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Information Systems

User Experience Research Group

‌User Experience (UX) focuses on improving the quality of the user’s interaction with and perceptions of a product and any related services. This research group focuses on improving the UX of Information Systems and their associated ICTs. Research projects are undertaken in the following areas:

  1. Mobile UX
  2. Security and Usability
  3. In-car UX
  4. Responsive Web UX

Health IT consists of a number of technologies that are used to acquire, store, retrieve and use health information to improve patient care.  This special interest group aims to improve the UX of health information technologies and focuses mainly on the following areas: 

  1. UX of mHealth technologies
  2. UX of consumer health technologies
  3. Usability and security of Health IT applications (e.g. EHRs, PHRs etc)
  4. Visualisation of health information

Visit the UX Research Group web page.

Contact person for research opportunities in UX: Professor Greg Foster (g.foster@ru.ac.za)

Information and Communication Technology for Development: Ethical Research and Practice, Project Management, and Evaluation

While ICTs have the potential to enable socio-economic development and improved quality of life, literature also shows that ICT failures in developing countries continue to outnumber success stories. Literature highlights the need to establish guidelines for Information Communication for Development (ICT4D) practice that are both viable and have a sound theoretical basis. The reason is that IS theories, strategies, and technologies established in developed countries cannot necessarily be transferred to developing contexts and the assumptions about their applicability and associated approaches should be questioned. ICT alone cannot guarantee development while neo-liberal thinking and standardised modernist approaches to ICT introduction and implementation may in fact contribute to the continued trend of ICT failures in developing contexts.

Central to most ICT4D discourses is the need to critique and understand the assumptions about ICT and what ICT can do in developing situations. ICT4D projects should be implemented in such a way that the detrimental consequences of the introduction of ICTs in societies should be anticipated to avoid further dehumanisation of people. “Not all societies can absorb information technology without harmful side-effects such as loss of privacy, unemployment, computer crimes, technostress and similar woes.” (Roode, 1993: 2).

In order to address the issues highlighted above, the ICT4D researcher and practitioner should find ways to do ICT4D work appropriately and ethically, i.e. introduce, align, and implement ICT4D projects so as not to create or reinforce oppressive circumstances or ideologies, or disrupt the unique social fabric of the people in the ICT4D project situation. Walsham (2012) proposes that the ethical goals of ICT4D research and practice should include “how we can use ICTs to support the poor of the world, not just the formal sectors and the economically well off.” (p. 91). ICT4D research and practice should therefore be underpinned by a strong ethical agenda, supported by effective project management practice and comprehensive evaluation.

This topic area thus addresses the issue of ethical practice for community engagement and ICT4D implementation in South African contexts. We ask questions such as:

  1. How should one do ethical research and practice in the unique ICT4D situations in African contexts? How do we ensure that ethical reflection remains a central part of ICT4D research and practice, and what principles should be follow for ICT introduction and implementation?
  2. How can we comprehensively evaluate ICT4D interventions to guide progressive development, integration and adoption in human development programmes of developing countries?
  3. What are the project management practices essential in various ICT4D initiatives to support their relevance, integration and sustainability?

 Contact persons for research degree opportunities in Information and Communication Technology for Development: Prof Caroline Khene (c.khene@ru.ac.za)


Last Modified: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 09:20:09 SAST