The Possibility of One-Size-Fits-All in ICT4D Design: A Case Study of the Day-Labour Organisations

The Possibility of One-Size-Fits-All in ICT4D Design: A Case Study of the Day-Labour Organisations

Christopher Chepken (University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya) and Suzane Nabwire (Private Consultant, Nairobi, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTHD.2015010103

Abstract

This paper presents design experiences for two Non-Governmental organizations and one day-labour organisation working for the informal job seekers and employers—day-labour market. The authors present the three design architectures implemented for the organisations and show that, even when users are portrayed as similar in the way they work and what they do, their Information Management Systems (IMS) functional software requirements remain contextual up to the details. The authors argue that, although non-functional requirements may be the same for seemingly similar users, there is need to focus on the different functional information needs, including the ones that may seem insignificant. They noted that designers need to know more about their users beyond the “about us” information. The authors conclude that there exists no “one size fits all” IMS, even for seemingly similar organisations.
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Material on Information systems requirements have had mixed reactions. However, the current trend and agreement seems to have been that context is an important factor though in different perspectives. Other researches in this area generally support our arguments. In their work, McPhail, Costantino, Bruckmann, Barclay & Clement, (1998) showed that computers and computer applications must be considered in the context of their workplace. Wilson (2000), pointed out the need to put the Information Systems design process in the wider context of the user. Similarly, way back in 1981, Wilson (1981) had brought out the improtance of context in information needs of a user. Avgerou (2008) has advocated for Research development towards considering context in Information Systems where he has shown the risks of paying relatively little attention to developing theory on the interplay between IS innovation and its socio-economic context. In their research focusing on the need to balance standardization and local flexibility/localization, Braa & Hedberg, (2002), acknowledged that there exists tension between standardization and localization. Walsham & Sahay (2006), confirmed this and pointed out that, although there is need to standardize for efficiency and comparability, it makes it difficult for the same standards to be applied to diverse local contexts.

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