Chair: Brygg Ullmer, Louisiana State University, USA
In Dialogue: Methodological Insights on Doing HCI Research in Rwanda
- Long Case Study
Contribution & Benefit: Case study of research on memorialisation in post-genocide Rwanda, focussing on methodological challenges of working in a "transnational" context. Findings develop methodological insights with relevance to wider HCI audiences.
Abstract » This paper presents a case study of our recent empirical research on memorialisation in post-genocide Rwanda. It focuses on the pragmatic methodological challenges of working in a �transnational� and specifically Rwandan context. We first outline our qualitative empirical engagement with representatives from the Kigali Genocide Memorial (KGM) and neighbouring institutions. We then describe our application of Charles L. Briggs� analytic communication framework to our data. In appropriating this framework, we reflect critically on its efficacy in use, for addressing the practical working constraints of our case, and through our findings develop methodological insights with relevance to wider HCI audiences.
Claim Mobile: When to Fail a Technology
Contribution & Benefit: Details the motivations and context for 'failing' Claim Mobile, a mobile application developed for a health-financing program in Uganda. Encourages long-term evaluation of HCI4D projects, and learning from failure.
Abstract » This paper looks back at the deployment of Claim Mobile, a smartphone-based data collection application developed for a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Southwest Uganda. This NGO subsidizes health facilities by paying for medical services on the basis of claims submitted after the patient consultation, targeting treatment of 99,000 clients between 2006-2011. I successfully tested Claim Mobile in Summer 2008, processing 35 claims over two weeks, and then discontinued it six months later, when it became apparent that integration and scale-up of the technology would be problematic for the NGO. In addition, many issues we hoped to address through technology had been addressed through program management changes instead. I find that a) the context motivating the technology changed over time, b) simpler solutions can be as effective as new technologies, and c) prioritizing the needs of the NGO required abandoning the deployment of Claim Mobile. Thus this paper presents the value of learning from failure in the process of designing for users in developing regions. ACM
mClerk: Enabling Mobile Crowdsourcing in Developing Regions
Contribution & Benefit: Describes a new platform for crowdsourcing graphical tasks via SMS messages and studies its deployment in semi-urban India. Demonstrates that paid crowdsourcing can be feasible and viral in developing regions.
Abstract » Global crowdsourcing platforms could offer new employment opportunities to low-income workers in developing countries. However, the impact to date has been limited because poor communities usually lack access to computers and the Internet. ACM
This paper presents mClerk, a new platform for mobile crowdsourcing in developing regions. mClerk sends and receives tasks via SMS, making it accessible to anyone with a low-end mobile phone. However, mClerk is not limited to text: it leverages a little-known protocol to send small images via ordinary SMS, enabling novel distribution of graphical tasks. Via a 5-week deployment in semi-urban India, we demonstrate that mClerk is effective for digitizing local-language documents. Usage of mClerk spread virally from 10 users to 239 users, who digitized over 25,000 words during the study. We discuss the social ecosystem surrounding this usage, and evaluate the potential of mobile crowdsourcing to both deliver and derive value from users in developing regions.
Using NFC Phones to Track Water Purification in Haiti
- Long Case Study
Contribution & Benefit: This case study describes the decision-making process, the opportunities, and the difficulties of designing and rolling out a NFC-based system to help provide clean water in Haiti.
Abstract » In this paper we describe a system that uses near-field communication (NFC) tags to augment an existing socio-technical system for providing clean water to households throughout Haiti. In the pilot version, we programmed forty NFC phones for use by Haitian water technicians to track chlorine usage in two thousand households, identified by NFC tags on the drinking water buckets in homes. We are in the process of scaling this pilot up to 40,000 households- approximately a quarter of a million people - using 100 or more additional phones. The project involves collaboration between an industrial research lab (Nokia Research Center, Palo Alto), the Public Health School of a university (UC Berkeley), and an existing non-profit organization in Haiti (Deep Springs International (DSI)).