Posted to the Ethnos Project by on November 1st, 2014

The research context of this thesis is the inter-cultural development of computer tools. The thesis considers as case study the Nasa people, a Colombian native society, which preserves different traditions and cultural particularities. The research questioning emerges from the sociocultural differences between a rural society, such as the Nasa, and the computer-producing societies. In general, cultural adaptation processes focus on the linguistic translation and factors easy to study. However, the developer¿s culture is implicit in a wide range of aspects of the production of interactive systems. For example, the office metaphor, commonly used in personal computers, is based on everyday objects found in a urban work context. Nevertheless, desktops, files, folders are less familiar in the Nasa environment, resulting in a misunderstood analogy. This thesis accomplish two main contributions. First, a cultural model for the study of important sociocultural characteristics in the development of computer tools (language, environment and technology, social organization, spatial structures and non-verbal signs.) Second, a design description method that integrates the cultural characteristics identified by the model into design patterns. These contributions have been applied in the Nasa context, where two different tools have been developed following a participative method. These tools were designed and evaluated with students and teachers of two schools. An initial catalog of patterns describes how the design issues found have been resolved

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