Infoscience

Conference paper

Getting in touch with text: Designing a mobile phone application for illiterate users to harness SMS

A large number of illiterate people - 800 million worldwide - are currently excluded from the benefits of asynchronous and cheap communication through text messages also known as SMS. Smart phones with touch screen will soon be in financial reach of illiterate people in developing countries. Our application EasyTexting allows illiterate users to listen to received SMS and compose text messages by augmenting words with touch-initiated text-to-speech support, icons for frequent phrases and by re-using words from previous messages. The application sends and receives plain SMS and makes no assumption on second parties' SMS editors. We present the motivation for this application derived from interviews and the evolution of the design along with an exploratory evaluation of the interface both with illiterate immigrants. © 2012 ACM.

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