Thames Valley University
TVU has the following general research objectives in relation to the
- To explore and develop participatory methods for user interface design and evaluation for novel socio-technical solutions in rural communities, with particular emphasis upon the educational barriers.
- To identify the most appropriate technologies and develop novel techniques for collecting, analyzing and defining user requirements for farming groups to support ICT systems that would lead to improved agricultural practices.
- To investigate the usability aspects of innovative communication access facilities for sharing information between isolated and dispersed rural communities.
In addition TVU has been responsible for:
- making content aggregated by University of Nairobi and LKL accessible to the community â€“ for example media type and interface format;
- the cultural validation of the developing technical specification;
- the development of appropriate participatory methods (in collaboration with LKL);
- the project evaluation using the socio-technical methodology outlined below.
In terms of the wider project brief TVU has taken responsibility for the exploration of the use of socio-technical experiments as a framework for managing the links between participative methods and the VeSeL partners. Since research suggests that only between 30% and 40% of ICT systems produced are ever successfully implemented and used for the purpose for which they were designed, HCI principles and practice are crucial at every stage of the project to ensure both usability and usefulness. In addition the project involves the development or adaptation of HCI methods since it is essential not to impose precipitously Western solutions to an African situation where the context is not clear.