Smartphones are thriving in developing countries and a bit throughout rural communities. Many populations have skipped computers or laptops and are experiencing their first contact with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) through smartphones. Furthermore, these are regarded as crucial in creating opportunities for human development, namely through new work opportunities or access to health services and information.
Nevertheless, there is still little research about how human diversity specifically affects the way in which elements in Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) are perceived. Understanding prototypical images, visual references and the principles of how different cultures regard and interpret graphic elements (e.g., colour, shapes, human figures or gestures) is crucial to be able to design accessible and usable solutions which moreover do not risk going against or offending cultural values.
Researching these values and creating a repository along with guidelines for best practices in this domain would help bridge the gap between technology and humans within technology illiterate users and help boost the positive impact that ICT could have in rural communities.
Author: Marcos Soares
Type: MSc thesis
Partner: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto