user research, ictd research
Nithya Sambasivan, Jay Chen
The South India city of Chennai was struck by floods in the winter of 2015 which resulted in large scale damage and loss of lives. Mainstream media ignored the happenings in the city during the time and the government failed to provide timely help. As a consequence, it was the common public that stepped up to volunteer time and resources to those in need. We sought to understand the role of technology within these citizen-led groups and specifically, what they facilitated.
We conducted in-situ post-hoc user research with volunteer groups, citizens affected by the floods and members of local non-profits. Further, we analysed social media data from the popular website Twitter to understand its role during the time of the floods.