Blogs

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26 Jul: User-Created Personas in Otjise as a Collective Effort

In October 2015 two ovaHimba male elders and four youngsters took part of this session held in Otjise, a village in the Kunene region in the North of Namibia. Lecturer and facilitator Gereon Koch Kapuire (Namibia University of Science and Technology), PT lecturer at Namibia University of Science and Technology and PhD candidate Daniel G. Cabrero (University of West London), lecturer and facilitator Colin Stanley (Namibia University of Science and Technology), and local students Michael Chamunorwa Kwenda and Donovan Maasz (Namibia University of Science and Technology) took part of this trip. Focusing in finding persona representations, a focus-group took place to discuss and explore how this ovaHimba community understood their social structure and those who compounded it. Subsequently scenarios were proposed as to where each group within the community would utilise the IK Crowdsourcing system proposed in an earlier usability testing, and how it’d work out for each group. Three different groupings as per male elder, female and male youngsters arose, while, in turn, the local co-designers proposed scenarios that involved all of the community members working collectively towards the desired aim with the system instead of as per the different groupings previously highlighted. As a scientific literary result, this…

26 Jul: Persona Co-Creation in IK Herero Communities

Based on the first trip towards Persona Co-Design undertaken on 20th, 21st and 22nd of October 2014, and with the learning experiences obtained from this, lecturer and facilitator Gereon Koch Kapuire (Polytechnic of Namibia), PhD candidate Daniel G. Cabrero (University of West London and current exchange-researcher at Polytechnic of Namibia), Professor Heike Winschiers-Theophilus (Polytechnic of Namibia and Cabrero’s external supervisor) and Doctor Jose Abdelnour-Nocera (University of West London and Cabrero’s main supervisor) held a video-conference where previously deployed methods were discussed and reflected on, and where a further trip was arranged for Kapuire and Cabrero to carry out a new series of persona co-design sessions in Otjinene, Erindiroukambe and Epukiro.   OTJINENE: The first session of this trip occurred in Otjinene in the morning of the 20th November 2014. It was held with a Herero lady and her husband at their Homestead. A previous persona co-design attempt based on Rapid-Ethnography methods was undertaken with this couple in October. Yet, this was not fully successful. In the new attempt, however, methods had been modified and the session worked out, allowing further and richer data and results to emerge. The persona co-design session, hence, enabled the Herero lady to start building on…

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26 Jul: Looking for User-Created Persona descriptions in Otjinene

In November 2014, lecturer and facilitator Gereon Koch Kapuire (Namibia University of Science and Technology), PhD candidate Daniel G. Cabrero (University of West London and current exchange-researcher at Namibia University of Science and Technology) revisited a female elder who we worked with last October. The aim of this visit was to suggest the participant to recount us a prompted narrative of “a school-girl”, and a subsequent one of this girl having become “a woman”. We were searching for third-party descriptions rather than referring to the person herself, as this we had seen it did not work with other ovaHerero communities, who ended up stereotyping themselves. By adding a scenario to the description, we obtained an exposition of emotions (i.e. girl worried, playful or spotlighted by others depending on the context and emotional state, while physically she got described as solely being well-dressed and groomed. The girl now turned-into-a-woman was to carry traits from her youth. When we asked this participant for a further physical depiction, she drew and coloured both personages and orally added further detail relevant to the depicted outcome.     Asked how she the information provided during the session would be transfer for us to take with,…

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26 Jul: Exploring Transferability

In August 2013 our local core team from the Polytechnic of Namibia, Gereon Kapuire, Colin Stanley, Shilumbe Chivuno-Kuria and Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, together with Prof Edwin Blake from the University of Cape Town met a new and exciting rural community next to Opuwo in the North-West of Namibia. As part of our new project phase in which we are exploring transferability of the tool and methods developed in the Omaheke region we are now engaging with communities from the Himba ethnical tribe. The community members we were introduced to by our new friend John (The Artist) welcomed us and eagerly participated in our HomesteadCreator tool evaluation and Crowd Sourcing exercise. An amazing experience was the speed with which the community members grasped the idea of the tool as well as the skillfulness in the technology interactions, which are mostly touch-based. Offering an adaptation of the system to the local Kunene context and asking the community members about their wishes for 3D models, the participants knew exactly what they wanted. One man and one woman went with the tablet around taking pictures of objects, animals and people they considered to be of significance, at time requesting others to pose or position objects,…

