Research Interests

(Papers, Reviews, Media Lab Asia..., MLAsia IIT Bombay Hub..., Keylekh Keyboard...)

I am broadly interested in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Within HCI, I am interested in two areas:

  • Interaction design for next generation of Indian users
  • HCI processes and techniques in Indian IT industry

Interaction Design for the Next Generation

Current understanding of interface design principles are based on current users, who predominantly tend to be urban, office-going, English-speaking, literate, western (or westernized), male, in his 20s or 30s. Only a fraction of the Indian population fits this description. No wonder only a fraction of Indian users get the benefits of the ICT revolution.

However, Moore's law is catching up. Cost barriers are going down. Large numbers of next generation computer users are likely to be rural, industrial, agrarian, non-English speaking, semi- or illiterate Indians of all castes, ages, social standing and genders. To design for these users, we need new strategies, new heuristics, new guidelines, new standards and even new design methodologies.

These are some of the things we are working on in the IIT Bombay hub of Media Lab Asia.

Current Projects in Media Lab Asia, IIT Bombay Hub:

Current student projects:

  • Abhijeet Rokade, VC (Assistance and control system for Polyhouse Plantation)
  • Amisha Bankar, VC (Interactive tool for flower farmers)
  • Pranav Mistry, VC (Decision making aid for veterinary services)
  • Preetal Kamat, VC (Doctor in Time - An Interactive tool for medical assistance)
  • Priti Thankar, VC (Interactive tool for a poultry farm)
  • Shilpa Singh, VC (Dhanashray: A financial planning tool for farmers)
  • Manish Michandani, CS (Statistical visualization tool for farmers)

User study projects:

  • Study of Indian postal system (2003)
  • Banking and ATM user study for NCR (2002, paper in Interacting With Computers, Volume 16, Issue 1 )

HCI Processes and Techniques in Indian IT Industry

In the past decade, several techniques have evolved to support the HCI design activity, including techniques for user research, documentation, sharing, design and evaluation. Some others have been borrowed from fields like psychology and ethnography or have been adapted.

While Indian companies can use these techniques and make a significant impact on their product quality, they have a unique business model. A large proportion of software development projects in India are for users overseas. This means that designers are always designing for users from a different culture. The physical distance between the designer and the user also puts restrictions on the contact with and access to users and hampers data collection and usability evaluation.

One of my research areas involves developing techniques and processes for HCI design that suitable for this business model, and that will fit the internal processes of Indian IT companies.


Other HCI Research Links:
Human-Computer Interaction resources - directory of Human-Computer Interaction related websites.