HCI4D Guidelines for Interactive Content

HCI4D Guidelines for Interactive Content

Bruno Giesteira, Eduardo Pereira
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5011-2.ch003
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Fraunhofer AICOS, a research and development institute, and University of Porto made a joint venture with Mandela Metropolitan University and Eduardo Mondlane University in order to establish a set of guidelines based on an extensive research and experimental fieldwork to answer more efficiently to a user-centered design approach and focus on different users and different usage contexts. Those guidelines and this chapter provide recommendations to cope with cultural diversity, illiteracy, oral-based cultures, ergonomic factors, digital interface design, and social and environmental constraints, helping to understand problems and define strategic design actions in order to develop more user-centered solutions, focus on users' needs and expectations regarding their cultural, environmental, and technical contexts.
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1. Guidelines for Coping With Cultural Diversity

Following Chen et al. (1999), the concept of culture is dependent on the field of study due to the subjective value of the same and as a result, the anthropology perspective of culture focuses on behavioral customs, mannerisms and societal interests. On the other hand, sociologists describe culture as methods of thinking and acting that are acquired by an individual belonging to a particular cultural group. In practice, culture consists in knowing the proper channels of communication and the types of information people from a particular environment require as a means to communicate in an effective manner (Julie Khaslavsky, 1998).

Regarding to Human-Computer Interaction, cultural diversity is a concern due to the fact that globalization and the liberation of services and goods are leading to a cultural standardization, despite the fact that the barriers delimiting a specific culture prove to be difficult to determine (UNESCO, 2009).

1.1 Language Barriers

The existence of guidelines for multilingual environments is evident in developed regions but not all nations have specific guidelines regarding the use of languages in their territory and this is particularly difficult when a language is not officially recognized in the territory.

Multilingual Countries Usually Have Public Policies Regarding Official Regional Languages. Normand and his colleagues (2014) state ICT solutions must adopt to the mandate public policies regarding the use of those official languages and this obligation has a significant influence on the design of bilingual systems.

The Implementation of Local Languages Increases User’s Adoption of a System. The use of official languages in ICT solutions signifies only the periphery of the Information Society is being considered. Donald Osborn (2006) notes three reasons that favor the use of African languages in a system. First, Osborn states the assumption that so long as a language is spoken and used in several spheres of activity, the opportunity to utilize these languages in new technologies should be considered. The second reason is the fact that African languages are important vehicles of expression and generation of knowledge, but there is little organizational activity beyond small-scale programs for adult basic literacy and a limited amount of first language instruction at the primary school level (Osborn 2006). Consequently, ICT in African languages could be important in post-literacy and in the generation and dissemination of knowledge. The third reason provided by Osborn is the notion that relying solely on English, Portuguese and French for the transmission of information and new knowledge puts people who are not proficient in these languages at a disadvantage (Osborn, 2006).

Languages With Writing Systems Have Different Approaches to Information Structure and Mental Models. Dray and her colleagues (2003) mention profound differences are evidenced among writing systems in different countries. Consequently, differences in writing systems introduce challenges for text entry, and call for more specialized interface issues such as handwriting recognition. The standard notes different writing systems require special support. (e.g., mix of right-to-left and left-to-right text on the same line)

Multilingualism Enables Communication Through Multiple Comprehension Channels. Multilingualism is a common characteristic in the African environment and consequently, an individual presents different connections to distinct cultural values. For instance, Namibia has two million inhabitants fluent in at least two of the country’s languages, which consists in 9 regional, 3 colonial and 16 African immigrant languages (Bidwell, Nicola J, Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Gereon Koch-Kapuire, & Shilumbe Chivuno-Kuria, 2011). Between ways of, multilingualism sustains plural ontologies and displays connections between ways of saying, doing and knowing (Bidwell, Nicola J, Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Gereon Koch-Kapuire, & Shilumbe Chivuno-Kuria, 2011).

1.2 Guidelines

The Integration of Culture in the Design of ICTs is a Necessity. Given the prominent cultural diversity in Sub-Sahara nation, Patricia young (2008) describes four ways to engage culture in the design process, in order to develop a user-centered design approach: (1) generic and specialized designs (Aykin 2000); (2) Cultural variations tailored to learners should be incorporated (Chu & Reeves 2000); (3) Cultural research needs to be focused to specific learning strategies and contexts (Fleer 1998); (4) The cultural demographics of the learners and the accommodation for culturally pluralistic designs must be considered (Scheel & Branch 1993).

The Increase in Cultural Connectivity Does Not Guarantee a Bigger Rate of Adoption. Cultural misconceptions are rapidly shrinking due to the increase of global connectivity through various channels. Consequently, recent design efforts attempt to satisfy a global audience and provide a bigger rate of adoption, but this approach does not guarantee that the cultural considerations of users are indicated for the efforts in question (van der Veer, 2011).

Designers Should Consider Design Decisions According to the Culture of the Users and Contexts of Use. Homogeneity inside a certain group of users leads to the need to focus on the prototypical user, which often leads to problems regarding cultural sensitivity (van der Veer, 2011). Researchers have to consider every group of users and not just the prototypical user.

Adoption of Any Artifact Changes Existing Cultures and Triggers New Ones. Different cultures present distinct levels of adaptation to the contextual changes and the introduction of new artifacts. Van der Veer indicates three aspects to deal with culture in a pragmatic way, namely esthetics, language and cultural values (van der Veer, 2011).

Social Compatibility Can Be Viable through Availability of Content in the Local Language. The unavailability of localized content in existing ICT take significant disadvantages to rural users - in particular illiterate users. Following Dhir et al. (2012), social compatibility, which ensures increased opportunities of economic growth, independent personality, and improved social, educational and cultural environments for rural communities can solve these disadvantages.

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