Reflection on research methodologies for ubicomp in developing contexts
As the user base for ubiquitous technology expands to developing regions, the likelihood of disparity between the lived experience of design team members (developers, designers, researchers, etc.) and end users has increased. Human-centered design (HCD) provides a toolkit of research methods aimed at helping bridge the distance between technology design teams and end users. However, we have found that traditional approaches to HCD research methods are difficult to deploy in developing regions. In this paper, we share our experiences of adapting HCD research methodologies to the Central Asia context and some lessons we have learned. While our lessons are many, reconsidering the unit of analysis from the individual to larger social units was an early discovery that provided a frame for later research activities that focused on ubicomp development. We argue that lessons and challenges derived from our experience will generalize to other research investigations in which researchers are trying to adapt common HCD data collection methods to create ubiquitous technologies for and/or with distant audiences in developing regions.
Personal and Ubiquitous Computing
Kolko, Beth; Putnam, Cynthia; Rose, Emma J.; and Johnson, Erica, "Reflection on research methodologies for ubicomp in developing contexts" (2011). SIAS Faculty Publications. 482.