Innovative Design Approach for Technology Adoption for illiterate and Semi-illiterate Users in Rural Kenya

Daniel Orwa Ochieng & Lucy Macharia. School of Computing and informatics, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Implementing existing design methods in developing user centered interfaces for rural computing applications exposes the designer to a number of pitfalls. For one, it is still largely unclear whether they are suitable for the developing world, and with large investments being made in ICT for development and education in the developing nations, it is important, rather, critical that these developments are in fact usable, useful, appropriate and well adapted to the communities in which they are intended to be used [1].

The target user in this situation is largely illiterate or at best, semi-illiterate and as such most have rudimentary skills and exposure to technology. Life in the rural areas is also fraught with extensive poverty making accessibility to things like computers a pipe dream for many. Poor infrastructure also makes it very costly and nearly impossible to implement wired systems. The fact that technology is one of the key effectors of economic turnaround of rural economies [2] as well as proliferation of wireless connectivity however presents wonderful opportunity for human centered design innovations targeting this unique group of users. Through investigation of various self – help groups in rural Ukambani in Kenya, we seek to identify unique characteristics and environments of the users, analyse this information in a multi-disciplinary design process and finally develop an innovative human centered design approach that combines existing and new technology with our rural farmer situation. [3]

position paper pdf

Not presented at the workshop

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