Most challenges in ICT for development (ICT4D) projects can be related to differences in perceptions of systems developers and their actual users. Such design-actuality gaps exist both because designers take an uninformed stance towards the user context, and also because problems that ICT4D projects address are nested in systems whose interplay is nearly impossible to predict. Although gaps are inevitable, users are not passive recipients whose only choices are to accept shortfalls in design or reject ICT4D technologies. Rather, users may act to remedy shortfalls through system work-arounds. In this paper we investigate the design use gap in the Brazilian correspondent banking model, an ICT4D project in which local small businesspeople interact with social, financial, government, and technical systems to provide financial services mostly for poor populations. Our findings suggest that correspondents’ acts to alter the financial and social systems proved sufficient to permit success of the project. Our results point to the importance of taking into account user actions and the separate roles of individual systems when designing ICT4D projects and theorizing their performance.
Diniz, Eduardo H.; Bailey, Diane E.; Dailey, Stephanie L.; and Sholler, Dan, "Bridging the ICT4D Design-Actuality Gap: “Human ATMs” and the Provision of Financial Services for “Humble People”" (2013). CONF-IRM 2013 Proceedings. 13.