Aditya Johria, Joyojeet Pal
Scholarship and implementation in information and communication technologies for development (ICTD/ICT4D) have seen an exponential increase over the past decade. In spite of enormous headway in both research and application, ICTD lacks a clear unified framework that can guide contextually grounded user-focussed design of ICT. This shortcoming results largely from the field’s unusual placement at the intersection of research, policy, and practice, each driven by different philosophical traditions and application intentions. We argue that this gap can be overcome by adopting design-based approaches in ICTD. Towards this end, we advance a design framework – capable and convivial design (CCD) – that appropriates Sen’s idea of capabilities and Illich’s notion of conviviality. We contend that these two sets of complementary theoretical traditions are markedly well suited to guide the design of contextually relevant and user empowering ICTs. We test the CCD framework against multiple input shared computing, a well-documented ICTD case, to illustrate its analytical usefulness and improve its analytical precision.
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