.
I learned a lot, thanks for sharing ! Local visual aesthetic is surely something I wasn't thinking about, I'm a little ashamed. It makes sense. Sometimes we're so focus on trends we forgot to design UI for people.
I was surprised that some people navigate by visuals only, too ! That was really interesting. Must be amazing to work on a project like that one.