Substantial public and academic interest is focused on efforts to use mobile phones to address longstanding socioeconomic goals such as reducing poverty, improving education, and disseminating health and agricultural information to marginalized populations in the developing world. While technologists have been quick to embrace the mobile phone as an ICT that can benefit the poor, there has been far less attention devoted to the problems inherent in these devices’ design. I will talk about research, which draws on my long-term fieldwork in rural Kenya, that demonstrates shortcomings in traditional approaches to designing for this context, and then discuss alternative approaches to designing for this region.
Susan Wyche is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University and is affiliated with MSU's African Studies Center. Her research focuses on human-computer interaction (HCI) and information and communication technologies and development (ICTD). Her work has been supported by Google, Facebook, USAID, and the National Science Foundation. Wyche is a 2015 recipient of an NSF CAREER Award. She received her Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech, an MS from Cornell University and an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon University.