HCT4D Workshop Overview

The day started with short presentations interspersed with Q&A. Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld spoke about methods to handle cultural diversity and support collaborative networking. She also mentioned future workshops, the dramatic curve and user expectation management. Niall Winters described work with Yishay Mor towards M20 - mobile access to participatory media. Dorothea Kleine from the UNESCO centre for ICT4D described lessons learnt through interdisciplinary teamwork on the Fair Tracing project. Graham Johnson described NCR work to understand rural communities (and potential banking service users) in India and China. Niall then challenged attendees to work out how to open an OLPC over lunch.

Following some lunch time chat and networking Riad Saba described some of the practical difficulties of designing educational technology for use in Lebanon (e.g. limited technical infrastructure, cost of access, etc). He wondered how well Second Life would run on the OLPC. Hui Deng & Yinjuan Shao described studies of informal and spontaneous learning using QQ in China. We wondered whether QQ communities might be a way of learning about rural groups in China? Roger Tucker described the differences in his experience of participatory design in the UK and Kenya describing the role of intermediaries (in this case agricultural extension officers) in facilitating participation of rural groups. Niall Winters discussed the notion of 'fluid design' (described as a perhaps not altogether favourably as a funky concept by one participant) in the context of the 70-year-old Zimbabwe bush pump. Riad Saba added that fluids take the shape of their container, which fits the notion of a design fitting seamlessly into its community (be water my friend). Finally, Dorothy Rachovides raised some important ethical concerns about what researchers' overall aims are in ICT4D projects. Projects need evaluation when they are finished, she said. She also suggested looking at the expectations of participants. If not material benefits, what about hope? An important related concern is "follow-up", which she suggested can replace the notion of sustainability, in order to maintain the motivation of local participants.

Dorothea Kleine then facilitated small group discussion of 3 emerging themes identified by participants (see Context, top-down/bottom-up, value of research on the ground). In our closing discussion groups working in related areas were mentioned, user-centred and stakeholder design and top-down and bottom-up approaches were contrasted, the difficulties of PD at a distance were discussed and there was a call for more publication of project failures, or at least alternatives, changes or lessons learnt. Finally, we returned to "follow-up", we discussed what happens after this, do we want to form an hct4d/ucd4d/hci4d community? How should this relate to the ICT4D community? How should this be formed and supported? (see The Future).

Designing technologies for developing world contexts - Workshop

Following on from the hct4d workshop a practical workshop at the LKL, London.

Tuesday 11 December 2007, 10:00am - 5:00pm A 1-day exploratory workshop

(for details)

"The aim of this 1-day exploratory workshop is to investigate the ways in which we can design technologies for use in developing countries, creating context-appropriate solutions. The day will focus on producing design scenarios that address real-world problems supported  by current and emerging mobile technologies. Participants are encouraged to take a 'hands-on' approach as part of small design teams."

To take part, please email your bio to design4dev@gmail.com 
Free, but space is limited to 15 participants

Organised by Niall Winters and Mike Ananny
Supported by the London Knowledge Lab, the VeSeL project, Stanford Dept of Communication and the Trudeau Foundation

The Future

Workshop participants agreed to promote the same theme for future BHCI conferences and expand on this. We felt that this area has specific concerns with the design of innovative technologies for development and while clearly related to the existing areas of HCI and ICT4D merits the formation of a new communities. There was also interest in a group specifically interested in human centred and participatory methods for design educational technologies for developing contexts.

Related Groups & Communities

Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld mentioned a Masters program at Aalborg University on ICT for Development. Roger Tucker also mentioned Richard Heeks at Manchester and the ICT4D collective at Royal Holloway and IDS at Sussex were also mentioned. Please feel free to add to the list by commenting on this post.

Upcoming & Past Events

Please do add more you know about as comments on this post

Workshop at DIS 2008 (Cape Town)
Workshop at CHI 2008 (Florence)
Mini-track at HCI International 2009 (San Diego)
ALT-C 2008 - Rethinking the Digital Divide (Leeds, UK)
IUI4DR - Intelligent User Interfaces for Developing Regions

In the past

Panel & SIG at Interact 2007 (Rio de Janiero)
UCD4ID at CHI 2007
DSA conference at IDS Sussex

Value of on the ground research Breakout Group

Can someone who was in the group provide some summary, please. Just add it as comments on this post

Top-down/Bottom-up Breakout Group

Can someone from this group provide some summary, please. Just post a comment..

Context - Breakout Group

This group defined context generally as a rich picture of users/a community. With a mix of industry and academic researchers, a distinction was made between academic research and R&D (development in this case related to industrial activity not local economic development).

Lone made a distinction between participatory methods and a sociocultural approach: the latter regards local participants as partners or developers, rather than end users. Related to this was giving 'unfinished' products or tools to local people, for them to create and develop things. Yahoo was mentioned as an example, along with NTT DoCoMo. As opposed to user-led innovation of this sort, an alternative approach mentioned by Elizabeth Churchill and practiced by Yahoo and others is outright acquisition of specialised developers. Intellectual property is a related issue, and she added that when partnering with academic researchers, Yahoo sometimes doesn't seek to develop products jointly.

The issue of localisation, or 'glocalisation' was discussed. Lone suggested that this should include training, with local universities being regarded as middlemen. She also added that entire countries could become innovators, based on their historical context; a focus on historical context characterises the Scandinavian sociocultural approach.


Thanks everyone for making this such a great day!

Watch this space for comments on the day, audio & video clips and publications news...