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University of Michigan School of Information


MISC talk: Susan Wyche

11/19/2020, 01:00 pm - 02:00 pm

Using Cultural Probes in HCI4D/ICTD: A Design Case Study from Bungoma, Kenya

Cultural probes have long been used in HCI to provide designers with glimpses into the local cultures for which they are designing, and thereby inspire novel design proposals. HCI4D/ICTD researchers are increasingly interested in more deeply understanding local cultures in the developing regions where they work, in designing technologies that are not strictly related to socioeconomic development, and in considering new design approaches. However, few use this subjective, design-led method in their research. In this talk, I present a case study detailing my experience designing and deploying cultural probes in Bungoma, Kenya. Returns from my comment cards and digital camera activities draw attention to probe recipients’ unique experiences and to Bungoma’s distinctive characteristics; they also inspired a series of speculative design proposals. My experience motivates a discussion that elaborates on how a cultural probes approach can benefit HCI4D/ICTD research by raising questions about generalizability, objectivity, and the pursuit of a single solution in design. More broadly, I offer a case study demonstrating an alternative way to approach design in HCI4D/ICTD.

Speaker Bio:

Susan Wyche

Susan Wyche is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University and has a courtesy appointment in MSU's African Studies Center. Her research focuses on human computer interaction (HCI) and information and communication technologies and development (ICTD). Her work has been supported by Google, Facebook, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Wyche is a 2015 recipient of an NSF CAREER Award. Wyche received her Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech, an MS from Cornell University and an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon University.


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