Open Data Kit - Usability Testing


usability testing, ictd research


Priyamvada Pandey


The Open Data Kit allows easy capture of survey data and is specifically designed for remote locations in the developing where lack of access to stable infrastructures are barriers to technology use. In this case, ODK was instituted by iKure (a health technology startup in Kolkata) in remote locations in West Bengal to facilitate data collection by Community Health Workers (CHW's). A year after its institution, my role was to understand if ODK was indeed culturally situated and if not what prevented its effective use.


We conducted a battery of two hour long usability tests with seven CHW workers to understand how they used the application and what challenges they encountered while doing so. These tests were conducted in-situ in Tabageriya, a village about 200kms from Kolkata, West Bengal.

Usability Tests

The Usability Tests were conducted in Bengali. I was immensely thankful for our interpreter Priyamvada who played a vital role in helping establish rapport and subsequently conducting the tests. There were significant challenges in running the tests and we uncovered several findings, scope for improving the design of the ODK application. The following are a few pictures from the usability test (pardon the last one with me smiling away to glory with one of our fabulous participants).

Design Recommendations & Publications

We discuss some of our findings in the following paper which has been accepted to the HCIxB symposium at CHI 2017 (Denver, Colorado). A paper detailing the design recommendations is currently in the works and we will be submitting this work to ICTD 2017.