Developing a model to design and implement computer user interfaces in rural communities, an exploratory study
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This thesis reports on original exploratory study that is aimed at contributing towards understanding of factors that influence Africa users support for alternative object metaphors for user interface icons. One of the great impediments for efficient utilization of information systems is the existing gap between system designs that typically follow western cues for crafting user interfaces and actual users who use those systems within their diverse cultural frames. The problem remains important because of the wider penetration of information systems, which serve as modern technology tools to improve service provisioning worldwide. In order to overcome the problem of optimum utilization of information systems, previous studies have proposed culturally adaptive user interfaces. The basic principle behind culture adaptive interfaces is to develop intelligent user interfaces that can automatically adapt to user contexts. However, the challenges with the new proposals for adaptive user interfaces are how to best model information about users, how to access the cultural background of individual users and empirically examine the effects of culture on user interface preferences. In order to properly contribute to solving these problems, an exploratory study was conducted to empirically establish African rural users support for alternative village object metaphors, examine effects of culture on user support and investigate response characteristic among culturally diverse user groups. The synthesis of bodystorming and cultural probes methodology was applied to engage the participation of African rural users in the study. Technology support model was developed to measure user knowledge, comprehension, skills, performance and support for alternative African village metaphors as interface icons. The partial least square analytic modelling technique and finite mixture path segmentation model were used to test a set of research hypotheses and detect heterogeneity in 71 respondent data generated. Experimental results of this study show that human cognitive factors of technology knowledge, comprehension and performance influence African users support for alternative village object metaphors as interface icons. However, skill factor is not found to influence user support for alternative African village object metaphors. The factor of culture is found to moderate the effects of comprehension on user support and effects of user performance on user support. This study also identifies three segments of African users that result in heterogeneity within the inner path model.