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26 Jul: Finding User-Created Personas through Storytelling ovaHerero tradition: Archetypical representations of a Bride and a Groom in Okomakuara

In March 2015, and scaffolding from both, a first trip towards Persona Co-Design undertaken in October 2014 and the learning experiences obtained at that time, lecturer and facilitator Gereon Koch Kapuire (Namibia University of Science and Technology), PhD candidate Daniel G. Cabrero (University of West London and current exchange-researcher at Namibia University of Science and Technology), lecturer and facilitator Colin Stanley (Namibia University of Science and Technology) and Professor Heike Winschiers-Theophilus (Namibia University of Science and Technology and Cabrero’s external supervisor) undertook a trip back to Okomakuara in order to find out both, (1) further data towards the Crowdsource System we are currently co-designing and co-developing with ovaHerero and ovaHimba communities in pastoral Namibia and (2) to keep probing methods to find data on User-Created Personas (UCP). Three male and one female elder joined this session. They had never engaged in prior co-design with us. In regards to UCP, we have found in other ovaHerero settings that storytelling is the most fruitful method with ovaHerero communities. As such, we proposed the participants in this session to narrate a story of choice. The participants narrated the story of how a young single male has got a young female pregnant and how…

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26 Jul: Refining crowdsourced requirements

On July 20 a five man team consisting of two lecturers Mr Gereon Koch Kapuire and Mr Colin Stanley, Professor Jesse V. Johnson and two undergraduate students Juliuson T. Amakali and Albertus P. Coetzee all from Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) undertook a trip to Okomakuara,a rural community around 65 km north of Windhoek. The purpose of the trip was to refine the crowdsourced requirements for the Request Management tablet application with the OvaHerero elders of the community. Initially there was some uncertainty on whether the unannounced visit would be well received. It has been more than a year since any contact was made with the people of Okomakuara and it was suspected that they might have reservations engaging in the co-design process. However, the elders consisting of 3 Males and 2 Female were quite welcoming and willing to listen to what the team had to say and in turn give their requirements and feedback on how they would like to use and interact with the system.   Much insight was gained into how people with minimal exposure to technology perceived things like icons and logical workflow of applications much differently than people who use technology on a…

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26 Jul: Looking for User-Created Personas with ovaHimba in Otjise and in Ohandungu

In March 2015, lecturer and facilitator Gereon Koch Kapuire (Namibia University of Science and Technology), PhD candidate Daniel G. Cabrero (University of West London and current exchange-researcher at Namibia University of Science and Technology), lecturer and facilitator Colin Stanley (Namibia University of Science and Technology) and Professor Heike Winschiers-Theophilus (Namibia University of Science and Technology and Cabrero’s external supervisor) held two co-design sessions in Otjise and Ohandungu respectively. The persona aim was (1) to find suitable methods with which to find relevant data towards User-Created Personas (UCP). In both localities, Otjise and in Ohandungu (situated in the Kunene region in the North of Namibia), we deployed subsequent focus-group sessions where we discussed and explored constructs of Usability and goals of User Experience (UX) from the natural environments these two ovaHimba communities develop their lives, and from testing the IK Crowdsourcing system Colin Stanley especially is working on.   As a list of usability constructs and goals of UX we found out as follows: Usability Constructs: Scalability, Screen Visibility, Feedback (lack of). UX Goals came as per this categorisation of our own: Humanness: Respect, Reminding, Local Ethics, Values; Emotional Kindliness: Pride, Gratification, Motivation, Help; Ethics: Understanding, Research; Storytelling: Namibia, Cohesiveness; As…

