Posted to the Ethnos Project by on May 17th, 2011

This post provides information about “Re-framing HCI through local and indigenous perspectives,” one of several workshops that will be held at this year’s Interact2011 Conference on Human-Computer Interaction in Lisbon, Portugal.

Interact2011 Workshop on Indigenous HCI

Monday, 5 September 2011

Workshop organizers

Jose Abdelnour-Nocera, University of West London
Masaaki Kurosu, Open University of Japan
Torkil Clemmensen, Copenhagen Business School
Nic Bidwell, CSIR-Meraka & Nelson Mandella Metropoliton University
Ravi Vatrapu, Copenhagen Business School
Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Polytechnic of Namibia
Vanessa Evers, University of Amsterdam
Rüdiger Heimgärtner, Intercultural User Interface Consulting Germany
Alvin Yeo, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

Call for Participation

One of the current challenges for HCI as a discipline is addressing the tensions created between local cultures and the assumptions, priorities and values embedded in the HCI as a discipline. The objective of this workshop is to further our understanding of these issues and lead to practical recommendations for people researching and implementing HCI from an explicit indigenous perspective.

Translating local knowledge into valid and useful HCI tools is not a simple problem, but one that requires re-defining and re-negotiating disciplinary boundaries (and connections) and the subject and object of the interaction design. Focusing on local or indigenous awareness and practices in design pushes the envelope in a very exciting way. For instance, the democratic values of equal participation driving user-centred design are not necessarily shared by local communities which prioritize respecting the views of their leaders. Addressing these gaps requires a fresh look at how diverse disciplines and professions explore and conceptualize the relation between users, designers and other stakeholders.

While the global HCI community has well-defined conceptual and methodological frameworks, there is little research about how local HCI professionals experience, adapt and implement this knowledge, nor how to locate HCI so that it is locally accountable (Suchman, 2002). To progress this research we must start by better understanding relationships between HCI concepts and methods and their meanings to local and indigenous groups. Universal perspectives on HCI like ethnology and ethnography, e.g., technomethodology (Button & Dourish, 1996), and national culture models (Hofstede, 2001) and activity theory (Kaptelinin & Nardi, 2006) have all had an impact in the design of interactive systems for culturally different users, but the potential contribution of explicitly local or indigenous perspectives, approaches and experiences with HCI, see e.g., (Kurosu et al., 2004), have not become so clear and uniform. Furthermore, the idea of what constitutes a useful and usable system in different cultural contexts remains partially explored at the very least. It is hoped this workshop will further our understanding of these issues and lead to practical recommendations for people researching and implementing HCI at global and local levels.

This one-day workshop aims to present different local and indigenous perspectives from all over the world in order to lead into an international dialogue on re-framing concepts and models in HCI/Interaction Design. The target audience is HCI researchers and practitioners who have experience with working with culture and HCI, e.g., participants in IWIPS, ICIC, IFIP TC 13 SIG on Interaction Design and International Development, and more. The expected outcome of the workshop is a) network building among the participants, b) a shortlist of papers that can be basis for a proposal for a special issue of the UAIS journal, and c) identify opportunities to develop a funded network or research proposal.

We will address the goals above through three activities: (a) workshop participants will together compile a list of examples of indigenous HCI problems, (b) participants will present short papers on their own current research; (c) group discussion will address specific issues such as:

  • Examples of indigenous product design
  • Approaches for adaptive and acceptable localization
  • Overview of related work on culture and HCI and CSCW and mobile HCI
  • Actionable recommendations and guidelines for the conception, design and evaluation of interactive systems from local perspectives
  • Improved methods for the gathering and elicitation of issues when implementing standard HCI perspectives into local contexts
  • Understanding participatory design as an indigenous, sociotechnical endeavour in HCI

In order to participate in the workshop, please submit a 2-4 page position paper in PDF describing your experience, findings, views or interests relevant to the themes of the workshop to,, or or any of the other organizers,  no later than June 10th. On July 1st authors of position papers will receive notification about acceptance. At least one author of accepted papers needs to register for the workshop no later than July 15th (End of early bird registration).

This workshop is a combined initiative with the IWIPS 2011 Special track “Re-framing hci through local and indigenous perspectives” at


Button, G., & Dourish, P. (1996). Technomethodology: paradoxes and possibilities CHI1996 (pp. 19-26): ACM.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations: Sage Publications.
Kaptelinin, V., & Nardi, B. (2006). Acting with technology: Activity theory and interaction design: MIT Press Cambridge, MA.
Kurosu, M., Kobayashi, T., Yoshitake, R., Takahashi, H., Urokohara, H., & Sato, D. (2004). Trend in Usability Research and Activities in Japan. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 17(1), 103-124.
Suchman, L. (2002). Located accountabilities in technology production. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, 14(2), 7.


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