Developing locally relevant applications for rural areas: a South African example
Tucker, William David
Blake, Edwin H.
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The digital divide between rural and urban areas within developing countries is vast. We investigate how to address this divide by introducing Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) into remote rural areas. Our aim is to discover how to create locally relevant software applications with appropriate content for these areas. We use a user centred design approach and a modified software development lifecycle that is participatory, iterative and cyclical. This process is based on principles from Participatory Design and Action Research. This paper presents our initial experience of developing a telemedicine application for a rural village in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa using this process. We present an overview of the methodology, describe the software application we have developed and cite several challenges we have faced. Finally we conclude that an inter-organisational and inter-disciplinary approach is needed to develop software for remote areas.