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26 Jul: Community Engagement Workshop

1. Introduction / Purpose of the trip This article is intended to present the outcomes of the community engagement workshop that took place in Mariental on the 12th of April 2016. The objective of the workshop was to get prior informed consent (PIC) to get permission from the Namas Traditional Authority (NTA) from //Karas region to carry a survey on medicinal plants, food and beverages. Moreover, the workshop was to provide awareness about the Access Benefit Sharing (ABS). ABS refers to the ways in which genetic resources may be accessed and how the benefits that result from their use may be shared. Namibia’s ABS legislation to regulate and control genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge is in working progress. The ABS draft Bill was tablet in Parliament last year 2015 November for first reading. It is on this background that PIC should be conducted with all relevant stakeholders as a starting point for ABS. The workshop was planned for two days from 11 to 12 April 2016. The first day was dedicated for ABS discussion and the second day was for the researchers from UNAM and NUST to inform the NTA about their research aims and objectives and to provide…

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26 Jul: Community engagement and technology testing in Hardap region

As a National Project to preserve IK two teams from NUST (FCI) and UNAM (MRC) embarked on a trip to conduct research in Hardap region. The NUST Team primary focus was to test a co-designed tool which records IK and to develop a community engagement, while the UNAM team concentrated on collecting indigenous plants using a survey. The team from NUST consisted of Gereon Koch Kapuire, Michael Chamunorwa, Gatsen Tjirare and PT Tjituka.   We set out to Gibeon village in the Hardap region on the 19th of November 2016. We arrived in the village around mid-morning. Upon arrival, a local translator took us to the homestead of a native knowledge holder who unfortunately could not participate in our intended session. As a result he took us to the homestead of another knowledge holder. The knowledge holder was not present at her homestead and the team waited for her to return. We waited outside her homestead while the translator explained to her the reason of our visit. Seven people were part of the session, the four researchers, one translator, the knowledge holder and her teenage son. All discussions were held in Afrikaans as the translator was more proficient in this…

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26 Jul: Bridging the Gaps in the HCI and UX World

During the 13th to the 15th of April 2016, Gereon Koch Kapuire attended a conference to engage with professionals, entrepreneurs, academias and all people passionate in Human Computer Interaction and User Experience. The conference was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was the 2nd international Human Computer Interaction and User Experience conference in Indonesia. The paper which was presented titled “An UX and Usability expression of Pastoral OvaHimba: Personas in the Making and Doing”. We presented co-design efforts with pastoral ovaHimba in Namibia considering that when co-designing technologies with a community for the first times, we learn what generates primary interest, constant engagement, reciprocity, and a sense of joy in gaining useful, courteous and inspiring experiences is a sensible obligation to the skilful designer. Keynotes speakers were Elizabeth Churchill, Director of User Experience at Google; Barry Brown, Professor at Stockholm University and research director at Mobile Life; Ellen Yi-Luen Do, Co-Director, Keio-NUS CUTE CENTER; Mark Billinghurst¸ Professor at University of South Australia.   CHIuxID 2016 conference participants toured around Indonesia. We visited the museum, to experience the voice recorded speech of the first President of Indonesia, as part of the excursion we saw the live Smart City.   Elizabeth Churchill (Director…

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26 Jul: Looking for Personas in Erindiroukambe

As technologists and computer scientists we are always triggered to explore new ideas with our community members. The local research team from the Polytechnic of Namibia, Gereon Koch Kapuire, Colin Stanley and Heike Winschiers-Theophilus welcomed a new idea by Daniel G. Cabrero from the University of West London to explore personas. In October 2014, the local research team accompanied by Kasper Rodil from Aalborg University and Daniel visited Erindiroukambe. Colin and Daniel currently engaged with their PhDs set the agenda for the sessions. Upon arrival to the site, Gereon introduced Daniel to the elders. It was the first time for Daniel to visit the research site. The elders welcomed the research team and eagerly proclaimed their availability. As always, they were excited to see the research team. One elder was on his way to Otjinene to sell one of his cows, but changed his mind in order to participate in the project sessions. It was late afternoon, and so the research did not start till the next day. During early morning of the 21st of October 2014, the elders gathered at the homestead of the local researcher, as usual since they have been actively involved in the project for 6…

