Social Dynamics of Early Stage Co-Design In Developing Regions

Divya Ramachandran, Matthew Kam, Jane Chiu, John Canny, James L. Frankel
ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) (2007)


Technology arguably has the potential to play a key role in improving the lives of people in developing regions. However, these communities are not well understood and designers must thoroughly investigate possibilities for technological innovations in these contexts. We describe findings from two field studies in India and one in Uganda where we explore technological solutions in the domains of communication, microfinance and education. Two common underlying themes emerge from these studies: (1) local stakeholders can contribute cultural information relevant to design such as needs and practices through interaction with technology artifacts and (2) unique social network structures embedded within communities are crucial to the acceptance and potential adoption of technology. We end with a synthesis of the three experiences that draws some practical lessons for ICT designers to elicit meaningful feedback and participation from local stakeholders in developing regions communities.