With a population with more pple not being able to read, y wld u want to intro txt-based mobile apps. How abt pictures?— Boni okotoshi (@tetekai) October 14, 2013
The tweet above got my attention. Most folks in Ghana still enjoy SMS and those with smartphones enjoy text-based apps like Whatsapp. (Do note that Whatsapp now has voice-enabled input functionality).
From the convo on twitter, one realises that my friend is concerned about folks who cannot read English. I am however of the view that, a great majority of such folks can read in their local tongues.
@tetekai | talking of reading English, abi? B'cos a gr8 no. of GHians read in their local langs o. Imagine txt-based apps in the local langs— Kafui (@Qaphui) October 14, 2013
@Qaphui i was talking abt english, yes, but i doubt dat a lot of dos can read in a local language— Boni okotoshi (@tetekai) October 15, 2013
A suggestion for developers who wish to design text-based apps for non-English speakers can be to use an API from Kasahorow. This would afford them the flexibility of using local languages.
However, another cool approach for developers looking forward to implement text-based apps, would be to use voice in place of text.
When it comes to using visuals, a lot of work has to be done to come out with better metaphors. This is because I've been contemplating how User Interface designers (in Ghana -- and Africa) could come up with icons that are 'local' enough to be understood and appreciated by their users.
Is this necessary, though?
What would the icons be like? A basket instead of a shopping cart? An earthenware bowl in place of fork and knife?
Well, as I've stated, more research needs to be done to really get a hang of this. An argument will be that the world is a global village, no? But what of the 'local' folks?
Forgive me if my thoughts are not 'falling in place' now.
I'm an enigma to myself.