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26 Jul: Locals using technological tools in the ancient art of storytelling

Never in a million years would the folks from the village of Erindiroukambe in the Omaheke Region, Eastern side of Namibia, have imagined that they would be able to use devices such as tablet computers to assist them in every day practices such as that of storytelling as a method not only of preserving indigenous knowledge, but also as a method of sharing knowledge across the barriers of understanding any one particular language. Generally, storytelling was something which was enjoyed in the evening with the family huddled around together at the fire as they shared a few cups of tea and with the elders in the community orally doing their part in tale-telling and dispersing each day’s adventurous events. It is for that reason so remarkable to note, that just 13 years after independence a small and less than popular community in arid Namibia are breaking new ground with regards to how people with little or no formal education at all can use technology in their remote villages. Our team, Gereon Koch Kapuire, Colin Stanley, Shilumbe Chivuno-Kuria and Heike Winschiers-Theophilus from Namibia University of Science and Technology, together with Kasper Rodil from the Aalborg University visited our pilot community in…

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26 Jul: Looking for User-Created Persona descriptions in Erindiroukambe

In November 2014, lecturer and facilitator Gereon Koch Kapuire (Namibia University of Science and Technology) and PhD candidate Daniel G. Cabrero (University of West London and current exchange-researcher at Namibia University of Science and Technology) revisited a group of elders and one youngster in Erindiroukambe. The aim of this visit was to suggest the participants to freely recount the differences between an elder and a younger as prompted narratives. Here also, we were searching for third-party descriptions rather than referring to the person herself, as this did not work with this ovaHerero community, who ended up stereotyping themselves.   Participants recounted such differentiations and drew an elder in order to depict his positioning within the environment where this community develop their life. As a scientific literary result, this session is included in a scientific paper published at the C&T’15 conference held in Limerick (Ireland) in June 2015.

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26 Jul: Community co-design sessions at Erindiroukambe to expand on open topics

The team of Gereon Koch Kapuire with two honors students Michael Chamunorwa and Donovan Maasz made a visit to Erindiroukambe (our research site) during the weekend of 31st July – 2nd August 2015. The purpose of this trip was to hold community co-design sessions with community members to obtain information which the two students wanted to utilize in further expanding some open topics within the IKS project. The student’s topics were as follows: 1. Michael: Effective visual hints in a 3D virtual environment for an indigenous community. 2. Donovan: Designing 3D Representations of Flora and the 24 Hour Clock Cycle in rural Namibia It was decided to get at least 2 community members who were willing to participate in these sessions. The first participant was easy to come by as he is one of the village elders whom has taken part in most of the projects at Erindiroukambe (Alex). Both students posed questions related to their research topics to him and at the conclusion of both sessions, the team set out to find the second elder. On their way, they met another village elder who notified them that the elder they were seeking was unavailable. However, instead of turning back,…

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26 Jul: Being Human

On the 7th till 10th of December 2015, Gereon Koch Kapuire attended the 27th Australian Conference in Human-Computer Interaction, which was held at the Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne. The conference attracted participants from various background including interface designers, user experience (UX), practitioners, information architects, software engineers, human factors experts, information system analysts and social scientists. The keynote speaker was Elizabeth Churchill from Google, USA. The conference theme was “Being Human”. Gereon presented the paper titled “Framing Technology Design in Ubuntu: Two Locales in Pastoral Namibia”. As technology researchers we have situated our technology design in the African principles of Ubuntu. Thus, at the conference we presented on how Human Computer Interaction and technology deal with communities daily living and factors of humanness such as values, individual and team dynamics, and interactions in co design exchanges. Part of the discussion during the presentation was the exploration overview on the relocation of research ideas of human values from one research site to another research site.