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Re-Framing HCI through Local and Indigenous Perspectives


Abdelnour, J. & Bidwell, N. & Winschiers-Theophilus, H


One of the current challenges for HCI as a discipline is addressing the tensions created between local cultures and the assumptions, priorities and values embedded in this discipline. Translating local knowledge into valid and useful HCI tools is not a simple problem, but one that requires redefining and re-negotiating disciplinary boundaries (and connections) and the subject and object of interaction design. Focusing on local or indigenous awareness and practices in design pushes the envelope in a very exciting way. For instance, the democratic values of equal participation driving usercentered design are not necessarily shared by local communities which prioritise respecting the views of their leaders. Addressing these gaps requires a fresh look at how diverse disciplines and professions explore and conceptualise the relation between users, designers and other stakeholders. While the global HCI community has well-defined conceptual and methodological frameworks, there is little research about how local HCI professionals experience, adapt and implement this knowledge, nor how to locate HCI so that it is locally accountable (Suchman, 2002). To progress this research we must start by better understanding relationships between HCI concepts and methods and their meanings to local and indigenous groups. Universal perspectives on HCI like ethnology and ethnography, e.g., technomethodology (Dourish and Button, 1998), and national culture models (Hofstede, 2001) and activity theory (Kaptelinin & Nardi, 2006) have all had an impact in the design of interactive systems for culturally different users, but the potential contribution of explicitly local or indigenous perspectives, approaches and experiences with HCI, see e.g., (Kurosu et al, 2004), have not become so clear and uniform. Furthermore, the idea of what constitutes a useful and usable system in different cultural contexts remains partially explored at the very least. It is hoped this workshop will further our understanding of these issues and lead to practical recommendations for people researching and implementing HCI at global and local levels. The aim of the workshop is to present different local and indigenous perspectives from all over the world to lead into an international dialogue on re-framing concepts and models in HCI/Interaction Design.

Original publication:

Minoi, J. & Yeo, A. & Abdelnour-Nocera. Designing for Global Markets 10, 147-149. 10th International Workshop on Internationalization of Products and Systems. Kuching, Malaysia. July 11-14, 2011.


© 2011 Product & Systems Internationalisation, Inc. ISBN: 0-9722184-6-7


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