How Interaction Design Can Solve India’s Problems
Addressing some of the biggest problems that we as a country are facing currently.
Being a developing country, the variety of large-scale problems India faces on a daily basis is socio-economic in nature.
Ever since my childhood, my passion for design has driven me to find applications that could prove to be useful to those who need it, which is why as a budding interaction designer I have strived to address and resolve problems that my fellow compatriots face on a regular basis.
In this essay, I wish to address some of the biggest problems that we as a country are facing currently such as the education system, basic hygiene, healthcare, and traffic.
Education: Low literacy rates and a dearth of good quality schools in several regions highlight the shortcomings of education in India. On top of this, education for neuro-diverse children has been quite an issue ever since neuro-diversity came into the equation as a prevalent predicament.
I feel technology related to solving these shortcomings is an untapped goldmine in India as far as interaction design is concerned.
One way to start would be by utilizing the technical achievements that we have accomplished with virtual AI assistants such as Alexa and Google Home and putting them to better use in an educational environment.
I am most interested in seeing how such tools like voice-powered technology coupled with interaction design can change the paradigm of taking examinations for the disabled if it can record and reproduce the answers of a neurodiverse student to the teacher to avoid the risk of spelling mistakes and at the same time helping them feel independent.
It will be interesting to see if interactive tools will change the way people with disabilities and the neuro-diverse go through their day to day activities.
This could also prove helpful for executive functioning which is a challenge for children with learning disabilities, voice-powered technology could be used to customize the system for their daily schedules, transition into activities, etc.
A lot of parents in rural India fail to understand if their child’s brain is developing the way it should corresponding to its age, interaction design can play an important role in this area by informing parents what their kid should be doing and understanding at a particular age through voice technology in regional languages as this does not require the parents to be literate.
This can help raise awareness about neurodiversity amongst the rural population and help these children receive the appropriate counseling that they deserve.
Awareness plays an important role in removing the stigma around neurodiversity so that victims are well received in society.
Healthcare: A lot of patients who visit government hospitals in India, are from the lower economic strata and can barely afford a meal a day with great difficulty. Neither these patients nor their families have received a formal education, as a result of which their medical vocabulary is very low.
They are unable to comprehend the intricacies behind filling forms in English and as a result, a lot of important details are lost in translation.
In general, medical jargon comes across as mindless mumbo jumbo to patients who tend to be laymen in the field of biology.
It’s important that they have a basic understanding of what they’re getting into before they actually get into it. For example, if they are told that a surgical procedure has a 1% chance of risk, it’s important for them to comprehend the
potential consequences of the surgery. In such a case, interaction design can play an important role to come up with alternative solutions that could cater to this target demographic.
The solutions could be designed in a way that helps overcome the language barriers they face, the low medical vocabulary, and still helps them understand and comprehend what they need to in order to come to an informed decision.
This can be made possible through interactive digital tools that will help explain the required details to the patients in their level of understanding, thus giving them the right to receive information in a language known to them.
Traffic: Tackling Indian traffic through intelligent interaction design can be an interesting initiative. Primary research in this domain can lead to fascinating insights that lead to solutions where the people become pseudo policemen.
In a city like Bangalore, the ratio of police to civilians is 1:5000 which clearly shows that we can’t just rely on the authorities to regulate traffic.
A smart surveillance system could be designed in such a way that relies on reporting of rule-breakers by pedestrians or others on the road by means of an Android application.
Furthermore, cameras could be installed at every major junction along with radar sensors to take a picture of vehicles that may be speeding and raise a ticket accordingly.
This will force everyone to be vigilant at all times and demotivate them from breaking any rules, and it will create a safe space for cyclists and pedestrians. The fact that people stop and wear helmets the minute they see a policeman proves that a similar system of monitoring could induce the change in mentality that we badly need.
Agriculture: Agriculture contributes to a majority of our GDP and innovation in that field could ease the job of our country’s farmers greatly. Post-harvest management and platforms for linking customers with farmers could go a long way in helping farmers sell their produce with greater efficiency and profit.
Cold storages are often used by farmers to store their excess produce and sell when the market is ripe for the taking. A scheme that sets up a single cold storage solution in a whole region could allow multiple farmers to make use of a single investment to increase their profits.