Stories from the Field: Reflections on HCI4D Experiences

Yaw Anokwa, Thomas N. Smyth, Divya Ramachandran, Jahanzeb Sherwani, Yael Schwartzman, Rowena Luk, Melissa Ho, Neema Moraveji, Brian DeRenzi


Human-computer interaction for development (HCI4D) requires considerable time in the field interacting with users. While this is true for most HCI work, fieldwork in developing regions presents unique challenges due to differences in culture, language, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. As a group of nine HCI4D researchers, we have adopted a systematic approach to reflect on the challenges we have encountered in the field. Arising from this exercise are three contributions: The first is our research method itself, which uses a mix of qualitative and quantitative instruments to elicit and synthesize individual experiences. The second, intended for beginning researchers, is a set of lessons learned and suggested strategies for navigating the unique challenges of HCI4D research. The third, intended for the HCI4D community at large, is a critical reflection on the field itself, inspired by our findings. Topics covered include the incentives and agendas of the research world, the importance of managing expectations, the nature of #8220;participation#8221; in HCI4D, and the conflict between research and development more generally.


HCI4D; developing regions; methodology; research and development

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