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    Krishi-Mitra: Case Study of a User-centric ICT Solution for Semi-literate and Illiterate Farmers in India

    India HCI 2010/ IDID 2010

    India HCI 2010/ Interaction Design & International Development 2010
    20 - 24 March 2010
    Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Mumbai, India


    Rajasee Rege and Shubhada Nagarkar


    More than 70% of the Indian population resides in rural area. This non-English speaking population practices agriculture as the main livelihood. Although farmers in India possess deep knowledge about traditional agricultural practices, they often lack immediate, contextual and real time access to vital factual information such as the current market prices for specific produce at their local agro-market, seed procurement, pest management, real-time updates on weather conditions etc. We designed and tested “Krishi-Mitra”, a user-centered ICT (Information and Communication Technology) solution that aims to revolutionize the rural farming communities in India by providing seamless access to vital agricultural information. We envisage “Krishi Mitra” as a user-centered information system with an easy to use, efficient, scalable, community oriented design that aims to promote professional growth of the rural farmers. The user interface of Krishi- Mitra is thoughtfully designed using audio- visual-textual cues and familiar high affordance metaphors that are easily understood not just by literate but also by the illiterate and semi-literate farmers. It supplements direct two-way interaction between farmers and agricultural experts, thus eliminating possible exploitation of farmers through deceitful intermediaries. To scaffold this design endeavor, we conducted rapid ethnographic research to uncover a deeper understanding of the information needs of rural farmers in two different districts in the State of Maharashtra in India. In this paper, we introduce the interface design of Krishi-Mitra realized through a conceptual prototype and discuss qualitative usability testing results of the User Interface of Krishi-Mitra conducted with five farmers in the Ahmadnagar district of Maharashtra in India. We believe that the findings and discussions from this case study will prove useful to interface designers and user researchers to inform and guide future work in this important area.


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