UCT CS Research Document Archive

WATER alert!: disseminating drinking water quality information to South Africans

Brown, Deana, Gary Marsden and Melissa Loudon (2011) WATER alert!: disseminating drinking water quality information to South Africans. In Proceedings the 2011 annual conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (CHI EA '11), pages 1915-1920, Vancouver, Canada.

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Abstract

Drinking water quality, especially in many parts of South Africa, is far below acceptable standards. With an annual estimate of 43,000 deaths from diarrheal diseases, 3 million cases of illness, and treatment costs of over half a billion US dollars, the impact is critical [4]. This research addresses the challenge of reporting complex and critical water quality information in a way that is accessible to all South Africans as required by law. In a country with high illiteracy rates, 11 official languages and limited-to-no access to technology in many areas, this is no easy feat. We describe the details of WATER Alert!, a prototype mobile phone application designed to alert and report critical water quality information to consumers who subscribe to it. Our initial evaluation of this design with users suggests that such an application would help to improve consumers' understanding of water quality information. The symbol-based messages make critical water quality information more accessible to illiterate or low-literate users, or non-native English or Afrikaans speakers. Additionally, the use of a tool and interface design most of our users are familiar with (the mobile phone) lowers the learning curve.

EPrint Type:Conference Poster
Subjects:H Information Systems: H.5 INFORMATION INTERFACES AND PRESENTATION
ID Code:716
Deposited By:Marsden, Gary
Deposited On:18 November 2011