Mobile Application Design to Encourage Civic Engagement

Open Access
Author:
Carter, Darin Sinclair
Area of Honors:
Information Sciences and Technology
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • John Millar Carroll, Thesis Supervisor
  • Erika S Poole, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • civic engagement
  • mobile
  • community
  • participation
  • network
  • application design
Abstract:
Mobile applications centered on civic engagement have been developed with some success, yet there is still enormous potential for these mobile applications. Intuitive application design is a fundamental aspect of capturing the mobile audience, especially when considering the unique set of challenges that mobile applications must overcome. Today’s mobile user is looking to be captivated by an application from the instant they hit download. Deciding exactly how to design an intuitive civic engagement application requires a thorough understanding of both technology and the human factor. Through user-based usability testing, we can identify key considerations of designing intuitive mobile applications that engage the community and encourage mobile participation. This study was conducted under the facilitation of the iComms Team at the University of Cape Town. A group of developers and researchers created the mobile application “Drop Drop”. The aim of this application is to educate and empower South Africa’s local community regarding personal water consumption and conservation. The study focused on identifying usability flaws within the application, as well as the causes of these usability flaws, to determine how to enhance the overall user experience. Results from this usability study may be used to guide the design of more effective applications for encouraging local users to affect positive change in their community.