Chair: Batya Friedman, University of Washington, USA
Understanding Negotiation in Airtime Sharing in Low-income Microenterprises
Contribution & Benefit: Paper presents a study of airtime sharing among low income, microenterprises in India. Findings and design thoughts point to lessons for bandwidth sharing in HCI and HCI4D.
Abstract » Shared access to airtime is a prominent mode of connectivity access in the developing world. We seek to understand airtime sharing among low-income microenterprises in India (small, low-capital businesses, such as flower sellers and milkmen), that constitute 90% of the total enterprises in India. We introduce social negotiation as the foundation of airtime sharing. We highlight negotiation mechanisms in the microenterprise, showing how shared resources are used towards personal interests amidst tensions and value conflicts, by adapting, modifying, subverting, and repurposing airtime. We then explore the design space of airtime and bandwidth sharing in low-income communities, including designing for negotiation and improving readability of airtime.ACM
Taking Micro-Enterprise Online: The Case of Kenyan Businesses
- Long Case Study
Contribution & Benefit: This paper presents findings, of Kenyan micro-entrepreneurs' need for websites. It highlights need for technology to work with existing practices rather than enforce its own form of usage onto users.
Abstract » In this paper we describe the findings of a research study recently carried out amongst micro-entrepreneurs and freelance web developers in Kenya. The objective was to understand the level of need for website creation by such entrepreneurs for their businesses and further, the challenges associated with website design and maintenance. The study was inspired by the phenomenal uptake of Internet use in the country coupled with a need to explore how micro-entrepreneurs are faring in this space, what potential exists, and how it could be realized. The findings of the study show that the Internet can be the new frontier for many micro-entrepreneurs who want to take their businesses to the next level. The study also provides critical insights into the realities of micro-enterprise, and hence relevant issues to take into consideration in seeking to take micro-enterprise online. The insights therein cover such issues as affordability of solutions, quick return on investment, convergence of current business methods and practices with those presented by an online environment for greater impact, and need for very simple, intuitive web design tools and platforms. Innovation may be required so as to come up with more website options that are better suited to the needs of micro-entrepreneurs and that are cost-effective. Alternatively other internet-based tools or platforms could be developed to help micro-entrepreneurs conduct business online. This is because the typical websites of today are not necessarily suitable for their needs.
Experiences with Bulk SMS for Health Financing in Uganda
- Long Case Study
Contribution & Benefit: Analyzes the deployment and use of a Bulk SMS system for a health financing project in Uganda over 6 months. Can assist designers in understanding organizational use of SMS platforms.
Abstract » Short message service (SMS, aka text messaging) is a low-cost and effective means of communication for organizations attempting to maintain contact with many people. In this paper we look at the deployment and of a bulk mobile text-messaging platform (Bulk SMS), conceived and commissioned by a health non-governmental organization (NGO) for use in communicating with the 100+ private health facilities. We show how the platform emerged from existing practices, the features and expectations of the system, and the ways in which it was used. Common failure points include infrastructural limitations, human error, and unexpected use cases. We find that 1) the use of SMS as a media enables new types of communication, and 2) SMS alone is not sufficient for maintaining relationships within the NGO program.
Design Re-thinking for the Bottom of the Pyramid: A Case Study Based on Designing Business Software for SMEs in India
- Long Case Study
Contribution & Benefit: Case study highlighting design factors considered while adapting enterprise software for Indian consumers. Can be useful for those building technology solutions for developing markets.
Abstract » Breaking out of the traditional notion that affordability and mass consumption are the most important pre-requisites for entering a large and developing market like India, we elicit alternate and equally critical factors to design products that can provide instant and long-term value to Indian consumers. These factors from a design thinking perspective are: a) sustainability cost for business viability, b) micro-localization needs for human desirability and c) infrastructure considerations for technical feasibility. Our research insights are based on experiences from designing business analytics software for small and midsized enterprises in India. However, our findings are broadly applicable to design thinkers, researchers and designers creating technology solutions for any developing market.