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Building sustainable feedback loops between end users and global software designers

End-user engagement is often considered important in designing useful technologies. However, while methods for user engagement often assume a small, coherent set of end users many software solutions used in organizations are designed for a global audience. A challenge that remains relatively little explored is how to secure sustainable feedback loops between end users and designers of generic and globally used software solutions. 

The master project involves diagnostic, design, and development-oriented research related to the DHIS2 software platform. DHIS2 is developed by the HISP Centre at the University of Oslo, and is used by organizations such as ministries of health in more than 70 countries. A challenge for the DHIS2 core design and developer team in Oslo is to engage with the large and diverse group of end users around the world.

The HISP Centre works in collaboration with a global network of HISP groups and trusted regional partners to provide DHIS2 implementation support, local customization and configuration, and in-country and regional capacity. HISP groups also play an important role in the DHIS2 software development process, including requirements gathering, facilitating feedback from the field, and innovative development of web and mobile applications and local configurations that DHIS2 developers can then integrate into the core platform for worldwide use. The collaboration between HISP UiO and the HISP network is ultimately based on trust and a shared understanding and adherence to a set of guiding principles, which is codified through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). 

HISP groups are among our most trusted, long-term partners in the field. As such, they are the primary DHIS2 liaisons with Ministries of Health in the countries where DHIS2 is deployed, and this close and ongoing collaboration has been the main reason for the success of DHIS2 adoption in more than 70 countries. 

The Functional Design team at the HISP centre works closely with the HISP groups. The team supports requirements gathering phases with the groups as well as other global content partners, HISP groups, DHIS2 experts, and relevant stakeholders to translate functional requirements into DHIS2 design, requirements and features that aligns well with the needs on the ground in countries. The functional design team collaborates closely with product managers, designers, architects, developers, and testers, and acts as a bridge between users (usually represented by the HISP groups) and the core development team in charge of developing DHIS2.

Students will work together with the DHIS2 functional design team, core software development team, HISP groups and other relevant stakeholders in exploring how the feedback loops between end users and the design and development process in Oslo can be strengthened.

Relevant aspects and questions:

  • How to design and develop new potentially relevant software features with a strong basis in users’ needs and experiences
  • How to do user testing (e.g., usability testing) with a large, heterogeneous, and spatially distributed user community. 
  • How to gather requirements, experiences and needs from a large variety of use cases, spanning not only health but also education and other sectors
  • How to convey end users’ needs to a variety of stakeholders who might also have differing needs, timelines and requirements

Nature of the project

The students will work closely with the DHIS2 core functional design and development team to explore how feedback loops can be strengthened. This could involve understanding challenges and current arrangements and experimenting with improved ways of gathering users’ needs and experiences, user testing, ideating and evaluating new features, etc. The research may solely focus on activities in Oslo but can also include traveling to a relevant country such as Mozambique or Tanzania if relevant. 

Contact Magnus Li if you find the topic interesting and want to discuss the opportunities within the project.

Publisert 20. sep. 2022 19:26 - Sist endret 20. nov. 2022 10:44

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