GVU Center Brown Bag: Nithya Sambasivan - "Embracing Infrastructure Constraints in Emerging Markets"


As communities in the emerging markets are increasingly interfacing with technology, the technology landscape is heterogeneous and unevenly distributed. In this talk, I describe 'infrawork': emergent workarounds created by people in getting access to technology infrastructures, and three case studies of designing to leverage these socio-technical hooks: (i) design and evaluation of a mobile data transparency tool intended to help emerging mobile users control and manage their data (ii) design and evaluation of one of the world's largest public Wi-Fi networks, in train stations in India; and (iii) the study of citizen response in 2015 Chennai floods. Finally, I present some general lessons learned in designing for constrained infrastructures in emerging markets.

Speaker Bio:

Nithya Sambasivan is a user experience researcher working in the area of emerging markets in the Next Billion Users team at Google, and previously at Google Access and Google.org. She has a PhD. in Informatics from University of California, Irvine and MS in Human Computer Interaction from Georgia Tech. Her research has won many awards at CHI and ICTD.

Event Details


    Technology Square Research Building, 1st Floor Ballroom, Atlanta, Ga


  • Thursday, February 16, 2017
    11:30 am - 1:00 pm