Leveraging the extremely high mobile penetration and uptake of mobile applications across the country, iHub Research is exploring the conditions needed for successful use of mobiles that could bypass the need for physical interaction and communication.
The user experience pre-test conducted by iHub Research looked at three applications that have been developed to encourage communication with the government through mobile and web platforms. These applications enable citizens to review their leaders (Mzalendo), comment on difficulties they encounter using government infrastructure through a USSD short code *318# (Huduma), as well as monitor constituency development funds through an Android application (MsemaKweli).
The pre-test comprised of a Focus Group Discussion with five participants and 2 in-depth interviews. The aims of the pre-test were to investigate whether or not the data generated by the two (2) methods produce unique, useful data; and to identify the major platform functionalities to be tested for the full-scale study. In order to conduct the user experience pre-test, the research team engaged seven individuals: four men and three women. The criteria for selecting the participant were: availability on testing date; gender balance; balance between creative, developer, “other”; and Kenyan nationals. There was 1 developer, 5 creative’s and 1 “Other” - content developer and photographer. The focus group discussion took about an hour with the time divided equally through the three mobile governance tools that were being tested. The in-depth interviews took approximately 30-45 minutes each. The participants were briefed on the purpose of the study and allocated an opportunity to make any inquiries before the study began.
To conduct the study the research team provided 5 Nexus One mobile phones to the participants and gave them sample scenarios to tackle as they interacted with the application.
The user experience test left several questions to be answered:
- Are in-depth interviews and focus group discussions the only way to collect this information?
- Is the feedback received sufficient?
- Are the applications we looked into giving u a true picture of the interaction with government through mobile applications?
- Will this method for data collection work on a wide-scale basis?