Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Text-free interfaces for illiterate and semi-literate users

Here's a presentation that I recently gave about a paper written by Indrani Medhi, Aman Sagar and Kentaro Toyama about how to build text-free interfaces for illiterate and semi-literate users. This paper is valuable for folks like myself who are thinking about how to build systems and processes in the developing world where literacy rates are poor.


"Text-Free User Interfaces for Illiterate and Semi-Illiterate Users" from Nicole Prowell on Vimeo.

Here's the Powerpoint for anyone interested.  
Text Free Interfaces for Semi-Literate Users
Get your own at Scribd or explore others: Technology

Apparently, someone cared enough about this presentation to Twitter about it, which throughly amuses me:

the only reliable solution is to test your interface with the actual end user.
matrices and spreadsheets are hard to understand by other cultures. 
Programming is inherently text based. However, digital tools, or applications, are not. 
Are computers pushing humanity towards a post-textual civilization? Perhaps in terms of users. Developers still have to WRITE code. 
Ted claims that literacy rates in Africa are less than 60%. It makes sense.
entiendes espaƱol? 
do you write from right to left or from left to right? 
text free user interfaces for illiterate users. 
Ted's point is that visual metaphors are context dependent in terms of cultural background. Usability then is not an universal practice. 
"Thumbs up" is an obscenity in Iran. 
Ted Chan is asking us about what the "thumbs up" mean. 
santiago has a crush on umberto eco 
how much do we take for granted? how much of our culture do we consider universal? 
bathrooms are represented by icons of people in a lot of places. 

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