How It Works

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 in Thesis

The experiences of the Field Team working one-on-one with women in Bugolobi Market were crucial to the design of the current iteration of the Bugolobi Market Mailing List. The details of the new application resulted from extensive brainstorming and discussion with the Field Team. As I designed the new iteration of the Bugolobi Market Mailing List, I created a series of ‘How It Works’ diagrams to¬†explain the new configuration of the application, provide points for discussion, and show the implications of design decisions. For example, a subset of the diagrams explain the importance of using accurate keywords within messages, as well as all the possible keyword arrangements to trigger a certain system response or action. Working together, Joan, Cathy, and I determined which keywords and system responses or directions seemed most understandable, both in Luganda and English.


The backend of the current iteration is very different than the previous simple script that ran isolated on the Samsung Galaxy Pocket, monitored by Jude. The new Bugolobi Market Mailing List application still requires a simple script on the phone, but this script communicates to a much more complicated application located on a server. Both arrangements have potential problems and benefits. But this new configuration definitely affected Joan and Cathy’s workflow. Previously, if Joan and Cathy were working with women in the market and the Bugolobi Market Mailing List seemed to be not working correctly, they would call or text Jude to verify the script was running on the Samsung Galaxy Pocket. All troubleshooting depended upon Jude’s availability.

But with the launch of the current iteration, potential issues became much more complicated. Although the new configuration creates an application that is much more dynamic and responsive to women’s usage, the fate of the Bugolobi Market Mailing List is affected by many more variables, including the state of the Internet and availability of the server. Joan and Cathy especially needed to understand these variables so that they could effectively troubleshoot in real time while in the market working with women. Should they call Jude? Should they call me? Are they using the wrong keyword? Or is the message not even being sent because the woman doesn’t have any airtime on her phone? Using these diagrams during Skype meetings with the Field Team helped facilitate discussion as members exchanged ideas and plans of action.

That path of a message as it travels through the Bugolobi Market Mailing List application.

That path of a message as it travels through the Bugolobi Market Mailing List application.


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