Young Designers 2011

ICT Interventions in Indian Agriculture: An Ethnographic Study
Design for Digital Experience | PGDPD
Dr Jignesh Khakhar
Mobile Research Lab, NID, Gandhinagar
Ethnographic study
Bottom of pyramid
Indian Population
My diploma project explored the existing model of communication among those communities, which are in the bottom tier of India’s population pyramid. It intended to identify the relational factors between technology and such users, for opportunities that would strengthen the existing system which is rooted deep into an individual’s cultural values.

Two ethnographic field studies were conducted among the communities of India. The initial study on the livelihood of the selected communities, who cater to the basic needs of mankind by working at service industries at the grassroots-level, helped me devise the research tools and strategies. The second ethnographic research was then conducted on a specific community to highlight the need to address their problems with the help of information and communication technology.

The thesis discussed the strategies used in the ethnographic research. It also delved into the perception of the studied communities and the possible uses of technology to bridge user needs and design solutions. It linked the characteristics and limitations of available technological solutions, human-computer interactions and different modes of input and output to the needs of the users in order to achieve the appropriate solutions. There is further scope for identifying the design elements which can be said to be ‘intuitive’ amongst the communities, which could help in developing a user-friendly interface or a product. Further study is also needed to evaluate the design proposal from the points of view of economics and mathematics, to check for its feasibility.

This project investigated the area of communication and how information and communication technology can help specific communities. It helped me understand the methodology of ethnographic research, and how its various techniques could be implemented.
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