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Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings ; 2023.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-20241823


Mobile Financial Services (MFS) has gained significant popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among marginalized and low-income, low-literate communities around the world. Such communities have not been traditionally considered while designing MFS services via smartphone apps or USSD services in featurephones. Financial constraints limit such end-users towards basic featurephones, where recent appstore support has made it possible to deploy app-based MFS solutions beyond USSD. This new featurephone platform is a relatively underexplored area in terms of addressing design issues related to aforementioned end-users while developing MFS solutions. Our work addresses this gap by presenting qualitative findings on barriers to technology access focused on MFS solutions in marginal communities. We present a prototype non-USSD, app-based solution on an appstore-supported featurephone platform designed via a human-centered approach. This work has the potential to increase the financial inclusivity of marginalized communities in cashless MFS transactions via low-cost, appstore-enabled featurephones. © 2023 ACM.

4th ACM SIGCAS/SIGCHI Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies, COMPASS 2022 ; Par F180472:180-194, 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1950300


As community-driven organizations sought to support their constituents through the COVID-19 crisis, many drew on digital volunteers to expand their capacity and reach. However, coordinating the efforts of virtual volunteers is a challenging task with few empirical studies of the associated risks and best practices. In this paper, we report on the activities of CGNet Swara, a citizen journalism platform that published 401 distress calls from vulnerable communities stranded in India due to the imposition of a nationwide lockdown. CGNet mobilized 11 digital volunteers to help these contributors over a period of nearly 2 months. We found that a lack of proper guidance to digital volunteers and outdated organizational policies resulted in demonstrable harms to vulnerable communities. We discuss risks that are inherent in collaborations between organizations extending themselves to crisis response and emergent groups of digital volunteers, and how they can be mitigated by real-time monitoring and development of standard operating procedures relating to impact metrics, verification standards and disclosure policies. © 2022 ACM.

31st ACM World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2022 ; : 3718-3727, 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1861671


The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated rapid top-down dissemination of reliable and actionable information. This presents unique challenges in engaging low-literate communities that live in poverty and lack access to the Internet. We describe the design and deployment of a voice-based social media platform, accessible over simple phones, for actively engaging such communities in Pakistan with reliable COVID information. We developed three strategies to overcome users' hesitation, mistrust, and skepticism in engaging with COVID content. Users were: (1) encouraged to listen to reliable COVID advisory, (2) incentivized to share authentic content with others, and (3) prompted to critically think about COVID-related information behaviors. Using a mixed-methods evaluation, we show that users approached with all three strategies had a significantly higher engagement with COVID content compared to others. We discuss how new designs of social media can enable users to engage with and propagate authentic information. © 2022 ACM.