Inclusion by Design: Requirements Elicitation with Digitally Marginalized Communities

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Publication History

Received: November 26, 2020
Revised: November 4, 2021; September 15, 2022; June 5, 2023
Accepted: June 23, 2023
Published Online in Issue: March 1, 2024

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A more equal and sustainable digital future depends on the inclusion of digitally marginalized communities in the socioeconomic opportunities created by digital technologies. Digital inclusion is a complex process that involves all stages of digital innovation, including development, adoption, use, and maintenance. However, past research has largely approached digital inclusion as an adoption and use challenge. In this paper, we develop a view of digital inclusion as a design challenge. We focus on the activities of requirements elicitation (RE) as a critical element of the design process and draw on a design-based interpretive study involving the design of two mobile apps for agricultural communities in India and China. We analyze how the conditions of digital inequality underlying the digital marginalization of these communities affect their sensemaking as they participate in RE activities. We conceptualize these challenges as limitations on the emergence of technology affordances. Our findings reveal various shifts, or translations, in the emerging affordances, which enabled the RE activities to be more generative and consequently more inclusive. These affordance translations manifested along three main dimensions: specificity, temporality, and collectivity. We discuss the implications of these findings for the inclusion of marginalized communities in the design of new technologies.

Additional Details
Author Isam Faik, Avijit Sengupta, and Yimeng Deng
Year 2024
Volume 48
Issue 1
Keywords Digital inequality, digital divide, digital inclusion, design process, requirements elicitation, participatory design, affordances, the agricultural field, design science, design-based interpretive research
Page Numbers 219-244
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