Posted to the Ethnos Project by on September 18th, 2013

A publication by Kentaro Toyama (2010)


International development is concerned with making life better for the least privileged people of the world. Since the 1990s, HCI has engaged increasingly with development through an interdisciplinary field known as “information and communication technologies for development,” or ICT4D. This article overviews the historical relationship between HCI and international development, compares their disciplinary approaches, and suggests that both sides would gain from ongoing interaction. International development could benefit from HCI’s broad methodological tools, which include qualitative and quantitative research methods, design through iterative prototyping, and reflective inquiry. HCI could benefit from international development’s exposure to a broader base of cultures, sectors, and concerns. These issues are discussed with specific examples from published papers and several well-known projects that apply HCI to development. Finally, future directions for an ongoing collaboration between HCI and development are also indicated.


1 Introduction

2 “Information and Communication Technologies and Development”

2.1 The “D” in ICT4D
2.2 The “ICT” in ICT4D
2.3 Larger Context of ICT4D

3 HCI and ICT4D

3.1 Methodological Overlap
3.2 Methodological Differences
3.3 HCI in Technology for Development

4 Examples of HCI in Global Development

4.1 Research
4.2 Industry: The Mobile Phone
4.3 Methodological Innovations

5 Recurring Themes

5.1 Hardware and Infrastructure Constraints
5.2 Cultural, Linguistic, and Non-Linguistic Adaptation
5.3 Technology Sharing and Intermediation
5.4 Technology Alone is Not Enough

6 The Future of HCI in Global Development

6.1 Summary
6.2 Impact-Focused Evaluation
6.3 Beyond Computing

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