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12-07-2017 | Original Article Open Access

Culture-based artefacts to inform ICT design: foundations and practice

Lara S. G. Piccolo, Roberto Pereira
Important notes
AIS Volume: Special issue: Cultural Diversity and Community Technology Design (CulTech)-volume to be allocated later.


Cultural aspects frame our perception of the world and direct the many different ways people interact with things in it. For this reason, these aspects should be considered when designing technology with the purpose to positively impact people in a community. In this paper, we revisit the foundations of culture aiming to bring this concept in dialogue with design. To inform design with cultural aspects, we model reality in three levels of formality: informal, formal, and technical, and subscribe to a systemic vision that considers the technical solution as part of a more complex social system in which people live and interact. In this paper, we instantiate this theoretical and methodological view by presenting two case studies of technology design in which culture-based artefacts were employed to inform the design process. We claim that as important as including issues related to culture in the ICT design agenda—from the conception to the development, evaluation, and adoption of a technology—is the need to support the design process with adequate artefacts that help identifying cultural aspects within communities and translating them into sociotechnical requirements. We argue that a culturally informed perspective on design can go beyond an informative analysis, and can be integrated with the theoretical and methodological framework used to support design, throughout the entire design process.

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