8 March 2010

Ethnography informs text-free UI for illiterate people

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putting people first
by experientia

Indrani Medhi
Indrani Medhi, an Associate Researcher at Microsoft Research India where she works in the Technology for Emerging Markets team, designed a text free user interface for illiterate populations.

“A student of design, Medhi has developed text-free user interfaces (UIs) to allow any illiterate or semi-literate person on first contact with a computer, to immediately know how to proceed with minimal or no assistance.

As Medhi points out, in text-based conventional information architecture found in mobile phones and PCs, there are a number of usability challenges that semi literate people face. By using a combination of voice, video and graphics in an innovative way, Medhi has overcome this challenge.

Medhi discovered the kind of barriers that illiterate populations face in using technology through an ethnographic design process involving more than 400 women from low-income, low-literate communities across India, the Philippines, and South Africa.”

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