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Re: Ken Comments - Framework structure proposal

From: Stephane Boyera <boyera@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2008 17:35:02 +0200
Message-ID: <48762C26.3010400@w3.org>
To: "Ken Banks, kiwanja.net" <donotreply@kiwanja.net>
Cc: public-mw4d@w3.org

Hi Ken,
[just a remark, it is relatively hard to identify what is your comment 
from my original text !]

> Agreed. Of course, no two countries are the same and uses and opinions on
> the usefulness of mobiles varies from country to country. Some people love
> (or don't object to!) IVR services, and others hate them (me among them).
> Some people text like crazy (for example, in the Philippines), but in other
> countries (e.g. my experience in Uganda) traffic is relatively low. So we
> need to be sure in our vision that we don't paint the world one colour

Sure. I hoped that we would not paint the world at all in the vision, 
but just offer in few sentences the vision behind this group.

> Whenever you set the target as the "socially and economically deprived"
> there are always going to be issues of definition. Generally projects seek
> to help people living in rural areas, since it's assumed the need is
> generally greater there. Of course, this isn't always the case (it rarely
> is, in fact). A good example is Mobile4Good, which helps the youth in the
> slums of Nairobi, a major African capital city, get work. I think that,
> while we need to know who we're aiming at, we shouldn't get too tied up in
> the definition. If you're developing a health service over mobile, and it
> benefits the richer and the poorer, I don't think that's a bad thing.
> Universal services would be the best way forward. Of course, if you're
> working on a specific need (i.e. car insurance, for example) this isn't
> going to benefit many poor people. But if it's life insurance, or health
> insurance, everyone could gain. We probably also want to think about how we
> reach the target. 

right. I believe that in some case it is essential to define the scope 
in more details (e.g. if you work on an health system, then the 
requirements might be different if you are targeting rural communities 
needing 1 day to travel to an hospital, or a system for people living 
5mn away from one), but here talking about socially and economically 
deprived" is enough. And you are right, this is the primary target, but 
might surely benefit also the other segments

> The biggest stakeholders are the people themselves, but it's not going to be
> easy to engage them, unless we start doing action research and getting
> academics on the ground to put something together. 

I don't have clear ideas here. I've the impression that we are mixing 
things. My own view is that there are three categories:
1- individuals or ngo in the ground which understand the needs of their 
family, communities,... and see mobile phones as a potential too that 
could support and increase the impact of their actions. So we need to 
udnerstand from them what are the tools they need, and what are the 
problems they are encountering. This is the "NGOs" item in my list

2- there are also individuals, and ngos on the ground, who don't even 
know that it is possible to do anything with mobile phones. I talked to 
few people that are considering that mobiles are closed objects driven 
by mobile operators and government. They believe that it is as 
impossible to use/develop a service on mobile phone as having a slot in 
the national tv channel. I'm convinced that if the ideas and concept of 
mobile phone and its extensibility would be more well known and spread, 
we would see far more entrepreneur taking the opportunity.
So at this point, it should be one of the goals of this group to look at 
raising awareness towards these people

3- then there are people who are "socially and economically deprived". 
They are the clear targets of the group action, but they are not people 
who can really provide inputs to the group. They are central, and the 
needs comes from them, and from studies about what services could be 
useful and improve their life. So they clearly have a central role, but 
they are not stakeholders fro this group imho.

> I think you have most of
> the traditional stakeholders covered here, Steph, but we just need to
> strategise more about how we get to hear the voices of our "target". When I
> began the work on Grameen's "AppLab" initiative last summer (in Uganda), I
> spent a month on the ground trying to get a sense of what mattered to people
> - listening, reading, eavesdropping, researching, digging, etc. This is the
> only way I know, but I'm sure there are better approaches

I've the feeling that we are not talking about the same things here. i'm 
not sure what you are meaning by "hearing the voices of our target". 
What we need surely is investigate the existing ways of capturing the 
needs. What you did in Kenya, what is done through the question box 
project, are for me incredible tools and methodology to capture the 
needs, and as such they are prt of what i put under "context": "capture 
ict needs". Do you have another idea ? is there a way for the 3rd 
category i mentionned above to be heared by the group ?

> *End-user*
> what are the specific challenges and issues to make relevant, usable and 
> useful applications for the targeted users
> 	- HCI: targeting people without past ict experience and without 
> technological background have surely implications on the way design 
> interface and interaction
> 	what are the existing issues and potential solutions.
> 	- illiteracy: what is the problem ? what are the goals here ?...
> 	- internationalization: same here
> 	- type of applications:we might want to explore what are the major 
> domains or areas where services will be most useful to people (health, 
> education,....) and the specific opportunities and constraints.
> I think we need to have quite a long, hard discussion around this. As you
> know, I have my own thoughts, but these are based on helping grassroots NGOs
> provide services to their own "targets" (who are likely to be similar to the
> ones we identify). I blogged about this again earlier this week:
> http://www.blogspot.kiwanja.net/2008/07/social-mobile-long-tail-20.html

sure. Thanks for the pointer. What i meant for "end-user" are issues and 
challenges existing on the end-user to take into account when designing 
tools, solutions, guidelines, ...
My goal with the framework is not yet to talk the content we put in it, 
but just define the scope of the discussion we will have in the future.

> b- Develop resources
> 	- information of mobile infrastructure and device characteristics
> 	- information about available guidelines/ best 
> practices/literature/training content...
> 	- information about available software/toolkit/solutions	
> 	- other suggestion ?
> I think the important thing here is to draw on the existing (and growing)
> initiatives in this area, such as at Makarere and with EPROM, etc. They've
> likely figured a lot of this out, so we want to avoid re-inventing the wheel

this is exactly my point. i believe there is a need to gather at the 
same place, a visible, easily accessible, free place like W3C, all the 
informations already existing but scaterred around the world.
So that's why i believe that having a repository of what exists today is 

> There is also the issue of tools, which is often overlooked. There are
> already people attempting to build mobile toolkit (such as Tactical Tech
> with their http://wiki.mobiles.tacticaltech.org/index.php/). There are quite
> a few guides out there already, and I'm sceptical as to how much value they
> really create. Things like tools and platforms which actually allow people
> to DO SOMETHING are much better, but are much more difficult to develop.
> Saying that, just because it's not easy doesn't mean we shouldn't try it

i completly agree with you here, but i would like to be realistic.
What would we be able to achieve in the 10-12 months time frame ?
About tools, i believe that we can identify the needs (what tools could 
support or enable NGOs or others...) and i mentionned that in the goals 
section under  "context": "tools/toolbox: what exists, and what should 
exist for who". It is also important as mentionned above to list what 
are tools existing, what are their domain of aplicability, experience, ...
So clearly frontlineSMS, or the tactical tech stuff should be listed.

I don't believe that in the targeted timeframe we would be able to start 
developing new tools/toolkit/software package. But well, if i'm wrong, 
this would be perfect, and that surely something we could launch (an 
open source project) or have other groups or organization taking over.
but i would be really happy if in 10month we are just having a clear 
view of what's existing, and usable, and what would be good to have.
let's hope i'm pesimistic !


Stephane Boyera		stephane@w3.org
W3C				+33 (0) 4 92 38 78 34
BP 93				fax: +33 (0) 4 92 38 78 22
F-06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex,		
Received on Thursday, 10 July 2008 15:47:45 UTC

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