The UI Guru: Indrani Medhi
With billions of people still without computers and unable to read, Medhi has been working on user interfaces that are more inclusive than a South London council. A design graduate now employed by Microsoft Research in India, she is working on non-text interfaces for the world’s illiterate would-be computer users. Medhi believes such interfaces could open up a huge market catering to poor and poorly educated first-time technology users, who could interact with smartphones and PCs without any assistance.
There are inevitable limitations to what non-literate computer users could do online, but Medhi says her research has shown high completion rates for simple tasks. Medhi’s prototype UIs use hand-drawn, semi-abstract cartoons with voice annotation and aggressive mouse-over interaction, which can trigger audio help or menu options as the software walks people through information such as weather reports or job vacancies.
Medhi has also been monitoring how low-income families use a computer and how it impacts their behaviour as a family, inside and outside the home.
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