Microsoft and the Guatamalan challenge

A group of Guatamalan women sit at notebook computers in a village hallHow do you design computer interfaces for people who have never seen or used a computer? Or only ever used spoken language to communicate? That was the challenge for Microsoft when working with a group of Guatemalan women who only know their local traditional language. Microsoft developed a pilot program with the aim of teaching the women how to read and speak Spanish. The challenge was all the greater because modern technology hadn’t yet reached the women.  And there was the technology itself – the community didn’t have internet access – the key to so many established learning programs. Read the article for more of the story and to see the inventive solutions the designers came up with. The article on the FastCo Design website has several short video clips that help explain the process and the outcome. The best part is that Microsoft believes that they have designed something that could be useful for everyone. In an increasingly digitised world, these developments will help include everyone.

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